5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Filling Out a Customs Declaration

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Filling Out a Customs DeclarationEvery international shipment needs a customs declaration, which is typically filled out by the sender. Any mistakes in the declaration may result in a fine, the shipment being returned to the sender, or even a fraud investigation, so it is important to always provide correct information for customs. What are the most common mistakes one might make when filling out a customs form for international shipping?

First things first: let’s figure out where you can get a customs declaration form to fill out. The easiest way to do this is to print your shipping labels online. An international shipping label also serves as a customs form, so you’ll be killing two birds with one stone.

For example, PostageMaker allows to generate USPS and UPS shipping labels that also serve as customs declarations. All you need to do is to enter information about the sender, recipient, and items in the package in a special online form. The PostageMaker system will automatically calculate the total quantity, weight and cost of the items, making things easier for you. In addition, PostageMaker offers shipping discounts, helping to save on international shipping.

If you’re not a fan of using online services, you can get a physical declaration form at your nearest post office location. Keep in mind that different carriers have slightly different customs forms, so you won’t be able to fill out a USPS customs form and then attach it to a FedEx or UPS package.

Regardless of whether you’re filling out and online or physical customs form, you need to do it very carefully to prevent common mistakes that may result in your shipment getting delayed or returned to the sender. Here are five mistakes you should avoid when filling out a customs declaration.

Mistake #1. Incorrect information about the recipient. The name and complete address of the recipient are crucial for getting your shipment delivered. If the information you’ve provided is incomplete or wrong, your package may end up at the wrong place or get lost in transit. Different countries have different address formats, so you need to make sure that the recipient address is written according to the regulations of the destination country.

Mistake #2. Incorrect description of the items. The information about the contents of your shipment is why you need to fill out a customs declaration form in the first place because customs authorities need it to determine whether any taxes or customs duties apply to your package (and whether your package is allowed to enter the destination country at all). So you need to make sure that all items in your package are properly listed in the declaration. Their quantity and weight need to be correct as well.

Mistake #3. Wrong value of the items. It is especially important to state the correct value of the items because if the value is too low, it may be considered fraud. Sometimes senders deliberately underestimate the value of the goods in the package to avoid paying taxes and custom duties, but when it gets discovered, they end up paying even more because of fines.

Mistake #4. Adding wrong or no sender’s contact information. If customs authorities have any questions about your package, they need to have a way to contact you, otherwise your shipment will get delayed. To prevent delays, you need to put your contact number in the customs declaration.

Mistake #5. Not attaching the form properly. If you’re filling out customs declarations and shipping labels yourself, make sure that the shipping label with the customs form is attached to the package correctly, and that the barcode can be read easily. To be on the safe side, check out the guidelines for attaching shipping labels to international packages that should be available on the shipping carrier’s website.