Gifts sent from abroad
Private individuals can send goods as gifts, i.e. as non-commercial consignments, to other private individuals in Finland. This means that the recipient does not pay monetary or other compensation for the goods. Please note that anyone who receives a gift abroad must have the necessary information on the gift and its value for Customs. It is a good idea to ask a written account from the sender of the gift on the value of the consignment prior to customs clearance or contacting Customs.
Requirements for exemption of gifts from customs duty and tax
- A private individual sends the goods to another private individual without any payment.
- The consignments are of an occasional nature.
- The consignments only contain goods intended for the personal use of the recipients or their families.
- The nature or quantity of the goods must not imply any commercial intent.
- Goods that are ordered and paid for over the Internet and sent to another person are not regarded as gifts in this context.
- For example prizes, presents and business gifts sent by a company are subject to tax.
- Presents ordered by a company to its customers are subject to tax.
- The legislation does not lay down particular reliefs from customs duties and taxes for gifts given to mark special occasions, except for wedding presents.
Gifts sent to Finland from within the customs and fiscal territory of the EU
A private individual may receive gifts sent by another private individual from the EU fiscal territory directly to their home address without customs clearance. Value added tax is not levied in Finland upon importation of goods produced elsewhere in the EU or subjected to customs clearance elsewhere in the EU. Customs duties are not levied for such consignments. If you receive alcoholic beverages or tobacco products as gifts, read the related instructions here:
Gifts sent to Finland from outside the EU customs and fiscal territory
Value limit of 45 euros for gifts sent from outside the EU
As a rule, you do not need to pay taxes (customs duties, value added tax and excise duties) on gifts sent from outside the EU in the following circumstances:
- the consignment does not involve any payment or commercial purpose;
- consignments are of temporary nature and not frequent;
- the consignments only contain goods intended for the personal use of the recipients or their families;
- the value of the gift consignment does not exceed 45 euros.
Other things to note when a gift consignment arrives from outside the EU
In addition to the value limit of 45 euros, there are quantitative restrictions for the customs duty exemption of alcohol, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
One must also consider the duty-free and tax-free limits on the value of the gifts and on the quantities of certain products. For more detailed information, see the options below.
Value added tax and excise duty are always collected when the gift consignment contains cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, pipe tobacco or cigarette tobacco, regardless of their value quantity.
However, you can receive tobacco products in the quantities listed below, given that the value limit of 45 euros is not exceeded.
Duty-free limits on tobacco products
- 50 cigarettes OR
- 25 cigarillos (cigars weighing not more than 3 grams each) OR
- 10 cigars OR
- 50 grams of pipe and cigarette tobacco.
If you receive tobacco products as a gift, they must always be declared.
Receiving snus in any way, even as a gift, is prohibited.
Value added tax and excise duty are always levied when a gift consignment contains alcohol or alcoholic beverages regardless of their value or quantity.
Duty-free limits on alcoholic beverages
- 1 litre of distilled beverages and spirits with an alcohol content of more than 22 per cent by volume
- 1 litre of distilled beverages and spirits, and aperitifs with a wine or alcoholic base, taffia, sake, fortified wine or similar beverages with an alcohol content not exceeding 22 per cent by volume, sparkling wines, or a proportional assortment of these different products AND
- 2 litres of still wines, i.e. red, white and rosé wines.
An alcoholic beverage is a beverage intended to be consumed and containing more than 1.2 per cent by volume of ethyl alcohol. A private person is not allowed to receive from abroad gift consignments containing spirits, i.e. alcoholic substances containing more than 80 per cent by volume of ethyl alcohol, irrespective of use, packaging or markings.
If you receive alcoholic beverages as gifts, they must always be declared.
Perfumes and eau de toilette products
You can receive perfumes and eau de toilette products as gifts exempt from customs duty, given that the value limit of 45 euros is not exceeded.
Duty-free and VAT-free limits on perfumes
- 50 grams of perfume OR
- 0.25 litres of toilet waters.
The value limit of 45 euros for exemption from customs duty and value added tax applies to gift consignments of foodstuffs received from outside the EU.
Bringing back foodstuffs from outside the EU as gifts is restricted, due to the risk of spreading animal diseases. The same import restrictions apply both to foodstuffs brought back by travellers and to foodstuffs which are received as gift consignments or which have been ordered on the Internet.
As a rule, you are not allowed to import or receive for example meat, meat products, milk or milk or products from non-EU countries. You are allowed to import or receive no more than 20 kg of fishery products (or one gutted fish).
However, you are allowed to receive for example the following goods as gifts:
- bread, and
if the said items have not been mixed or stuffed with meat products.
Read more: Foodstuffs
Coffee, tea and their essences and extracts
Exemption from customs duty and tax is applied to a consignment with a value not exceeding 45 euros.
Coffee and tea and their essences and extracts are exempt from value added tax only up to the following quantities:
- 500 grams of coffee OR 200 grams of coffee extract and essence
- 100 grams of tea OR 40 grams of tea extract and essence.
The customs and tax treatment of wedding gift consignments is the same as that of other gift consignments, with the following exception.
When you change your permanent place of residence from a non-EU country (third country) to the customs territory of the EU, you can receive wedding gifts free of customs duty from persons who reside permanently outside the customs territory of the EU.
Each individual wedding gift that is to be exempt from customs duty must not exceed 1 000 euros in value. Furthermore, the following prerequisites and limits of customs duty exemption concern such gifts:
- exemption from customs duty does not concern tobacco, tobacco products or alcohol products.
- the recipient of a gift is to have permanently resided outside the EU customs and fiscal territory for a minimum period of 12 months prior to moving to the said territory
- the recipient of a gift must present a marriage certificate in connection with customs clearance
- the present may not be transferred to anyone else, whether against payment or not, during a period of twelve months without paying customs duty and value added tax.
- Apart from exceptions, exemption from customs duty is only granted for goods declared for free circulation no later than two months prior to the anticipated date of marriage (for the exemption, you must present a special permit granted by Customs in connection with customs clearance, and lodge a guarantee), and for goods declared for free circulation no later than four months from the date of marriage (you must present a special permit from Customs in connection with customs clearance).
- Goods deemed as exempt from customs duty are subject to a 12-month prohibition of transfer.
The importation of wedding gifts of this kind is exempt from value added tax.
A car or a motorcycle received as a wedding gift cannot be taken into use or registered in Finland before car tax is paid on the vehicle.
Until 12 months have elapsed from the date on which its entry for free circulation was accepted, personal property which has been admitted duty-free may not be lent, given as security, hired out or transferred, whether for a consideration or free of charge, without prior notification to Customs.
Any loan, giving as security, hiring out or transfer before the expiry of the period of 12 months 1 shall entail payment of the relevant import duties on the property concerned, at the rate applying on the date of such loan, giving as security, hiring out or transfer, on the basis of the type of property and the customs value ascertained or accepted on that date by Customs.
Gifts sent to Finland from inside the EU customs territory, but from outside the EU fiscal territory
Some areas are part of the EU customs territory, but not the EU fiscal territory.
Perfumes, eau de toilette products, coffee and tea, are however subject to quantitative restrictions.
Value added tax and excise duty are always collected when the gift consignment contains cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, pipe tobacco and cigarette tobacco, alcohol or alcoholic beverages.
Gifts that are subject to tax and sent from within the EU customs territory but from outside the EU fiscal territory are declared and value added tax is levied on them in the same way as for any other online purchase.
The Åland Islands region
The Åland Islands, for example, are part of the customs territory of the EU but not of its fiscal territory. Customs duties on Union goods are not levied for imports from the Åland Islands region to mainland Finland and vice versa, or for imports from another EU Member State to the Åland Islands region. However, excise duties and value added tax may be levied.
The VAT exemption on gifts sent to the Åland Islands region from another EU Member State is subject to the same tax exemption conditions as the delivery of gift consignments from countries outside the EU customs and fiscal territory. The same conditions on tax exemption apply to gift consignments sent from mainland Finland to the Åland Islands region, and to imports of gift consignments to Finland from locations inside the EU customs territory, but outside the EU fiscal territory.
However, imports of cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, pipe and cigarette tobacco, alcohol and alcoholic beverages are always subject to tax regardless of the value or quantity of such products. Imports of these products are always subject to excise duty and value added tax.
Points to consider
Declare the gift consignment in the Import Declaration Service for private persons. Choose that you wish to declare a gift sent by a private person.
For the declaration, you’ll need to know the content and value of the gift, and you’ll need the notice of arrival.
However, if the gift is exempt from customs duty and tax, you do not need to pay any import duties or taxes.
Ask the sender for an account of the content and value of the gift consignment.
Read more: Clearing gifts through Customs