Looking to purchase vehicles parts online from overseas stores? Watch out for import duties, taxes


In this modern day and age, it’s rather easy to purchase items online, be it locally or from stores located overseas. The latter does come with some risks, as it’s up to you to determine the trustworthiness of the store, and hope that your ordered item arrives in one piece.

Be that as it may, the numerous avenues to source items bodes well for vehicles owners who might find it hard to source certain parts for their car or motorcycle locally, but can only find them from markets outside the country.

This was exactly the predicament faced by Durrani Sharom, who writes for our sister site paultan.org/BM, and owns 2015 KTM Enduro 690. While the availability of spare parts for his motorcycle is catered for by the local KTM distributor in Malaysia, it’s a different story when it came to accessories.

The backstory on Durrani’s motorcycle is that it was fitted with an aftermarket air filter and exhaust system, with a tuned ECU to be compatible with these modifications. Over his three years of ownership, the carbon-fibre trim on the exhaust became damaged and need to be replaced. It was then that he decided to purchase an entirely new set made from stainless steel – the stock exhaust system was no longer suitable with the bike’s ECU mapping.

After scouring around Malaysia for a suitable aftermarket option, he found an Akrapovic unit that costs over RM7,000 just for the end pipe, which is well over his budget. As a result, he looked around online stores outside Malaysia for a more affordable option, and long story short, decided to purchase an Arrow set from an Italian website for 349.56 euros (around RM1,600).

The purchase was done on November 15, 2019, and on November 19, he received a tracing number stating that the item would be shipped via Poste Italianne. Set to arrive on December 2, the package never did, and was eventually stuck at Malaysia’s international shipping exchange hub.

Initially, Durrani assumed it was a rudimentary case of the item being inspected before being released, but after two weeks without any progress, he decided to head to the Pos Malaysia’s international hub at KLIA to see what’s what. As it turns out, the item did arrive, but before it could be collected, Durrani was directed by an officer to the Customs counter first.

Upon arrival, he was instructed to open the package and state what was inside, before being told he had to pay the import duty and tax for the item. Having anticipated this would happen, the only concern was how much it would add up to. After some assessment, the officer revealed that the import duty would be 25%, with the SST an additional 10%. This would be calculated based on the total price of the items, which when rounded up, was RM1,600.

On the whole, for the items to be released, Durrani paid RM400 for the import duty (25% times RM1,600) and RM200 for SST (10% times the total of RM1,600 plus the import duty). All in all, the total cost of the items – include duty and tax – was RM2,200, which was the same price listed on the website prior to the discounted price he got upon checkout (RM1,600). Even so, it’s still well within his budget, and the set was among the cheapest on the market.

While some of you are already familiar with such a scenario, we would like to inform those who are looking to purchase parts for overseas to also factor in local import duties and taxes to confirm the final price upon arrival. Don’t just purchase the item due to its attractive price only to have it be stuck in Customs because the import duties and taxes are just too expensive – if you don’t pay, you can’t collect your item.

Do your homework by checking the applicable import duties and taxes on the Customs website using the HS Code of the item you’re looking to purchase. Based on our observations, vehicle parts can vary between five and 40%, before the additional 10% SST. Best to judge for yourself if you’re willing to pay the sum before you pull the trigger.


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