This might sound familiar: you receive a Christmas or birthday present from abroad, only to be asked to pay customs fees and VAT once it arrives in the Czech Republic. Even though it’s marked as a “gift.”
Over the years, the implementation of customs fees and taxes for goods shipped from abroad into the EU hasn’t always been crystal clear.
From May 1, the Czech Republic will adopt new EU customs regulations designed to help streamline customs legislation and procedures throughout EU member states. Hopefully, this will help clarify the process of when you have to pay, and how much.
But according to iDnes.cz, it’s also going to make the customs procedure stricter and (potentially) more expensive.
According to the new regulations, the calculation of duties will be changed to include shipping costs, which could result in higher fees for heavier items, and some packages crossing the threshold into taxable territory.
Also, the policies surrounding packages marked as a “gift” will be tightened.
Items shipped from companies such as Amazon.com or Alibaba will no longer be considered potential gifts, even if the sender chooses a “send as gift” option (from personal experience, this has never been the case).
Only items sent directly between individuals will be eligible for exemption from customs taxes. And those individuals will need to “prove” that the goods are only intended for personal use, and that recipient did not pay for them, according to iDnes.cz. How exactly a recipient might prove that is unclear.
“Gift status will only apply to non-commercial goods, i.e. for goods sent between private individuals, which are occasional in nature and contain goods exclusively for private use by the recipient or their family members,” said Šárka Miškovská, spokesperson for Celního úřadu Praha Ruzyně.
Additionally, any “gift” over 45 EUR (currently, about 1200 CZK) will not be eligible for exemption from VAT taxes and/or import duty (customs fees).
When do you have to pay?
- Packages under 22 EUR (about 600 CZK) are exempt from VAT and duty fees.
- Packages sent as “gifts” under 45 EUR (about 1200 CZK) are exempt from VAT and duty fees.
- Packages between 22 EUR and 150 EUR (or “gifts” between 45 EUR and 150 EUR) will be subject to VAT charges (typically 21%).
- Packages over 150 EUR (about 4000 CZK) are subject to VAT and customs (duty) fees (which vary according to the types of goods).
Certain items – including alcohol, tobacco products, and perfumes – are subject to customs fees regardless of cost.
Missing your package? If the value of your shipment – or its intended use if marked as a gift – is not immediately clear, it will wind up in a temporary warehouse and require further documentation to be released.
More information about customs fees and regulations can be found at the website of the Czech Customs Administration.
More information on the changes in the EU Customs Code (in English) can be found here.