The people of China enjoy vacationing during the winter holidays just as much as people anywhere. As good a time as one may have overseas, things can sometimes go awry. This is the story of one man’s lost iPad that was later returned.
A tax bill from customs
In November 2013, Lu and his girlfriend Liu from Guangzhou, China, boarded an aircraft to visit Norway. They accidentally left the iPad on the plane.
They were quite anxious about the loss as there were many private documents and photos on the iPad. They thought they would never see the iPad again. However, after Lu got home, he was pleasantly surprised.
Liu received an email asking whether she lost an iPad, and where she might have lost it. It turned out that a Norwegian man found the iPad and contacted Liu through information found on the iPad.
After everything was straightened out, the man spent his own money to send the iPad back to its original owner in China.
Later that month, Liu received a notification from the post office in Guangzhou asking her to pick up a package from Europe. When she got there, she also received a bill from Guangzhou Customs for the import duty on a postal package. The tax rate is 10 percent of the purchase price of the iPad, which amounted to 200 yuan (US$35).
Customs policy: Tax exemption only for people with a receipt
Liu was extremely irate. She tried to reason with the postal workers several times. Their response was for her to talk to a customs officer. Because she needed the iPad, she paid the 200 yuan to get it back.
Liu and her boyfriend hold that it is their right to re-claim their property without having to pay a customs duty. Their iPad has been used and should not be taxed as an imported item. In addition, the personal information on it proves that it belongs to them. Customs personnel responded that the iPad is not a tax exempt item.
They also said that unless there is a receipt to prove the purchase was made in China, or there was a declaration of outbound goods made before the trip, they cannot be granted an exemption.
Unfortunately, Liu did not keep the receipt and Lu did not file a customs declaration form before departing.