Beware Duty Taxes

A few weeks ago I recieved a lovely gift from a New Jersey pal.  It was an envelope with six artfully designed dish towels.  Scrawled across the envelope was €15.29.  Since I wasn’t home when the envelope came, the postman couldn’t collect the duty.  Actually, until my pal Nicola explained what the scrawl was I didn’t realize I owed the post office anything or that the number scratched was a tax. Yup, on an envelope with contents valued at $50 it was simply scrawled €15.29. The recipient would know through osmosis that it was a tax.  Note, I said the amount was scrawled across the envelope.  There was not an official stamp, not a receipt, not – well not a thing to indicate why I had to pay someone anything. 


A few weeks went by and I didn’t go to the post office.  I never got a formal notice of owing the duty tax.  I kind of just forgot about it.  Guess who didn’t forget about it?  Il postino, the postman.  Finally, one day I was home when he came. What I didn’t know was that when he got back to the post office from his route he had to pay the €15.29 in duty.  He delivered the envelope and he was responsible.  

Errrrrggggg, I felt like a real creep for not following up and paying.  When I paid him and asked if there was a receipt of any kind from the customs people he looked at me like I was crazy.

Welcome to Italia.  

Ci vediamo

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Categories: Any Day in Pontelandolfo | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Beware Duty Taxes

  1. This happens to me as well when I order something from the U.S. Even when I order from Amazon UK they often hold the package for sometimes a week or more.

  2. Hey the government has to make money somehow. That does seem high for the stated value, maybe they tax some stuff at a higher rate??

  3. I learned about shipping a gift the hard way when my friend in Florence notified me about tax he had to pay. It was inconvenient and he was not happy to receive the gift. There are many restrictions, that in some cases, protect products that are manufactured in Italy. Take a look at USPS link for a list. http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/il_008.htm

  4. Flora Poggio

    Oh my goodness! Sorry you were responsible for incurring the duty tax. Nothing was mentioned to me when I brought the package to the USPO. Well, thank you and hope everyone enjoyed the New Jersey dish towels.

    • They loved them and I didn’t mind paying, it was the lack of documentation that got me. Someone just picked a number and wrote it on the envelope!!

  5. Jo-Ann Delasko

    In NJ we would likely call that a scam but you’re in sunny Italy where no one is deceitful so good to know you paid. Hope all is well – it’s finally a beauteous day in H’boro, sun is out, low humidity, and possibly waiting for wet weather from Florida hurricaine. Who knows !?

  6. I reverted to Aerograme in Milan to save exorbitant postage charges when I was at LaScala. PO was a nightmare.

    Monthly Update: Making a Difference

    Our book signings at the Landmark Tavern, and Kilkenny’s went well as a whole. We just received a Matching Gift from Marion O’Neill our newest Patron @ PSEG who I met earlier this Spring. More info http://www.fracturedatlas.org.

    Mark your calendar’s for a William Carlos Williams event In Rutherford, NJ on 9/17/16. WCW Poetry Symposium event celebrating WCW’s 133rd birthday on Sunday Sept 17 @ 1PM at the Meadowlands Museum. We staged Williams’ PATERSON (1996-2001) at my earlier Festival’s in Paterson, NJ.

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