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Tax-free allowances: permanent imports of personal property

This directive introduces tax exemptions to eliminate the tax obstacles to the importation by private individuals of personal property from one European Union (EU) country into another EU country.


Council Directive 2009/55/EC of 25 May 2009 on tax exemptions applicable to the permanent introduction from a Member State of the personal property of individuals.


This directive provides an exemption for personal property which is permanently introduced from another European Union (EU) country by private individuals from consumption taxes which would normally apply to such property. Personal property refers to property for the personal use of the persons concerned or the needs of their household. Such property must neither have a commercial nature nor be intended for an economic activity. The tools necessary for exercise of a person’s trade or profession are, however, to be treated as personal property.

Riding horses, motor-driven road vehicles (including their trailers), caravans, mobile homes, pleasure boats and private aircraft may only be granted exemption if the private individual concerned transfers his normal residence to the EU country of destination. For the purposes of this directive, ‘normal residence’ is defined as the place where a person usually lives (for at least 185 days in each calendar year) because of personal and occupational ties, or in the case of a person with no occupational ties, because of personal ties which show close links between that person and the place where he/she is living.

Motor-driven road vehicles (including their trailers), caravans, mobile homes, pleasure boats and private aircraft must not be disposed of, hired out or lent during the 12 months following their tax exempt introduction, except in circumstances justified to the satisfaction of the competent authorities in the EU country of destination.

The introduction of the property may be undertaken all at once or in stages, and for any of the following reasons:

  • in connection with a transfer of normal residence: all of the property must be introduced within 12 months of the transfer of normal residence;
  • in connection with the furnishing or relinquishment of a secondary residence: the property must correspond to the normal furniture of the secondary residence and the person concerned must be the owner of the secondary residence or be renting it for a period of at least 12 months;
  • on the occasion of a marriage: the property must be introduced between two months before the marriage date envisaged and four months after the actual marriage date, and proof of marriage must be provided;
  • acquired by inheritance: the property must be introduced within two years of the date on which the person concerned enters into possession of the property, and proof must be provided that the property was acquired by inheritance.

With the exception of certain goods, EU countries have the right to retain or introduce more liberal conditions for granting tax exemptions than those provided for in this directive.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 2009/55/EC



OJ L 145, 10.6.2009

Last updated: 17.08.2011
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