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Consignments from outside the European Union

When sending postal or express mail consignments from a non-European Union country (or a third country) (for example, goods ordered from an e-shop or a gift from a private person), you have to consider the completion of customs formalities.

Quantitative limitations free of duty have been set for alcohol, tobacco products, parfume, eau de cologne, coffee and tea.

Special requirements have been established for sending of certain goods (food products, medicinal products and so on) and sending of certain goods are prohibited.

It is prohibited to bring tobacco products or related products to Estonia through cross-border distance selling (Tobacco Act § 312). In the case of violation of this prohibition the Estonian Tax and Customs Board may commence a misdemeanour procedure.

Cross-border distance selling of tobacco products or related products is the trade in these products to consumers where, at the time the consumer orders the product from a retailer, the consumer is located in Estonia and the retailer is established in another EU Member State or a third country.

Postal items arrived in Estonia by means of distance selling are neither delivered to customers nor returned to consignors.

 

It depends from the value, quantity and the consignor of the consignment whether the goods received have to be declared orally or in writing and what kind of import duties (customs duty, VAT, excise duty) have to be paid before receiving the consignment.

If you want to use a customs clearance service for declaration in writing, then the customs clearance costs shall be covered as well. Providers of postal or express mail services themselves provide customs clearance services or customs agencies.

Brexit

The European Council, by its Decision (EU) 2019/584, extended the United Kingdom's (UK) withdrawal date until 31 October 2019. The Withdrawal Agreement may enter into force on an earlier date, should the Parties complete their respective ratification procedures before 31 October 2019. Consequently, the withdrawal should take place on the first day of the month following the completion of the ratification procedures or on 1 November 2019, whichever is the earliest.
Nevertheless, the extension should cease on 31 May 2019 in the event that the UK as a Member State does not hold the elections to the European Parliament in accordance with Union law.
Until the new withdrawal date, the UK will remain a Member State with full rights and obligations.
You can find more information on the webpage "Brexit and its effects on customs clearance and on the trade with the United Kingdom".

Consignments exempt from customs duty


No import duties have to be paid or declared in writing:

  • if the consignment is purchased (received for a charge) from an economic operator of a third country (for example, an e-shop) or from a private person and the value of goods in the consignment remains under 22 euros and the consignment does not contain alcohol, tobacco products, perfume* or eau de cologne**, or

  • if a private person of a third country has sent a consignment free of charge (for example, gift items from a relative or a friend) and the value of goods in the consignment remains under 45 euros and containing alcohol, tobacco products, perfume*, eau de cologne**, coffee or tea does not exceed the following quantitative limitations:

    • tobacco products: up to 50 cigarettes or 25 cigarillos or 10 cigars or 50 grams of smoking tobacco

    • alcohol: 6 litres of beer and 2 litres of fermented beverages, and additionally either 1 litre of alcohol (regardless of ethanol content) or 2 litres of wine

    • 50 grams of perfume* or 0.25 litres of eau de cologne**

    • 500 grams of coffee or 200 grams of coffee extract or coffee essence

    • 100 grams of tea or 40 grams of tea extract or tea essence

The abovementioned information in the form of a table:

Consignments exempt from customs duty (goods are not required to be declared in writing)
The way how the consignment was received Cost limit Restrictions on goods items Legal basis
Purchased (received for a charge) from an economic operator of a third state (for example, an e-shop) or from a private person Up to 22 euros If the consignment does not contain tobacco products, alcohol, perfume* or eau de cologne** Article 24 of the Council Regulation 1186/2009,
Clause 17 (1) 9) of the Value-Added Tax Act
Received by a private person of the EU free of charge from a private person of a third state (for example, gift items from a relative or a friend) for personal use Does not exceed 45 euros

If following goods items exceed:

  • tobacco products: up to 50 cigarettes or 25 cigarillos or 10 cigars or 50 grams of smoking tobacco
  • alcohol: 6 litres of beer and 2 litres of fermented beverages, and additionally either 1 litre of alcohol (regardless of ethanol content) or 2 litres of wine
  • perfume*: 50 grams
  • eau de cologne**: 0.25 litres
  • coffee: 500 grams of coffee or 200 grams of coffee extract or coffee essence
  • tea: 100 grams of tea or 40 grams of tea extract or tea essence
Articles 25 to 27 of the Council Regulation 1186/2009, subsection 17 (2) and clause 17 (1) 10) of the Value-Added Tax Act, §§ 48 and 58 of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act
Notes

* Perfumes and fragrances (eau de perfume) usually contain essential oils, including concretes, absolutes or mixtures of synthetic odoriferous substances dissolved in alcohol of high concentration. Besides, they usually contain additives with faint odour, fixatives and stabilizers.  

** Toilet waters (eau de toilette, eau de cologne) – for example, lavender water, eau de cologne (not to be confused with aqueous distillates and aqueous solutions of essential oils under heading 3301 of the Combined Nomenclature) – contain essential oils and so on to a lesser extent, and alcohol the concentration of which is generally lower than in the perfumes described above.

 

Taxable consignments to be declared in writing


Import duties have to be paid and declared in writing:

  • if the consignment is purchased (received for a charge) from an economic operator of a third state (for example, an e-shop) or from a private person and the value of goods in the consignment:
    • remains under 22 euros but contains alcohol or tobacco products, perfume* or eau de cologne**, or

    • exceeds 22 euros

  • if a private person of a third country has sent a consignment free of charge (for example, gift items from a relative or a friend), but:
    • the value of goods for customs purposes in the consignment[1] (amendment since 01.05.2016) exceeds 45 euros or
    • the abovementioned goods have exceeded the quantitative limit

If the customs value of the consignment sent by a private person free of charge exceeds 45 euros, but contains various items, duty exemption may be applied, by the person’s own choice, to this item only the customs value whereof remains under 45 euros (for example, if there are three items in the consignment with the customs value of 40, 50 and 35 euros, the duty exemption may be chosen for one item – the customs value whereof shall be 40 or 35 euros only).

If the goods sent by a private person free of charge are subject to quantitative limits (1 piece) and the value of the goods exceeds 45 euros, the import duties shall be imposed on the goods in full.

The abovementioned information in the form of a table:

Goods are required to be declared in writing and taxes are required to be paid
The way how the consignment was received Cost limit Restrictions on goods items Legal basis
Purchased (received for a charge) from an economic operator of a third state (for example, an e-shop) or from a private person Up to 22 euros If the consignment contains tobacco products, alcohol, perfume* or eau de cologne** Article 24 of the Council Regulation 1186/2009,
Clause 17 (1) 9) of the Value-Added Tax Act
 
Exceeds 22 euros  
Received by a private person of the EU free of charge from a private person of a third state (for example, gift items from a relative or a friend) for personal use Does not exceed 45 euros

If following goods items exceed:

  • tobacco products: up to 50 cigarettes or 25 cigarillos or 10 cigars or 50 grams of smoking tobacco
  • alcohol: 6 litres of beer and 2 litres of fermented beverages, and additionally either 1 litre of alcohol (regardless of ethanol content) or 2 litres of wine
  • perfume*: 50 grams
  • eau de cologne**: 0.25 litres
  • coffee: 500 grams of coffee or 200 grams of coffee extract or coffee essence
  • tea: 100 grams of tea or 40 grams of tea extract or tea essence
Articles 25 to 27 of the Council Regulation 1186/2009, subsection 17 (2) and clause 17 (1) 10) of the Value-Added Tax Act, §§ 48 and 58 of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act
Exceeds
45 euros
 
Notes

* Perfumes and fragrances (eau de perfume) usually contain essential oils, including concretes, absolutes or mixtures of synthetic odoriferous substances dissolved in alcohol of high concentration. Besides, they usually contain additives with faint odour, fixatives and stabilizers.
Commodity code 3303 00 10 00 perfumes (perfume, eau de perfume) 

** Toilet waters (eau de toilette, eau de cologne) – for example, lavender water, eau de cologne (not to be confused with aqueous distillates and aqueous solutions of essential oils under heading 3301 of the Combined Nomenclature) – contain essential oils and so on to a lesser extent, and alcohol the concentration of which is generally lower than in the perfumes described above.
Commodity code 3303 00 90 00 toilet waters (eau de toilette, eau de cologne)

 

3. Benefits from online stores


Several online stores grant various benefits when purchasing goods, these are named differently, for example:

  • trial price – if the goods item is purchased for the first time;

  • loyalty credit – in general, a certain percentage of the goods price ordered, and usually it may be found also in the list of use conditions of the online store;
  • rewards – bonus points created by sales volume/ advertising work of the buyer (the buyer shares the information with his/her friends on the Internet, the friends purchase the same items from the same online store).

On importation of goods and paying import duties, it is important to make a distinction which benefits may be deducted from the customs value of the goods (taxable goods value) and which not.

The customs value of goods may not be confused with the price of goods!

As concerns the customs value, it is important that the discount is related to the goods to be imported. Besides this, discounts can be considered only when the application and amounts thereof are prescribed by the sales contract[1].

If a loyalty credit or a trial price may be considered in some respects to be related to a particular item imported, then the so-called "reward" or a compensation/premium is not.

To sum up, if an online store provides benefits to you, then you may deduct such amounts from the customs value of goods only when you can produce evidence that a beneficial price applied to the particular goods to be imported (a discount) is in question. As evidence the customs authorities accept a service contract wherewith you complied on entering the customer programme of the online store and where there is definitely provided the amount of discount distributed to you. Besides this, the amount of discount must be fixed on the invoice. The points received from distributing the information are not considered as a discount related to the goods imported. See order example (397.51 KB, PDF).
 

Special requirements


In order to send or order certain goods into Estonia, quantitative limitations or requirement for the special permit has been established for bringing these in.
Please be sure to examine the special requirements before sending or ordering goods!

 

Prohibited goods

 

It is not allowed to send in a postal or an express mail consignment the following:
  • smokeless tobacco products
    A smokeless tobacco product means a tobacco product not involving a combustion process. Smokeless tobacco products are chewing tobacco, nasal tobacco (snuff) and tobacco for oral use.
  • narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances
  • medicinal products containing narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances
  • full blood and blood components
  • anabolic steroids
  • cells and tissues for medicinal use
  • advanced therapy medicinal products
  • weapons and their parts
  • ammunition and its parts
  • tear gas and nerve gas cylinders
  • inert explosives and munition and their replicas, including for example, inert grenades and shells (missiles) and their replicas
  • radioactive substances
  • toxic substances
The following is also prohibited:
  • mail order sale of medicinal products, except from registered online pharmacies
  • deliveries of medicinal products in postal or express mail consignments ordered on the Internet, except from the registered online pharmacies


See also:

 

Additional information

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[1] Paragraph 130 (1) of the Commission Implementing regulation (EU) 2015/2447

12.04.2019