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Customs Duty/Tax on Gifts?

Posted by OK-186520 - Created: 16 years ago
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4 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 4)

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Posted by jmroberts-180597 - 13 years ago

Same happened to me, a gift was sent from the US. The item was detailed on the attached paperwork (book). The douane charged me 10 Euro import duty.

I refused to pay it (it's a gift, and, of no real value anyway!) They then sent me baylifts to get the 10 Euro. Ended up paying it, wasn't worth the trouble...

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Posted by nymphnode-207041 - 13 years ago


I think the French customs says that any gifts mailed to you in France that is valued over 45euros will be charged duties (so whatever value the sender writes on the customs sticker on the package). I believe the cap is higher for commercial items, but I'm not exactly sure what it is....Actually does anyone know? I see that in one of the posts on the message board, if you ordered something from the U.S. that is over 100euros, then you'd get charged duties? Does anyone have a definitive figure?


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Posted by legend_in_my_lunchtime-182603 - 16 years ago

You need to be very careful to look on the invoice to determine if your 59 Euros are for sales tax (T.V.A.) or special import tax (droits de douanes) or a handling charge from the freight forwarding agency (would be called "frais de dossier" or "frais forfaitaire" or "agent en douanes" or something like that).

I can't remember what the limit is on value before T.V.A. is due but it is quite low - something like 100 or 150 Euros.  Once your parcel triggers a customs inspection (see below), then you are in for the costs of that inspection which will always incur at least a basic fixed charge from the people that have to handle it and may also include droits de douanes and T.V.A. according to a special formula that depends upon whether there is a letter "r" in the current month and how close to lunchtime it is. 

N.B. there is nothing scientific about triggering the customs inspection either.  Obviously on very large declared values it will be systematic.  Often it is totally random for the small parcels.  If the person who sent it to you used and end-to-end carrier like Fedex or DHL then you'll more often than not find that you have no customs inspections and if there is an inspection, the handling costs component are nil.  If they've used a public postal service then you can expect to have the sort of charges you describe.

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Posted by Shuba - 16 years ago

Exactly the same thing happened to us!

Nothing was wrapped in our parcel and nothing of high value, just some toys and sweets for the kids. We had to pay 45Euros in tax, almost the same value as our parcel.