I have a projector in Germany that I bought for a modest price and I want to ask my friend to bring it to US (where I currently live). I was wondering will he end up paying import taxes? And is there anyway to avoid such a payment.

The projector is used (actually I bought a second-hand one from ebay), and I imagine for that reason it should be exempted from import tax, but I would appreciate to get some guidance from the people who are more familiar with the issue.

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    There is no reason that second-hand stuff should be exempted from any tax and it's not generally the case. However, you typically have to pay duties and taxes on the current value of the goods you are importing so if you can prove it's not worth much/how much you paid for it, you might be able to reduce the amount due and/or include the projector into the regular traveller allowance.
    – Relaxed
    Nov 22, 2015 at 8:09
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    You don't pay VAT on a transaction between private persons within the EU because it has been paid the first time the goods were sold/imported. But that's precisely why you need to pay it when you import something, even if you purchased it second-hand or owned it for a long time. The US has no generic federal VAT or sales tax but duties apply.
    – Relaxed
    Nov 22, 2015 at 19:59
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    Duty on a projector appears to be zero or at most 5%. I don't really know how to read the table. You might also, in theory, owe sales tax to the state. Nov 22, 2015 at 23:13
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    hts.usitc.gov/?query=projector Look at section 8528. What I mean is that if your friend pays the duty, it looks like you owe him a bottle of decent wine. 5% tops, in some cases 0, and that would be on the depreciated value of used equipment. Note, I'm not a lawyer and I've never done this. But if you really want this projector maybe see if US Customs can give you a definitive answer by email or phone. Nov 24, 2015 at 7:29
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    Just for the sake of completeness: did you check that the projector works fine with with the 110V power in the US and does not need 230V, as provided in Europe? If the projector really needs 230V, then it's probably not worth the hassle (as a power transformer would be needed to operate it in the US).
    – DCTLib
    Jan 25, 2016 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


While in theory there may be some sort of a tax levied on a used projector, in practice nobody is going to care about it even if the customs inspector stops your friend. A single used projector is simply too low of a value for the inspection to bother.

If you want to be on the safe side, have your friend declare it. At the very most he will have to pay 5% of the value, which shouldn't be more than $50 for a used item.

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