If the value of a gift consignment exceeds 45 euros or if the maximum limits for exemption from customs duty/tax are exceeded, then value added tax is collected. The general value added tax rate is 24 per cent. The value added tax rates on foodstuffs and books e.g. are lower. Bringing in gift consignments containing cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars and roll-your-own or pipe or cigarette tobacco as well as alcohol and alcoholic beverages, is always subject to taxes. Excise duty and value added tax on import are always levied for these products.
The impact of the country of origin on the customs duty collected on gifts exceeding the value limit
On the basis of preferential tariff agreements, a gift consignment exceeding the value limit of 45 euros can be granted preferential tariff treatment, i.e. exemption from customs duty or a reduced rate of duty, without documentary proof of origin.
The conditions are that
- the product is covered by the agreement
- the goods are declared as originating in the contracting country concerned and there is no reason to doubt that
- the value of the gift does not exceed the value limit laid down in the agreement and
- the gift has been sent directly from the contracting country to the EU.
Such contracting countries are e.g. the United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, Iceland, the West Balkan countries, the Mediterranean countries, Mexico, Chile, Republic of Korea, South Africa and the developing countries (the GSP countries). Instead of exemption from customs duty, the GSP treatment can just mean a reduced rate of duty. Certain products from some GSP countries are not entitled to any preferential treatment at all.
The general value limit for a gift consignment entitled to preferential treatment without proof of origin is 500 euro. The general value limit for gift consignments from Syria is 180 euro.
The preferential treatment only applies to customs duty, so value added tax and other taxes, if any, have to be paid for the gift consignment.
Duty-free treatment without value limits can be granted for industrial products sent by post from Turkey to the EU. The product that is sent does not have to originate in Turkey. The condition for exemption from customs duty is that the product has been in free circulation in Turkey. Agricultural products sent as gifts from Turkey have to be of Turkish origin. Also, a value limit of 500 euros is applied to Turkish agricultural products.