Jun 15, 2009, 4:58 PM
Post #7 of 10
We've recently been interviewing importers/freight shippers to get info for our upcoming move to live full time in Baja Sur.
We'll be bringing down some of our household items with a Menaje and will be importing and trucking all the doors and windows, solar water and grey water systems, along with 8 more solar panels, batteries etc.for our main house we'll be building
We don't have a huge house full of stuff for the menaje, but because every watt counts when your 100% solar powered, I've been reasearching and buying the most energy efficient appliances available while we're still in CA in prep for the move even though our main house hasn't even broken ground yet.
I've got a chest freezer humming right next to me here in our office and hopefully one of us will fling the door open and put a little dent in it soon and have been using the new washer regularly so it will have soap deposits. Next week the fridge will arrive and we might plug it in in the bedroom and spill a little soy sauce inside.
The importers we contacted gave some conflicting information but all agreed:
1. They will not combine a load of menaje items in the same truck with new dutiable items being imported. Most importers/freight carriers will take your stuff across in 2 trucks and usually have a warehouse on the Mex side where they will combine the loads in to one for transporting.
2. For a Menaje, all items must be out of their original boxes even if they are used and you have the receipts- This is an Importer requirement, not a law. It sounds like once the customs agents become suspicious, they will use a fine tooth comb on everything and the freighters say it's not worth their effort to spend that much time.
They all said to double and triple check that all serial number are absolutely correct on your electronics because if you transpose one little number, the customs agents again get suspicious and will make you/them unload everything out of your nicely packed boxes.
What the importers did not agree upon is the criteria used to determine if something is new or used.
#1 Importer said items must be 6 months old or they will not transport it for you in a Menaje. This company will however store new items for you for 6 months and them transport them. Their Menaje cost is a percentage of the manifested value of the used items.
#2 said the 6 month rule is not valid and the law says items must be 1 year old (??). He also said the age of something is irrelevant because if something has never been used, they consider it "New".
#3 said take stuff out of their boxes and as long as the stuff looks like it's been use, we'll be ok.
We're going with company #3- they seem the most knowledgable have the best price and are the easiest to work with. The cost they gave for the Menaje fees are:
$135.00 to Consulate
$16.00 duty (maybe this was a tax?)
Appx. $400.00 to the customs broker who comes to their ware house for the Menaje inspection (I think?) but I don't know if he was quoting their cost to truck the items in this estimate or not. For the new items,they carge a flat 30% of the value of goods for importing, commercilizadora, broker, storage fees and insurance and the trucking. Other quotes we got were 35-45% .
Many people have reported that they went to the hassle of getting the Menaje docs, and the Aduana agent never asked for it etc. If you don't have a huge amount of stuff, you may be better off trying to keep the "thrift store values" of your used items less than the $1000 limit and you can avoid using a broker.
Don't low ball your stuff too much or they will pull out the book of of values and they will determine how much duty you owe.
I've never had aduana ask the country of origin of items we've imported ourselves (thru TJ/San Isidro) since we kept the total under $1000 so we've paid the NAFTA lowest duty tax on everything.
They did check the countries of origin when we brought in a larger load and had to go to OTAY Mesa to the commercial port.
I've heard from several people that Mexicali is very lenient when you enter with goods and often don't even inspect your stuff.
I would never suggest taking your chances and not pulling in to the declare lane when you do have alot of stuff because I have heard of people's vehicles and goods being confiscated because they did not pull in and were chased down by Aduana. You're better off declaring and maybe fudging your values a little. But I tend to be overly cautious too, and try to have at least 3 back-up plans!
Plan as best you can try not to fret.