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Customs - camera equipment and taxes 2012/9/11 19:22

I have a question regarding bringing my camera equipment -that I will of course be taking back home with me- on a holiday to Japan.

Are there any forms to fill out that will allow me to bring the camera into Japan without paying taxes as I will take it with me again when I leave? It is a single camera and three lenses, costing in today's exchange rate around 400000 yen.

The reason I am asking, is that I have to fill out a form for German customs upon existing Germany, so that I can show that I didn't buy the camera in Japan, so that I don't have to pay import taxes in Germany once I return.

If it looks new and you cannot prove at immigration that you already owned the camera before you left, you are subject to import taxes here. Of course, for that to happen, you have to beat the immense odds to get controlled in the first place.

And, well, I'm that unlucky guy. The number of times I have been selected as the token white guy for extra screening/inspection/car searches is mindboggling.

Normally no-one would care about a single camera, but the rule book says different here. They can charge taxes if they want to, just have to get one on a power trip or someone in a bad mood. That's why I am getting a tax form for Germany beforehand. But those import taxes only apply to residents, so I wonder if Japanese customs could even charge a foreigner taxes on their own stuff that they will take home with them again.

Thanks for any replies.
by fatgermanbloke  

Re: Customs - camera equipment and taxes 2012/9/12 10:28
Take a look at the Japan customs site. Your camera equipment most likely falls under the exemption for "personal effects and professional equipment".


And in my experience, customs officers generally don't care about tourists' personal camera equipment, unless they look like obvious resellers (i.e. travelling with unreasonable numbers of new cameras, lenses in retail boxes, etc.)
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

... 2012/9/12 10:33
I've taken DSLRs (sometimes multiple) and multiple lenses in and out of Japan almost every time I've visited and never had an issue. It is not a problem at all.
by GC3 rate this post as useful

Re: Customs - camera equipment and taxes 2012/9/12 22:17
I'm another one of those who cannot walk through a customs line without being stopped and asked to open my bag. :-)

Like GC3-san, I have visited Japan with lots of new and used cameras and lenses without any questions asked. A few years ago I brought the receipts but stopped doing that.
Note that in many cases the problem could really be bringing camera equipment back into one's own country, as you already pointed out with your example of Germany.
by Jamie (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Customs - camera equipment and taxes 2012/9/12 22:43
Thank you all for your answers and especially for the link. I only had the entry form that you have to fill out until now and it looked like the 200000 yen was the limit for even the professional equipment. The custom site makes it sound differently.

One less thing to worry about :D
by fatgermanbloke rate this post as useful

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