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

I first published this article in May of 2015, and the information has been in demand by many artists ever since. With the upcoming holiday season and shipping of artworks sold online, these shipping codes are as relevant and useful as ever.

I had painting held up in customs when I shipped to a buyer in Spain. A very success art dealer first provided me with these shipping codes when she sold two my paintings to an art consultant in Germany. That’s when I began adding these “97” codes to my packaging and invoices and have had no issues with my art shipments!

Yes, I’ve used the codes to ship art from the USA to European countries. Ask any FedEx shipping staff about the codes if you’d like to confirm their usefulness.

So I wanted to share these codes with artists.

Here is my original article–

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 artwork to buyers outside of the country where you are based?

Yes! Simply add the correct *97* code–listed below–to your package label before shipping.

Recently, an American artist, quite pleased with himself for selling one of his paintings to a UK buyer–as any artist would be– wanted to know where and how to pay the VAT (Value Added Tax) for the buyer. 

When I informed him of the “97” codes, he scoffed. Apparently, he’d gotten the idea to pay the VAT and that was that. Then a UK artist got into the conversation, indignantly stating that she had “never heard of such codes!”

I love artists–they are great creative people and deserve some concessions! Artists work hard and have a lot of expenses. They deserve a break–to be cut some slack.

Apparently the powers-that-be agree, for they created these special *97* series of codes (below) that signal shippers and customs agents internationally that the package contains artwork and is exempt from import duties.

Yes, I put one of the *97* export codes below, on one of my art shipments to Europe. The guy at the FedEx office, where I shipped from, was familiar with the code. 

How I came to have the *97* codes, came about when I’d shipped one of my sold paintings to Europe–without a *97* code– and the buyer unexpectedly had to pay an additional amount to get the package released. The European art dealer instrumental in the sale hadn’t liked that added expense for her client, so she did some investigating! Then she sent me the *97* series codes below.

These codes work. Some artists are glad to have them.

The trade tariff codes starting with number ’97’ alerts customs officials worldwide to the fact that the item is an original work of art and is therefore exempt from import duties.

For instance, if you are based in the UK and are sending overseas please mark your package clearly with Export code: 97011000

If you are based outside of the UK and are sending your artwork to a customer within the UK mark your parcel: Commodity Code: 9701100000.

Any other variables – say you are sending from the USA to Finland, or between any other countries, then mark you parcel: Export code: 970110

It is really important to use these codes,  otherwise items can get stuck in customs and your buyers may have to pay fees!

I first published an article on these codes, on January 2, 2013–read it here.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Artists, Should You Use UberRUSH For Your Art Deliveries?

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FedEx, UPS and the Postal Service have never been ideal for shipping your art. But those are the choices you have to go with. Art should be handled with care, and no matter how well you pack it, when you use those services, your art still gets put on conveyor belts along with everything else handled that day. (I’ve heard horror stories of conveyor jam ups and huge packages crashing into small). Then days later, your art shipment nears the end of a long ride, transferred from truck to truck, until someone in a hurry makes the end delivery, not knowing the contents of your package– and are you certain that your art won’t be left on a doorstep in the blazing sun or in the pouring rain?

You probably know about the Uber app, for catching a ride in a private car at a lower rate than you’d pay for a taxi.

Well, just as Uber came up with a cheaper ride system, as well as providing car owners a way to make money using their private cars–Uber very recently set up UberRUSH delivery service in New York City.

Is UberRUSH a cheaper delivery service than UPS or FedEx or a local courier service?

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Right away I thought about artists using UberRUSH to save on local art shipping fees. Plus the service personalizes the delivery –from your hand, directly into the hands of the person who delivers it to the end recipient. Eliminating the processing steps–those greasy conveyor belts, and the loading /unloading / loading again onto truck after truck.

A lot of questions come up, as far as size of packages and delivery distance. Will this service be available in other cities around the world?

I suppose in the future, it’s possible that someone near you, who is about to take a long distance car trip, may decide to make some money by offering their delivery services via UberRUSH. Also, there may be those at work making UberRUSH deliveries on a daily basis computing city to city, that you can establish a working relationship with–for peace of mind and consistency of delivery.

Plus you can track your package in the UberRUSH app.

UberRUSH is very new, so I’m hoping to find out more in the future as the service expands and develops.

 

 

Man Up! Women’s Caucus for Art: Call for Women Artists

MAN UP! NO BALLS ABOUT IT
Affecting change in a community or in the world takes a great deal of strength and power.  What does that look like to you as an artist?  A very common catch phrase of late, heard online and on the radio, “Man Up!” is even a title of a TV show.  Is doing one’s best gender specific?  As women and artists do we have to “paint like a man” in order to make truly great art as was deemed by our fore-bearers?
“Man Up!”will be part of the national WCA Summer Board meeting to be held in Southeast Michigan this July. In our strolling convergence through Ann Arbor, we will see that much has been accomplished in the field of the arts by women.  From a collector’s passion at the Ross Business School at the University of Michigan, to the formation of the Percent for Art Program by the City of Ann Arbor’s Public Art Commission, the arts are often driven by the dedication and encouragement of this most dynamic and inspiring arts community. “Man Up!”will be the finale of this impressive tour.
In this call for art, we are asking artists to create work that visualizes the essence of power and the notion of “besting” oneself, other artists or men as a whole.  Is power gender specific?  We hope that you will interpret this call widely.  The ability to elicit change does not need to come from the front end of a bulldozer; it can also be found in the quietest voice in a board meeting, forcing all in attendance to strain their ears to hear some pearls of wisdom.  What is your strength?  Where does it come from?  What does it look like?  What does it mean to you to “MAN UP!”
ELIGIBILITY

  • Open to all self identified women artists nationwide.
  • All media including works of video and performance
  • Submit up to three works


VISUAL ENTRY PROCEDURE:
Apply online at http://www.entrythingy.com

  • Artist blind statement 530 characters maximum.  This statement will be used by the Juror to help in the selection process.
  • Provide dimensions of each piece as follows:  H x W x D.  If your work is framed, include the frame in the size.
  • Submit images in JPG files, high resolution approximately 4” W x 6” H” at 300 dpi.  In order for images to upload successfully they must be at lease 900 pixels wide.
  • Color profile for JPG files should be RGB color mode.  CMYK will not upload in this program.


ENTRY FEES:

WCA Members in good standing $35.00

Non-Members $45


DELIVERY PROCEDURE:
The WCA Michigan will notify you by email upon acceptance of your artwork.  In person deliveries will only be accepted July 9 & 10.  Artwork delivered by UPS or FedEx must arrive between June 29 & July 3.
Please note:  All artwork shipped by UPS, FedEx or any other mail carrier must be accompanied by proper paperwork with pre-paid return shipping label from the original carrier otherwise artwork cannot be accepted.  No checks or cash accepted for return mailing.
DISPLAY REQUIREMENTS:
Upon acceptance, all visual art must arrive ready for display.  Pictures and fiber art must be wired and ready for hanging.  Sculpture must be stand-alone and secure.  Hardware must be supplied for hung sculptures.  Artist is responsible for stability of artwork.  Final acceptance of large-scale work is contingent upon gallery space.  WCA Michigan reserves the right to refuse exhibition of work that does not meet criteria or match the quality portrayed in the application.
IMPORTANT DATES:
Entry Deadline:  11:59 PM, May 15, 2012
Notification Date:  June 1, 2012
Arrival of Shipped Work:  June 29 through July 3, 2012
Hand Delivery of Work:  July 9-10, 2012
Opening:  July 12, 2012
Artist’s Reception:  Friday July 20, 2012, 2-9 pm
Closing:  Aug 9, 2012
Pick Up Artwork: Aug 10-11, 2012
Return Shipping: Aug 10, 2012

ABOUT THE WCA AND WCA MI:
The Michigan Chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art was founded in 2007 and became a non-profit organization in 2010.  Like the national organization our mission is to create community through art, education and social activism.  WCA is committed to recognizing the contribution of women in the arts, providing women with leadership opportunities and professional development, expanding networking and exhibition opportunities for women. WCA supports local, national and global art activism that advocates for equity in the arts for all.  As an NGO (non-governing organization) of the United Nations, the Women’s Caucus for Art supports the UN Millennium Goals to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases and ensure environmental sustainability.  As a founding member of the Feminist Art Project, WCA is part of a collaborative national initiative celebrating the Feminist Art Movement and the aesthetic intellectual and political impact of women on the visual arts, art history and art practices, past and present.
To join the WCA, go to www.nationalwca.org and for more information about “MAN UP!” contact Margaret Parker or Gabrielle Pescador at exhibitionswcami@yahoo.com

ABOUT THE JUROR:
Born in Detroit, Suzy Lake now lives and works in Toronto Canada.  She was among the first female artists to adopt performance, video and photographic work to explore the politics of gender, the body and identity in Canada.
Lake was the subject of a major mid-career retrospective organized by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in 1993.  In 2007-2008 she was one of 119 women in the historical show WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution 1965-1980.  The exhibition originated in Los Angeles at MoCA Geffen Contemporary and toured galleries and museums in three major US cities as well as the Vancouver Art Gallery.  Suzy’s early work was also included in Jori Finkel’s Identity Theft:  Eleanor Antin, Lynn Hershman and Suzy Lake 1972-1978 at the Santa Monica Museum of Art in 2007.  More recently Lake’s work was the subject of a themed survey show entitled Political Poetics at the University of Toronto Art Centre this past May.  The show will travel to four other venues across Canada.
Suzy took early retirement from the University of Guelph in 2008 to work in her studio full time.  She is currently in production for a retrospective exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario scheduled for the spring of 2013.  Her work is represented by Georgia Scherman Projects in Toronto, Galerie Donald Browne in Montreal and Michael Solway in Cincinnati.
THE VENUE AND SHIPPING ADDRESS:
Gallery in the Duderstadt Center
The University of Michigan
2281 Bonisteel Boulevard
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2094
(734)-763-0606