Yes, You Must Declare Your Watches: Arnold Schwarzenegger held at Munich airport and Pays Taxes and Fine for Undeclared Audemars Piguet Watch for Charity
by Ian Skellern
Arnold Schwarzenegger recently flew into Munich Airport en route to his native Austria with an Audemars Piguet watch that he planned to auction at a charity gala organized by his climate foundation, the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative.
However, he didn’t declare the watch to customs officials, and when it was discovered, he spent around three hours being interviewed and fined.
The Audemars Piguet watch was valued at 26,000 euros. and Schwarzenegger had to pay that plus 4,000 euros in tax plus a fine of 5,000 euros.
German officials also opened a criminal procedure investigation for possible tax evasion, which is their standard procedure.
CBS reported, “The actor was never asked to fill out a declaration form, the source said, and tried to pay the taxes for the watch at the airport but the credit card machine wasn’t working, the source said. Schwarzenegger was then brought to an ATM to withdraw money but the limit was too low, and then the bank was closed, so customs officers finally brought in a credit card machine that worked, the source said.”
It’s worth noting that not being handed a customs declaration is not an excuse: the onus is on the traveler to declare anything in excess of permitted import value. If you are in the habit of traveling to watch and collector events with more than one watch, be warned that it could cost you!
It’s also worth noting that both The European Union and the United Kingdom make an exception for imported goods intended for a charitable purpose. They still need to be declared on arrival, according to E.U. policy, but if travelers can prove the items are being used for charity, they can avoid paying the associated fees.
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