German Customs Strikes Again, this time they want 1.5 million!!!


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If it is just on loan to a resident of Germany and its owners are still resident in Japan is the VAT due?

If so is the VAT returned when it is returned to its owners?

As I said Neil, we (I certainly) don't know enough details. Nippon foundation can worry about that. Surfice to say, that they could have easily avoided any diffuculties by getting themselves a carnet. This forum isn't a suitable place for a philosophical discussion on the difference between ownership and possession, since people even refuse to understand VAT.

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The reported facts are very thin on this particular incident. I will note however the Janke case is clearly different from the Horigome case since it's clear from the original reports Horigome had committed a foul by going through the "nothing to declare" gate.

Janke is the concertmaster of Staatskapelle Dresden. The Muntz has been on loan to her from the Nippon Foundation since November 2007. I find it hard to believe an orchestra such as Dresden and Nippon Foundation wouldn't have made every effort that Janke had all the requisite documents (carnet in particular) and knowledge to travel with that fiddle.

This isn't to say that she actually had a carnet in her possession (or not) as she went through customs.

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For the hundred and seventy third time, you can come to europe with your violin and go home with it again. If you should you be selling it here, you will have to pay the tax, just as if I sell someone a violin here, I have to charge VAT too.

So as a U.S. resident, I can take a violin in and out of Europe? Only EU residents need to worry? For the second time, I wonder why I got questioned, then. How can they know whether I'm selling it or not? Surely not by my passport? And surely, Yuki Manuela Janke didn't tell them she was selling the violin. Besides, I thought you said sales by individuals were exempt.

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pardon me for being an idiot, but what is a carnet, some kind of circus clown or juggler????

No Lyndon,it's a red, semi precious, stone.You are supposed to carry one in your violin case should you go to Germany.

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Carnets are international passports on merchandise that are temporary documents for importation of goods usually lasting about a year or so - sometimes less amount of time. - here in the US we have ATA and TECRO/AIT Carnets (U.S. and Taiwan only)- but they can be a mess trying to figure them out. Different countries have different requirements - 80 different countries you can get a similar Carnet but it depends on which country you enter and leave which one you want. Some will be honored some will not. Its much easier to have a third party take care of it for you to make sure your bases are covered.

Well I certainly don't know enough details myself and I'm sure they will come out of the wood work soon enough - it was just reported in the last few days. But from a musician standpoint it is a great amount of undue stress and certainly quite a bit of time lost practicing and having to scramble to find a secondary instrument as well as possible rebookings... lots of hassle that does not need to happen.

My fresh batch of hide glue is warm and ready to go - i need to bow out.

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Well, why an ATA-carnet is not good in this situation is that it doesn't exceed a validity period of one year, after which the documents and goods need to be presented in the country of origin (in this case Japan). Also, a carnet, in the US costs between 210 and 350 $ to obtian (therefore an annually recurring fee to pay). Thirdly, at least in the US, and I expect anywhere else too, the bureau issueing the Carnet has to take a security deposit of 40% of the shipment value, to cover costs in case of breach of the terms connected to the carnet.

So in the case of this lady that would mean she

1. has to present her instrument in japan to an official institution, requiring travelling to japan at her own expense and for no other purpose than leaving Japan again, at least once a year.

2. Pay an annual fee for the carnet.

3. get a loan at some bank in the size of 4.04 million (40% of the shipment value) in order to make a safety deposit at the institution issueing her the carnet for her violin.

And this all for an instrument that is on loan...

Now as anyone can see, these are ridiculous conditions to be subject to as a musician and a private person, for having in use an object that is not ones own property. They are bordering to the impossible. Sorry Jacob, I agree that import taxes must be payed etc. etc. and do not see how finding a solution for legalising this kind of philantropy is in any way opposing that. VAT simply has nothing to do with the matter. The suspicion that this violinist MIGHT sell the instrument in the EU is without doubt ridiculous. As far as I know everyone is innocent of the crime before guilt has been proven, and definately before it has taken place. Musical instruments and works of art are exceptions to the rule, they are sometimes, relatively often, not objects of trade when passing borders. It should be possible for a japanese instrument fund to support musicians outside of Japan by granting them the loan of a musical instrument, without the beneficiary having to pay any tax. Ofcourse, the Nippon music foundation could now decide to support only musicians in Japan... But seriously, who in Europe really wants that? This is why the spokeman of the Nippon music foundation said it is unknown what documents the german customs want to have, as far as I understand, the problem is that there is no document currently in existance that makes this kind of international instrument loans officially possible. The creation of such a document, a kind of instrument or artwork passport with a longevity of more than a year or the possibility to lengthen its validity without returning to the country of origin, and without the need of a 40% security deposit, would be a solution to the problem. Unless we want that it is forbidden for musicians outside of Japan to have instruments on loan from the Nippon music foundation, ofcourse.

My info on the Carnet came from this site, the united states internation council for business.

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That was my ideas about someone coming up with the international passport per say. Someone like Tarisio or other big names out there.... For all I know it probably exists or is in the works already. But i would LOVE to see this come to fruition and see a method put in place. Carnets dont hold much water for very long. With prices of cremonese instruments inflating faster than hot air balloons more and more people are going to be putting stricter requirements on instruments in the future I think.

But yes - waiting a few days to see how this comes out will be interesting.

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Andrew;

Tarisio is

-Notan EU entity

-Not an executive organ

.would have a conflict of interest

.has no business levying tax, which is all that is at issue here

But I have told you tht before

Re deposit;

I have always done that with a surety bond, which only costs a few euros bank charges

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I think you are misunderstanding me.

Customs would still be customs. Each country would still levy its own taxes and control its own issues. Issue its own passports.

I'm not saying Tarisio would becoming an international entity for instruments as a governing body. I'm was throwing an idea as an example of someone who could set the stage for offering a service for instrument passports no different than a third party passport service Something similar to this: http://www.travisa.com/ but for instruments not humans.

I digress for now waiting to hear more about what how things turn out.

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I'm curious as to how orchestras and chamber ensembles handle this issue travelling internationally.

Anyone have any personally insights?

(To use the analogy already cited - I'm sure Michael Schumacher doesn't do his own paper work.)

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I'm curious as to how orchestras and chamber ensembles handle this issue travelling internationally.

Anyone have any personally insights?

(To use the analogy already cited - I'm sure Michael Schumacher doesn't do his own paper work.)

Orchestras have administrative staff that take care of such business and logistical details.

I don't know about EU orchestral musicians, but many musicians in the US are union members, and they may qualify for reduced fees on carnet processing.

Soloists and and chamber groups like quartets have managers at performing arts management agencies (IMG Artists, CAMI, etc.), and they also have staff that are supposed to take care of these logistical details and make sure the musicians are up to date on the latest regulations. I suspect in practice, given all the incidents we hear, some of these management organizations aren't doing a great job in that department.

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I really do not think this is an issue for orchestra and chamber ensembles. (I wish I were wrong.) But it could be an issue for a few very fortunate performers.

Mike

Is that 'fortunate' or 'unfortunate'?

As someone who has had instruments seized and been challenged at airports (mainly in Asia) going back some 30 years

it is nothing new and I learnt to have papers in order and have instruments recorded as I left a country to avoid akward questions on my return.

(and this with even cheaper contemporary instruments).

Even been asked to play instruments to show I was not just a 'courier', presumably.

No one ever showed any interest in bows.....! Strange when you think that one could be of far greater value than an instrument.

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