Customs limits of different countries for duty-free import of postal items

Often customers of logistics companies do not take into account the duties in different countries when sending parcels. Due to the tax on parcels, a situation often arises when the recipient has to pay extra, and the amount of the additional payment may exceed the cost of the parcel. To foresee such a situation, you need to know how duties are formed in different countries.

How customs estimates the value of the parcel

Customs duties may apply not only to purchases from online stores, but also to private shipments. But the amount of duties on parcels from abroad is not always the same: for “gifts” they are usually less. What is considered a “gift”?

  • the accompanying documents indicate the contents of the parcel as a “gift”;
  • the addressee receives the postal item from a private person, not from an organization;
  • the parcel is marked “for personal use”;
  • it is indicated that the parcel is delivered before the holiday date (birthday, New Year, Christmas or other holiday).

The main condition for duty-free import of goods is to exceed the customs limit. If the declared value of the parcel exceeds it, the recipient will have to pay customs duty. There is a threshold for duty-free importation of goods, but each country has different customs regulations for parcels. There are two generally accepted ways to determine the amount of tax on parcels from abroad:

  • FOB;
  • CIF.

FOB method

Duties on parcels in 2020 according to the FOB method is used in the USA, Belarus. The amount of duty is calculated only on the basis of the price of imported goods specified in the purchase invoice. If there is no invoice, the cost of goods is taken in accordance with similar products in the country of departure. How does the customs check the value of the parcel if the amount is indicated, but it is clearly underestimated? In this case, customs officers can independently adjust the price.

CIF method

Determination of the duty of the goods sent at CIF customs clearance: their price, insurance, delivery cost (Russia, Ukraine, EU countries) are summed up.

Customs Union

Parcels sent within the Customs Union of the Eurasian Economic Union (CU EAEU) are not subject to any fees, taxes or excise duties.

Country Threshold for duty-free importation Additionally
Belorussia 22 euros and 10 kg for one parcel, maximum 200 euros with a total weight of up to 31 kg per calendar month Parcels over EUR 22 (heavier than 10 kg) are subject to a customs clearance fee of EUR 5. If the amount exceeds 200 euros and / or weight of 31 kilograms, personal imports in excess are subject to a single tax of 30%.
Armenia 200 euros If the value is exceeded, a single tax of 15% of the excess amount is charged. Valid from January 1, 2020. The duty is calculated for each parcel separately, not per month. Parcels received at the address of one recipient at the customs on the same day are summed up by value. If the value limit is exceeded, in addition to the duty in the Russian Federation, customs fees in the amount of 250 rubles per parcel are also paid.

Former USSR

Country Threshold for duty-free importation VAT rate Additionally
Azerbaijan 1000 dollars (31 kg) 18% No more than one parcel per recipient per day. There are no other restrictions on the number or weight of parcels.
Georgia 300 GEL ($125) and weighing up to 30 kg. 18% In case of exceeding the duty-free limit, the buyer is obliged to pay VAT, as well as in some cases duty – 12%.
Moldova 200 euros (30 kg) 20% Maximum one parcel per recipient per day.
Ukraine 100 euros (31 kg) 20% For parcels worth 100-150 euros, VAT is charged, for parcels worth 150 euros, an additional 10% duty is charged.

European Union

Postal items between the member states of the European Union are not subject to any taxes or duties regardless of the quantity, value or category of goods.

When postal items arrive from a country that is not a member of the EU, the threshold for duty-free importation is 22 euros for most countries that are members of the European Union. However, it does not apply to all goods, the exceptions are: alcohol and tobacco products, perfume, toilet water.

Country Threshold for duty-free importation VAT rate Additionally
Austria 0 euro 20% An integral part of the European Union is the common customs area. However, despite the unified customs rules, each country has its own peculiarities, namely: the rate of value added tax (VAT) and the cost of customs services (for parcels from 0 euros).

For parcels costing up to 150 euros, only VAT is charged, plus customs clearance services. The price of customs services differs for different countries. In Greece it is about 15-20 euros, in Spain and France – 50 euros.

If the value of the parcel is more than 150 euros, then in addition to VAT and clearance fees, customs duties are also charged depending on the category of goods (from 0% for books to 17% for electronics).

Detailed information on each EU country can be found on the official website of the European Union, for convenience, it is collected in a single table and made in the form of a pdf-file.

Belgium 0 euro 21%
Bulgaria 0 euro 20%
Hungary 0 euro 5-18-27% (depends on the product)
United Kingdom 15 GBP (about 17 euros), gifts up to 39 GBP (50 euros), more details at gov.uk 20%
Greece 0 euro 23%
Germany 0 euro 19%
Denmark 80 DKK (Danish kroner, about 10 euros) 25%
Italy 0 euro 22%
Ireland 0 euro 23%
Spain 0 euro 21%
Cyprus 0 euro 18%
Luxembourg 0 euro 21%
Latvia 0 euro 21%
Lithuania 0 euro 21%
Malta 0 euro 18%
Netherlands 0 euro 21%
Portugal 0 euro 23%
Poland 22 euro 23%
Romania 0 euro 24%
Slovenia 0 euro 22%
Slovakia 0 euro 20%
France VAT is imposed on all parcels regardless of value 20% VAT + customs duties (0-17%).
Finland 0 euro 24%
Croatia 0 euro 25%
Czech Republic 0 euro 21%
Sweden 300 SEK (20 euro) 21%
Estonia 0 euro 21%

Australia, Asian countries of the Middle East

Country  Threshold for duty-free importation VAT rate Additionally
Australia 1000 AUD (about $700) 10% More information on the Australian Border Force in the “Buying Online” section.
Vietnam 1000000 VND (about $40) 0-15%
Israel $1000 17% Parcels with identical goods sent to the address of one recipient within 72 hours are considered as a batch and their cost is considered as a total. Parcels sent by courier services are charged an additional 18 shekels ($ 100-500) and 59 shekels ($ 500-100). Details on the website of the customs service.
ОАЕ (United Arab Emirates 1000 AED ($270) 5% All parcels exceeding the threshold of 270 US dollars are subject to customs clearance and sales tax
China 5000 yuan (about $700) 20-25% The maximum purchase price should not exceed 5000 yuan (about $ 700), maximum 26000 yuan per year (about $ 3700.).
Indonesia $50 More information on the website of the Indonesian Customs Service.

North, South, Central America

Country Threshold for duty-free importation VAT rate Additionally
Brazil $50 17-19% All parcels exceeding the threshold of 50 US dollars are subject to customs clearance and VAT
Canada goods up to 20 CAD ($15) and gifts up to 60 CAD ($45) Varies The limit is valid only for individual mail items, there is no monthly limit. All detailed information is available on the website of the Canada Border Services Agency – Canada Border Services Agency.
USA $800 Varies depending on the State. If the amount of duty-free limit is exceeded, payments depend on the value, quantity and category of goods. All details on the page  U.S.Customs and Border Protection.

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