So I finally got two notices in my mail, asking me to come to Zollamt Schöneberg to pick up my packages – sent from Tokyo on 27 November 2013! This is normal procedure, I’ve been at the Zollamt before when ordering books from Amazon. It usually takes 1-2 hours, and today was no exception.
When it was my turn, a civil servant asked me to open the already opened and reclosed packages. They contained 10 kg doujinshi. He asked where I had got them, since I didn’t have a receipt. I explained that many of them had been given to me for free directly from the authors. Others I had bought at hobby events where you’re not given a receipt.
My biggest problem was that it was hard for me to prove that I had lived in Japan. He didn’t ask me for my ID, despite the customs in Niederaula had slapped a note about “Altersnachweis” on the packages. They had also told me when I called them, that I would have to bring a proof of age because of “Jugendschutz”. Well, maybe the guy saw that I had turned 18. 😛
Then he took out some of the doujinshi and said that the content was fine, but that he was going to do some internet research to find out their market value. I would have to pay 7 % German VAT on that value. I was ordered back to the waiting room. After another 10-15 minutes I was called back. The same guy said that he estimated the total value to be under 50 euro, which is under the limit for when you have to pay German VAT. So I was free to go.
This shipment’s itinerary:
- 27 November 2013: Sent with sea mail, registered, from Tokyo
- 23 January 2014: Arrived customs in Niederaula, Germany
- 18 February 2014: Sent from customs in Niederaula to customs in Berlin
- 27 February 2014: I got notices to pick them up in Berlin
Meaning, the shipment took exactly 3 months to reach me!
A glimpse of the content: