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Covid 19 - Duty-VAT free import of medical equipment and supplies

Publication date 17.4.2020 14.05
Press release

Contents of Commission Decision (EU) 2020/491

The European Commission has issued decision 2020/491 based on which goods are exempted from import duties and VAT when the following requirements are met:

  1. The goods are imported for release for free circulation by or on behalf of State organisations including State bodies, public bodies and other bodies governed by public law or by or on behalf of organisations approved by the competent authorities in the Member States (e.g. charitable and aid organisations).
    A private operator is also considered a body governed by public law, when the operator produces health and care services on behalf of and supervised by a public operator.
  2. The goods are intended for one of the following uses:
    - distribution free of charge by the bodies and organisations referred to in point 1 to the persons affected by or at risk from covid-19 or involved in combating the covid-19 outbreak;
    - being made available free of charge to the persons affected by or at risk from covid-19 or involved in combating the covid-19 outbreak while remaining the property of the bodies and organisations referred to in point 1;
  3. The goods satisfy the requirements laid down in Articles 75, 78, 79 and 80 of Regulation (EC) No 1186/2009 (Regulation on reliefs from customs duty) and Articles 52, 55, 56 and 57 of Directive 2009/132/EC.

Goods shall be admitted free of import duties and exempted of VAT on the imports where they are imported for release into free circulation by or on behalf of disaster relief agencies in order to meet their needs during the period they provide disaster relief to the persons affected by or at risk from covid-19 or involved in combatting the covid-19 outbreak.

Related instructions

Charitable and aid organisations as well as operators also considered as bodies governed by public law, are required to have an authorisation which is to be applied by email with a free-form application from the Customs Authorisation Centre: lupakeskus(at)tulli.

The application must contain at least the following information:

  • Description of the applicant’s operation, where goods imported free of import duties are meant to be distributed or used
  • Description of the goods and, if necessary, an account of how they are to be used for combating the Corona outbreak
  • Description of the applicants bookkeeping system as well as an account on how Customs can, when needed, monitor the activity based on the bookkeeping (post-clearance verification of the use of imported goods entitled to exemption from customs duties)

The granting of the authorisation requires also that an undertaking in writing be provided regarding the Commission decision and regarding the appropriate management of the obligations due to the authorisation granted by Customs. The Customs Authorisation Centre will provide the undertaking template.

An indicative list of goods to be imported duty-VAT free is attached to this customer notice. Duty-VAT free import of other goods is also allowed when they meet the above requirements concerning purpose of use.

Customs declarations on such goods are to contain the EU procedure code, as well as national procedure code C26 relating to the Regulation on reliefs from customs duty (code list 0027).

C26 Goods for the benefit of disaster victims (Regulation on reliefs from customs duty, Article 74; Finnish Value Added Tax Act 94.1.12)

The end-user entitled to the preferential treatment must be indicated in the customs declaration either as the declarant (holder of goods), as the consignee, or as XXX in the additional information field for the transaction. Using an agent is allowed.

As for charitable and aid organisations as well as operators also considered as bodies governed by public law, the customs declaration must also include attached transaction documents indicating the number and date of the authorisation granted to them.

When a private operator imports goods on behalf of an operator entitled to preferential customs and tax treatment, the customs declaration must be accompanied by an assurance signed by the operator entitled to the said treatment indicating that the goods are meant for the use described in point 2 of this customer notice (Commission Decision 2020/491)

Exemption from import duties and VAT can be applied for retrospectively as concerns imports that have occurred since 30 January 2020. Customs will release further instructions on this later. The Commission Decision 2020/491 is in force until 31 July 2020.

More information: yritysneuvonta.lupa-asiakkaat(at)tulli.fi

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