Buying a HandPan - Import Duty and Taxes

With (at time of writing) many HandPan fans being unable to purchase an instrument from a native maker, often, it is necessary to import your chosen HandPan from abroad. When doing so, it's always wise to at least attempt to calculate import duties and taxes prior to purchase - not just because these charges can be sizeable, but also because it helps you calculate the total ‘real’ price of any given pan, when comparing your options.

For example: a Bali Steel HandPan purchased at a cost of €974 (approx $1200) direct from the makers in Bali, imported into Austria, would accrue (unless you get lucky) an additional €232 (approx $310) in duty and taxes (3.2% import duty rate, and 20% VAT).  Bringing the total price to around €1200 ($1500).

A Symphonette HandPan bought from Dave’s Island Instruments in the States for around £765 ($1200), imported to the UK,
would accrue an additional £213 ($333) in import duty and taxes. Bringing the total price up to around £1000 ($1550) - again, with a 3.2% import duty rate, and 20% VAT.

Import duty and tax rates can vary significantly per country.  Importing the Bali Steel Handpan from the first example, into Vietnam, would incur an Import Duty of 3%, and taxes of 10%, while importing the very same Bali into Egypt would incur duties of 30%, and tax at 10%.

To figure out the duty and tax (and possible additional charges) you might face when importing a HandPan into your country, you might find the following website of use: DUTY CALCULATOR

Bass Halo HandPan - from Pantheon Steel

Officially unveiled at Hanpangea 2013, were these rather interesting ‘Bass Halo’, from Pantheon Steel.  With a single tuned note per side, in a much lower register than can be achieved on a standard Halo, these Bass HandPan are pretty revolutionary in terms of the new depths of sound they’re capable of bringing to the world of HandPan music.

To get some idea of what I’m talking about, check out the video of Kyle Cox (the Halo maker) using a number of these Bass Halo, in a rig, complete with foot pedals, to see how this kind of set-up could elevate HandPan music to a whole other level.  Or imagine the possibilities for collaborative play.

The downside of this being, that while a few of these bass Halo do seem to have found their way out into the wider HandPan community, with Pantheon Steel known to be aiming to produce somewhere between only 100-200 Halo in 2013, and with the massive demand that exists for pretty much anything that leaves their workshop, even if these 1-2 note bad-boys are quicker to produce than a standard Halo, chances of getting your hands on one, are presumably, slim.  Even if these are to be offered commercially, rather than being simply concept pieces.
However, with that said, it wasn’t so long ago (at time of writing) that getting your hands on any ‘Hang-inspired’ instrument, made for a considerable challenge.  So that while Pantheon Steel may have led the charge with regard to this form of bass HandPan, no doubt, if the demand is there, other makers will soon follow in fashion.  Either with exact copies, or with their own variations...

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