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Your girl has been doing some heavy online retail therapy lately. Maybe it’s the weather or the ennui of dealing with year two of the COVID-19 pandemic where I’d normally spend my money on travel, but I’ve been buying up some fun Instagram dresses like the Selkie Puff Dress and the Sleeper Atlanta Dress.

Normally, when my goodies ship via DHL, I’d email the DHL employee in Korea and they’d let me know where to transfer the money. However, this time, things were different.

I received instructions from the DHL agent in Korea that in order to pay the customs fees/duties owed, I could either:

  1. Pay at my domestic bank in Korea directly by bringing a printed copy of the tax report.
  2. Pay online through my domestic bank via the Giro/Utility Bill Category.
  3. Use the DHL Advance Payment Service (for an additional 16,500 KRW).
Payment Instructions from DHL Korea for Customs Taxes/Fees

Since I was at the office and didn’t feel like schlepping all the way to the bank during my lunch hour, and I didn’t want to pay that extra won, I decided that it would be best that I figured out how to pay online. But guess what? The online KEB Hana banking website does NOT have the customs tax category on its English website nor on its English app. Quelle horreur!

Paying Bills on the KEB Hana Website

So, I logged into the Korean language version of the KEB Hana Website, and I realized that it was there all along. There was a category for customs taxes/fees to pay directly through my bank under ‘Utility Bills’ and then ‘Tariffs’.

Login to KEB Hana Banking Website (Korean)
In the menu, click ‘관세’ or Tariff

Search by the Electronic Filing Number

  1. Under the inquiry method, you would just click the third radio button for the electronic number payment inquiry.
  2. Type in the electronic filing number (starting with 0127 in my case).
  3. Click the green button to search.
  4. Click the checkbox for the correct tax item.
  5. Click the bottom green button to proceed with payment.
  6. Move to the next screen to verify payment (typical certificate authentication).

Search by Unpaid Bills

  1. Under the inquiry method, click the second radio button ‘전체 미수납내역 조회’ or ‘View all unpaid bills’
  2. Select ‘본인명의 납부분’ or ‘Payment in your name’
  3. Click the green button to search.
  4. Click the checkbox for the correct tax item.
  5. Click the bottom green button to proceed with payment.
  6. Move to the next screen to verify payment (typical certificate authentication).
Paying for customs tax by selecting unpaid Bills in your name

If nothing shows up when you click search, keep scrolling to see the troubleshooting section all the way down below.

Me channeling my inner Nicholas Cage, waiting for my packages to arrive (via GIPHY)

And that’s all folks! The customs payment is done, and now, I can wait patiently for my package to arrive.

Troubleshooting

What if the customs bill doesn’t show up on KEB Hana?

There may be a few reasons why the customs tax bill isn’t showing up on your KEB Hana account after logging onto the Korean website, and following the above instructions.

  • Is the package in Incheon, South Korea?
  • Has it been processed through the customs office?
  • Did you verify your name and ARC with the shipping service?

Firstly, check with the shipping service to see if the item has been fully processed through customs after it has arrived at Incheon. You should have received (but not always) the customs tax document with the customs tax amount due either via text message or email.

The customs tax document will have the uni-pass logo on the top left

If you haven’t received it, you can contact the shipping service. FedEx for example will often ask you to confirm that you will pay the tax and verify your package details (tracking number, item quantity, item value, the reason for receiving, and item type), name, and either your passport number or ARC number for the customs office. This will typically happen one day prior to the package’s expected delivery date, and then they will proceed to process your information with the customs office within a day. It moves fast within a 24-hour period, so I usually try to respond asap to avoid delays.

Secondly, if you’re searching by ‘Payments in your name’, it may not technically be in your name. Your ARC is tied to your bank account. If the shipping provider did not submit your ARC to the customs office during the import process, then the tax may not show up on your bank account in Korea. If you submitted your passport number to the customs office or shipping provider, then again, it will not show up on your bank account. Try searching via the electronic filing number that starts with 0127. It will be on the tax document that the shipping provider should have sent you.

Thirdly, if you’re like me and check your tracking every 30 seconds, waiting for an update, you may be jumping the gun here. After the package is received in Incheon and the tracking updates to ‘Package customs clearance available’, it may take up to a day to process and receive the information to pay the customs tax. If it’s a major holiday in South Korea, expect much longer delays through the customs office.

Fedex updates for one of my last packages

What are my options if I can’t pay on the KEB Hana website?

  1. If you bring the tax document provided by the shipping service to the bank, you can pay the customs tax at the bank teller.
  2. For FedEx or UPS only, you can do a domestic bank transfer within Korea without any additional fee. Their import customs clearance team will submit the customs tax on your behalf. FedEx will usually send you an automated text message with the correct bank account with the amount due for the domestic bank transfer. For UPS, contact their customer service team in Korea for the bank account information as they often forget to mention that this is an option. UPS tends to be a little slow in response, so I’ve asked the UPS delivery driver while they were in front of my door, texting me while I was out of the house, to provide this information before. The UPS driver is usually kind enough to come back later in the evening and drop off the package when the tax has been confirmed as paid.
  3. For DHL only, they offer an “Advance Payment Service” that you can apply for in order to pay the customs tax. There is an additional surcharge of 16,500 KRW, and if the tax exceeds 750,000 KRW, the surcharge becomes 2% of the amount due.

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