|Population||334.2 million (2022)|
|GDP||23.4 trillion USD (2022)|
|GDP per capita||75,180 USD (2022)|
|Internet penetration||92 % of the population use the internet (2022)|
|Ecommerce users||76% of the population shop online (2022)|
|Leading product categories||Books/music/video; computer and consumer electronics; toys and hobbies; and office equipment and supplies|
|Preferred online payment method(s)||Credit card, debit card, and online payment gateways|
|Currency||United States Dollar/USD/$|
Landed cost is the total price of getting a purchase to the customer's door, which includes:
FOB: FOB (freight on board or free on board) is a valuation method for calculating import taxes where the tax is calculated only on the cost of the goods sold. Tax is not calculated on the shipping, duty, insurance, etc.
Further explanation of duty, tax, and de minimis is provided below
Based on the FOB value of the import
Duty and tax will be charged only on imports into the U.S. where the total FOB value of the import exceeds the U.S. de minimum value threshold (de minimis), which is 800 USD. Anything under the tax de minimis value will be considered a tax-free import, and anything under the duty de minimis value will be considered a duty-free import.
Most U.S. states do have a sales tax, but rates vary by state.
In lieu of import tax, the U.S. has state-specific sales tax laws that apply to business-to-consumer shipments. Importers must be aware of these laws so they know when they need to pay taxes and if they need to self-report. Domestic tax service companies like TaxJar can help you learn more about these laws and the best way to self-report these taxes.
Most international, small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMB) will be exempt from paying sales tax on imported goods because they don’t have “nexus”, but these laws vary widely so it is important to do your due diligence to avoid issues with CBP.
What are the criteria for sales tax nexus?
Sales tax nexus exists when the online retailer has a connection with a state, or when the destination state has a stipulation that requires the seller to collect and remit sales tax directly to that state. All nexus laws vary by state. In general, nexus exists in the followng instances:
If you have a retail or storage location, an employee who resides or regularly travels there to conduct business.
When your sales into that state reach a state-specific threshold for self-disclosure and reporting of those sales.
If this applies to you, then you may be required to collect, report, and remit sales tax to your state.
What are the sales tax rates?
What if my shopper says they are exempt?
If a U.S. retailer asks to be exempt from tax for wholesale reasons or because they are a tax-exempt charity, they will provide you with a government-issued tax-exempt number. You will need to save that number in your accounting records to avoid having to pay the tax, late fees, and penalties in the event of an audit.
U.S. duty rates can be Ad Valorem (as a percentage of value) or specific (dollars/cents per unit)
The value for duty on goods imported into the U.S. is based on the total purchase value of the article(s) paid and is not established on elements such as quality, size, or weight. The Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) determines duty rates for essentially every existing item. CBP uses the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUS), which is a reference manual that then provides the appropriate tariff rates for all goods imported into the U.S.
The U.S. duty charges (only applied if over the de minimis value) have a fairly wide range, so to get an accurate estimate of what the total landed cost will be, including duties, shipping, and carrier fees, use the Zonos Quoter.
Merchandise processing fee
U.S. imports over the 800 USD de minimis value may be subject to a merchandise processing fee (MPF).
Below are sample landed cost breakdowns for the U.S. calculated using Zonos Quoter. Since the tax de minimis is 0 USD, tax will always apply:
Landed cost for a shipment to the U.S. below the de minimis value:
Landed cost for a shipment to the U.S. above the de minimis value:
The U.S. has at least 14 trade agreements that offer a zero or highly discounted duty rate for goods made in a participating country. The most prominent of these trade agreements is the USMCA.
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement USMCA
The USMCA agreement provides special duty rate treatment on shipments between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. On July 1, 2020, USMCA replaced NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), which was one of the oldest and most well-known trade agreements.
The USMCA allows for minimal formal entry procedures and saves consumers money, encouraging global trade as a result. USMCA offers substantial savings for merchants importing goods made in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico, that meet the rules of origin requirements.
Each country that is part of USMCA calls the agreement by their own name:
What this legislation means for the U.S.:
The rules of origin:
The U.S. is a member of the World Trade Organization
The U.S. is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Therefore, the U.S. must abide by the most-favored-nation (MFN) clause, which requires a country to provide any concessions, privileges, or immunities granted to one nation in a trade agreement to all other WTO member countries. For example, if a country reduces duties by 10% for one country, the MFN clause states that all WTO members will have their duties cut by 10% into that country.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Talk to your carrier about customs refunds.
Depending on the courier, additional shipping fees may include:
Visit Common Export Documents to get detailed information concerning documentation and paperwork needed for U.S. export and imports
Government agencies regulate imports.
Restricted items are different from prohibited items. Prohibited items are not allowed to be imported into a country at all. Restricted items are not allowed to be imported into a country unless the importer has approval or a special license that allows them. Controlled goods have military or national security significance.
To lawfully enter the U.S., imported products must arrive inside the port of entry, delivery of the product must be approved by CBP, and assessed duties must be paid. The importer is liable for the analysis and delivery of the goods.
The International Trade Administration provides tools, assistance, and information on the requirements of exporting from the U.S. Depending on the goods or services, exporters may need a license or permit to export from the U.S. as a part of their business.
See Zonospolicies and agreements.
A cross-border guide to the United States ecommerce, shipping, and importing goods
If you are looking to grow your ecommerce business into the United States (U.S.) , you have come to the right place. In our guide, created by Zonos' cross-border experts, you will find the following: