All parcels arriving from outside the EU must be declared from July 1

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Parcels at an Omniva mail sorting facility.

Due to a European Union tax amendment, all shipments arriving from third countries must be declared and value-added tax (VAT) must be paid on them from July 1.

The tax amendment is also valid for goods that were purchased before July 1 but arrive after said date, Estonian state-owned postal service and logistics company Omniva said on Wednesday.

Taxation is based on whether the goods are registered as having arrived in the EU before or after July 1. The date is fixed in the shipment information once the item arrives at the Omniva sorting center.

Omniva warns that the tracking pages of international e-stores may not always display accurate information, meaning that the payment duty may come unexpectedly for some people.

"A few Chinese and other third country e-stores display misleading indications in the tracking environment, where the first event is that the location of the item is Estonia. In the postal world, this often means that the shipment has exited the shipping country's export terminal and is en route to Estonia. However, it may still take weeks for the item to actually reach Estonia," Marita Mägi, head of the international segment at Omniva, said.

If the parcel arrives at the Omniva sorting center after July 1, it is subject to declaring, regardless of the information in the tracking environment, and the respective duties must be paid. The easiest option is to keep track of this information via the shipment tracking tool on the webpage of Omniva - if the event "at Omniva sorting center" is indicated for the parcel before July 1, then the tax amendment does not apply to the parcel in question, Mägi said.

According to Omniva, the value of the majority of parcels arriving from third countries is lower than €22, meaning that most of the parcels have reached clients without additional taxes and declaring. This situation will change from July 1 and all shipments will need to be declared, regardless of their value. 

Since people across Europe are trying to receive their orders before July 1, there numbers of orders are very big and the international parcel flow is overloaded and slow.

"Omniva has no way to impact the speed of the parcel arriving to Estonia, but we do everything in our capacity to deliver all items that reach us before July 1 to clients without additional actions," Mägi said.

The aim of the EU-wide amendment is to reduce VAT fraud and ensure equal competition conditions for EU companies with companies located outside the EU. 

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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