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Tax-free allowances: small consignments of goods of a non-commercial character from Non-EU Member Countries

The aim of the Directive is to reduce tax barriers to the sending of small consignments of goods by private persons in Non-EU Member Countries to private persons in Member States of the European Union (EU) by establishing Community tax-free allowances.

ACT

Council Directive 2006/79/EC of 5 October 2006 on the exemption from taxes of imports of small consignments of goods of a non-commercial character from third countries.

This Directive is a codified version of:

Council Directive 78/1035/EEC of 19 December 1978 on the exemption from taxes of imports of small consignments of goods of a non-commercial character from Non-EU Member Countries [Official Journal L 366 of 28.12.1978] [Amended by Directives 81/933/EEC and 85/576/EEC].

SUMMARY

Imported goods eligible for exemption from turnover tax and excise duty are those:

  • of a non-commercial character sent in small consignments from Non-EU Member Countries;
  • sent by private persons to other private persons in a Member State of the European Union (EU).

To be considered of a non-commercial character, the consignment must:

  • have a total value of EUR 45 or less;
  • be of an occasional nature;
  • contain only goods intended for the personal or family use of the consignees;
  • be sent by the sender to the consignee without payment of any kind.

The following goods, which are subject to quantitative import restrictions:

  • tobacco products (50 cigarettes, 25 cigarillos, 10 cigars or 50 grams of smoking tobacco);
  • alcohol and alcoholic beverages *;
  • perfumes (50 grams) or toilet waters (0.25 litre or eight ounces);
  • coffee (500 grams) or 200 grams of coffee extracts or essences);
  • tea (100 grams) or 40 grams of tea extracts or essences,

are exempt from turnover tax and excise duty.

If the adjustment of the amount of the Community exemption results in a change of less than 5% when converted into national currency, the Member State concerned may maintain the existing amount as expressed in national currency.

Key terms used in the act
  • Alcohol and alcoholic beverages:
- distilled beverages and spirits of an alcoholic strength exceeding 22% vol.; undenatured ethyl alcohol of 80% vol. and over: one standard bottle (up to 1 litre);
- distilled beverages and spirits, and aperitifs with a wine or alcohol base, tafia, saké or similar beverages of an alcoholic strength of 22% vol. or less; sparkling wines, fortified wines: one standard bottle (up to 1 litre);
- still wines: two litres.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 2006/79/EC6.11.20061.1.1979OJ L 286 of 17.10.2006

RELATED ACTS

Proposal for a Council Directive on the exemption from valued added tax and excise duty of goods imported by persons travelling from Non-EU Member Countries [COM(2006) 76 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
The proposal is aimed at establishing a Community system of exemptions from value added tax (VAT) and excise duty for non-commercial imports of goods by persons travelling between EU Member States and non-member countries.

Council Regulation (EEC) No 918/83 of 28 March 1983 setting up a Community system of reliefs from customs duty [Official Journal L 105 of 23.4.1983].
The Community system of reliefs from customs duty concerns the granting of exemption from the import or export duty normally payable on the goods concerned.

Council Directive 69/169/EEC of 28 May 1969 on the harmonisation of provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action relating to exemption from turnover tax and excise duty on imports in international travel [Official Journal L 133 of 4.6.1969].

 
Last updated: 11.12.2006
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