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VAT and customs tax

(This article expired 08.12.2012.)

Due to changes in European Union statutes, there are new regulations governing VAT (value added tax) and customs duty assessments. This directly affects goods and packages traveling from the United States (or other non-EU countries) to the Czech Republic. To clarify, and in anticipation of the approaching holiday season, the following explains certain key points of the new policies enacted in April, 2011. The modified policies will affect sending a Christmas present to the Czech Republic.

Please note that only goods valued up to EUR 45 are exempt from customs duty and VAT.

The laws state that in addition to this EUR 45 limit, only goods and packages sent between private parties qualify for exemption. Exchange of goods/packages must be of infrequent, non-commercial nature. Also, their nature and quantity must confirm that the goods are exclusively for private or personal use. The consumption of the goods in the package is restricted to the recipients or their family members. Goods can also be used as a gift; however, the nature and quantity must indicate that the goods are NOT designated for commercial purposes.

In some cases exemption is not only limited by value, but by measure as well. For example, in order to be exempt, tobacco products cannot exceed 50 pieces of cigarettes, 25 cigarillos, 10 cigars, 50 grams of smoking tobacco, or a proportional combination of the above products. Alcoholic beverages cannot exceed 1 liter (distilled/hard liquor) or 2 liters (wine). Perfumes/eau de toilette cannot exceed 50 grams or 0.25 liters.

If the value of the package does not exceed EUR 700, customs duty is a flat rate of 2.5 percent. An additional VAT tax is also applied. VAT is currently 20 percent for the majority of goods. Customs duty and VAT taxes are calculated based on the purchase receipt or invoice enclosed in the package. The absence of a receipt will require proof of payment, such as a bank account statement that confirms the purchase. A scanned/printed bank statement (in PDF format) should suffice. Customs officials may require proof of payment to settle discrepancies between the package and claimed value.

All customs duty and VAT debt will be billed to the package recipient upon delivery.

The information provided above is for explanatory purposes only. Please visit the Czech Post (Česká Pošta, or Customs Administration (Celní správa, websites for the most detailed and up-to-date information.