Customs fees on bringing back a guitar from the UK to the US

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by wsaraceni, May 12, 2015.

  1. wsaraceni

    wsaraceni Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2003
    Traveling to London for work in a few weeks. I notice that andertons has a brian May mini may guitar. Perfect for my 3 year old. Flying business class so thinking of just bringing it back in a soft gig bag as a carry on. Thoughts on that?

    What's the process and costs to get through customs on the way home?
  2. Jay K

    Jay K Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Bellevue, WA
    I don't know the answer but also am interested in what customs taxes are levied on guitars entering the country.

    I hope the OP doesn't mind me adding guitars coming from Canada to those from Great Britain to the inquiry.

    I will relate an experience I had at the Canada/U.S. border maybe 20 or 30 years ago. It is out-of-date I am sure (given NAFTA, etc.) but adds an issue to the inquiry.

    I was bringing a Godin guitar worth around $1,000 from Canada to the U.S. by car. I declared this and the border agent asked me whether I planned on playing it professionally. I said "no." He asked me the question another way (will you ever receive any money for playing this guitar?) and I again said "no." I was thinking the customs tax might be more if it was going to be used for commercial purposes. He finally said "give me something to work with" and asked again telling me the duty would be waived if I was going to use the guitar for commercial purposes. I then said, well, it is possible I'll use it to play in a bar or something. He then said that in that case there would be no customs tax.

    I mention this because it is possible the answer to the OP's question would depend on the reason for bringing the guitar to the U.S. Then again, my experience was decades ago, and who knows if the customs agent even knew what he was talking about (he probably did, and he was very nice about things, but you never know).
  3. Sco77

    Sco77 Member

    Jul 5, 2006
    Metro D.C.
    I think you get the first $2000 of merch. you bring back duty free. It's the personal exemption. You should check out current regs. on Customs' website

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