Artists Use *97* Shipping Codes on Art to Avoid VAT and Customs Holds

A question came up on Quora, Why is Artwork Duty Free? See the discussion on Quora

With a renewed interest in this topic, I’m reblogging my article that contains Customs Codes for artists to use when shipping their art internationally.

Artist Marketing Resources

Artists, below are a series of “97” codes for you to use when shipping your art internationally.

If you’ve ever had an artwork held up in customs, it becomes a series of problems for both the buyer and you the artist.

You scramble to get the details on how to get your art released from customs. Phone calls out and coming in slowly reveal the problem. The buyer on their end engaged in the same activities, as you both try to uncover the reason the shipment has been held up.

If you have shipped via FedEx, they may offer you a special certificate to verify origin of the artwork, for an additional fee. But that document has to be hand signed, and that requires a courier to come to your door to get your signature–$$$$$$$.

What can you do next time to avoid all this? Is there a protocol for sending…

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2 thoughts on “Artists Use *97* Shipping Codes on Art to Avoid VAT and Customs Holds

    • Hi Metrov

      Art dealers use the Customs Codes in my article. I have used them too. I shipped art without and my package was held up in customs.
      But when I put the Custom Code on the outside of my package I never have any problems. Also, in UK and Germany the recipient won’t be changed
      any extra fees when you put the Custom Code on the package and inside too.


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