I've never encountered this problem before, but then our items were valued over $3000 (and that's even valuing gorgeous beanies well below what they would sell for!). Having said that, given that these items are for disaster relief, you would think that such things would be exempt from duty.
Turns out, they are supposed to be. I found this document online that specifically states:
2. Customs procedures related to relief supplies for victims are handled promptly and flexibly as described below.
• Exemption from customs duties/consumption tax related to relief supplies and simplification of declaration procedures :
- - When importing relief supplies to be given to victims at no charge, the customs duties and consumption tax normally imposed on the supplies are exempted. A statement for tax exemption for donations, etc. by the relevant procedure need not be submitted. (Article 15, Paragraph (1) No. 3 in the Customs Tariff Act and Article 13, Paragraph (1) No. 2 and Paragraph (3) No. 2 in the Law Concerning the Collection of Domestic Consumption Tax on Imports)
I am so thrilled that NZ Couriers are covering this, but I also wanted to share this with others who might be considering sending goodies to Japan, or other destinations in need. Check customs regulations.
I am now in search of someone heading to Japan in November for the next project... and/or keen to investigate low cost alternatives for mailing. I can completely understand why people suggest sending money, not goods!
Life here is chaotic. Master A did a very impressive power vomit all over his sister's wardrobe today. All he's had since lunch is a cherio from the butchers - hmmmm - I did hear a rumour they stopped handing those out to kids for health and safety issues.
I have to say there is a lesson to be learnt in ensuring all drawers are closed properly! I'm off for a shower.