Brussels, 1 December 2008
Duty-free imports: New rules for travellers' allowances into the European Union from 1 December 2008
From 1 December 2008, new rules on tax and duty free imports enter into force. Travellers will benefit from cost savings when importing goods into the EU in their personal luggage. At the same time, Member States will avoid administrative costs currently involved in collecting small amounts of duties and taxes.
Taxation and Customs Union Commissioner László Kovács said: "Today's entry into force of new thresholds in duty-free travellers' allowances is good news for European travellers. Many of the previous rules, which have been in place since 1969, were no longer relevant to today's world. From today, citizens will benefit from a nearly doubled monetary threshold and more generously calculated limits for certain beverages when importing goods in their personal luggage into the European Union. At the same time, due to the increased monetary thresholds Member States will avoid administrative costs currently involved in collecting small amounts of import duties and taxes."
Travellers' allowances are the monetary thresholds or the quantitative limits under which travellers entering the EU from third countries are allowed to import duty free in their personal luggage.
From 1 December 2008 onwards, the new rules will:
The same rules apply if travellers come from territories where EU rules on VAT and excise do not apply, such as the Canary Islands, the Channel Islands, the French overseas departments, the Aland Islands and Gibraltar.
Here a summary:
For instance, in the best case, air travellers can import duty-free 200 cigarettes, 1 litre of spirits, 4 litres of wine, 16 litres of beer and 430 € of other goods (toys, perfume, electronic devices...). Taxes and customs duties will be applied to the value of goods exceeding those limits. However, the value of an individual item may not be split up.
Today's new rules are based on a Commission proposal to renew the provisions on duty-free travellers' allowances (see IP/06/238).
EU legislation concerning allowances for travellers is covered by article 45 of Regulation 918/83, as far as customs duties are concerned, and by Directive 2007/74/EC, as far as VAT and excise duties are concerned.
The press release can be found at this web link:
For background information on traveller's allowances, see: