I want to purchase a new Mac in Hong Kong, which is above the threshold of filing for customs in Japan.

However, how about the case of buying it in Hong Kong, and then moving to another country? In this case, do I have to file at the next country, or file when I finally return back to Tokyo, or does the tax become completely exempt?

Also, is there any chance to be taxed multiple times on different airports/customs?

And finally, if one amount of items is not subject to customs in one country but is in another country, can you possibly avoid the taxation by way of the tax-friendly country?

  • @dan1111 I meant traveling to another country before returning back to the original country. Do you not have to get through the customs in this case? – Blaszard Aug 3 '16 at 9:52
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    @dan1111 "if you travel from Hong Kong to country B, you won't have to declare anything in country B" This is not correct. – Shuangistan Aug 3 '16 at 15:55

You are definitely liable for duties and taxes in your final destination (your usual place of residence or the place you are moving to). You cannot circumvent these rules by adding transit points or a round-trip somewhere. You can also be caught weeks or months after the fact, successfully going through the border does not mean the applicable taxes are not due anymore.

When it comes to short visits and/or (airport) transits in a third country, you probably don't have to pay customs duties and taxes but, to do everything completely by the book, you might need to complete some temporary import procedure or to provide a deposit to be refunded once you prove that you have exported the goods again. In most cases, for consumer goods and the things tourists typically carry with them, nobody bothers but such procedure do exist for really expensive things, professional equipment, cars, etc.

See also When travelling internationally with valuable personal effects, how do I avoid paying duty at each border crossing? for a related discussion and Will I get into trouble at customs if I take electronic devices for thousands of dollars into India? for a specific example.

  • Thanks. Then if you travel for so long (e.g. 1 year) and purchase so many items, do you have to declare all of them when returning back to home country? – Blaszard Aug 3 '16 at 10:21
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    @Blaszard This is becoming complicated. Usually, if you stay one year out of the country you might not be a resident anymore and there are special rules for people who take up residence in a country, e.g. you don't have to pay duties on something that you bought at least X months in the past (to cover all the things you regularly own but prevent you from, say, buying a new car one month before moving just to import it tax-free). You might have to list all your belongings on a special form or follow some other special rules. – Relaxed Aug 3 '16 at 10:26

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