Parcels from third countries must be declared from July 1

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Line of people waiting to pick up and drop off packages from the Omniva package terminal outside of Jõgeva Post Office. Source: Aili Vahtla/ERR

Parcels sent to Estonia from outside the European Union must be declared from July 1, the Tax and Customs Board has said.

The change stems from the EU VAT directive which Estonia has transposed into its national law. The change concerns all consignments arriving from outside the European Union. This means that all parcels sent from one private individual to another as gifts as well as orders from online stores must be declared, the Tax and Customs Board said.

Consignments with a value up to €45 sent from one private individual to another as gifts remain exempt from VAT.

While so far, only consignments ordered from outside the EU with a value over €22 were subject to VAT, following the changes, all small consignments become subject to tax and must be declared and presented to customs.

For instance, if a person orders €5's worth of goods from Aliexpress and the shipping cost of the goods is €1, the consignment must be declared and 20-percent VAT totaling €1.2 must be paid on the total cost of the order of €6.

If a person sends a parcel worth €20 from Russia to a relative or friend in Estonia and the shipping cost amounts to €4, the consignment needs to be declared but is not subject to VAT.

If the value of the parcel is €50, however, VAT of €10.8 must be paid on the total sum of €54.

"To put it simply, all consignments from third states must be declared from July 1. It means that orders from online stores, gifts sent by relatives as well as goods purchased while abroad and shipped to Estonia must be declared," chief expert at the customs department of the Tax and Customs Board Kaari Lainevool said.

Parcels can conveniently be declared through the Tax and Customs Board's online self-service environment e-MTA. In order to submit a declaration, a notice by the state-owned postal company Eesti Post about the arrival of the parcel and two reference numbers are needed -- the reference number on the said notice and the tracking number.

In addition, a document proving the value of the goods, such as a payment order or invoice is needed. VAT will be calculated on the basis of the cost of the purchase and its shipping costs and it can be paid via a bank link without exiting the self-service environment. The service of a postal or delivery company or a customs agency can also be used for declaring the goods.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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