USA Import taxes on invoices?

Nov 1, 2022
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Hello all, I’m new to the forum and I have one question for you. I’m not an accountant and I’m not from the US, I’m buying some merchandise from a US supplier with the purpose of exporting it to Colombia and sell it here.
So this supplier is invoicing me the goods and also they are adding a line that says import tariff.
I asked them why would they add it and they told me that it’s because they had to import the goods to the US so they need to charge me what they paid for customs duties. Just to clarify, it’s a local sale, they aren’t the ones exporting the goods to Colombia, we are doing that.
So this is the first time that a US supplier is actually invoicing me what they paid to import the goods. Normally other suppliers would just add that to the value of the product.
Are they actually able to do that? To invoice me like that?
This represents a big problem for us because when we import goods to Colombia we aren’t able to deduct taxes from another country. The correct way would be for them to add it to the cost of the product because we are only able to deduct the value of the imported goods without taxes.
Sep 7, 2023
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Welcome to the forum! In your situation, it's important to clarify the invoicing terms with your US supplier to ensure that both parties are in agreement. Here are some key points to consider:
  1. Incoterms: The International Commercial Terms (Incoterms) define the responsibilities of buyers and sellers in international transactions. Clarify which Incoterms are being used for this transaction. Common ones include EXW (Ex Works), FOB (Free On Board), and CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight). These terms determine who is responsible for customs duties and taxes.
  2. Billing for Import Tariffs: If your supplier is billing you for import tariffs separately, it's crucial to understand the terms of your agreement. While it's not uncommon for suppliers to include import-related costs in the product price, it's not illegal for them to bill you separately, provided this was agreed upon beforehand.
  3. Negotiation: If you prefer that these costs be included in the product price, you can discuss this with your supplier and negotiate the terms of your agreement accordingly. They may be open to adjusting their invoicing method to better align with your needs.
  4. Tax Deductions: Clarify with your local tax authorities in Colombia whether you can deduct taxes paid to foreign entities when calculating your tax obligations. Tax regulations can vary from country to country, so it's essential to understand the local tax laws that apply to your situation.
  5. Written Agreement: Ensure that any changes to your invoicing arrangement are documented in a written agreement or contract to avoid misunderstandings in the future.
  6. Legal and Tax Advice: Consider seeking legal and tax advice from professionals in Colombia who are familiar with international trade and tax regulations. They can provide guidance specific to your circumstances.
Ultimately, open communication with your supplier and proper documentation of your agreements will be crucial to resolving this matter and ensuring a mutually beneficial arrangement.

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