Receiving a gift from a country outside the EU
If the gift requirements are fulfilled, you can receive your parcel from a country outside the EU free of charge. It is vital that the parcel clearly states: that it is a gift, what it contains, and what the parcel is worth.
A gift is: sent between two private individuals; for personal use; and sent on a single occasion with no payment whatsoever by the consignee.
How do I receive a gift without paying customs duty and VAT?
If the gift requirements are fulfilled (see the yellow box above), you can receive a parcel from a country outside the EU free of charge. Normally, it is the company transporting your goods (e.g. Postnord or a forwarding agent) that makes your customs declaration for you, using the invoices and other documents accompanying your parcel. Thus, it is vital that the parcel clearly states: that it is a gift; what it contains; and, what the parcel is worth.
There is also a limit value that a gift must not exceed for you to be able to receive it free of charge. In the section below, you can read about which rules apply depending on the gift parcel’s value and contents.
If you would like to make your customs declaration yourself, you can read about this on the Handling your customs declaration yourself page.
Cases where customs duty and VAT are due on your gift
Whether or not your gift will be free of charge depends on: the total value of the gift parcel; the value of any individual gift in the parcel, and; the types of goods in the parcel.
If your gift parcel contains alcohol, tobacco or perfume, special rules apply.
Gifts worth SEK 500 or less
If the value of your gift parcel is SEK 500 or less, you do not pay any customs duty or VAT if your parcel fulfils the gift requirements and does not contain alcohol or tobacco.
Gifts worth more than SEK 500, but no more than SEK 1,600
If the value of your gift parcel exceeds SEK 500, but not SEK 1600, you do not pay any customs duty if the parcel does not contain alcohol, tobacco or perfume. You are, however, required to pay VAT. The company carrying your parcel may also charge an administration fee or a customs declaration fee to submit a customs declaration on your behalf.
Gifts worth more than SEK 1,600, but no more than SEK 7,100
If the value of your gift exceeds SEK 1,600, but not SEK 7,100, the company carrying the gift calculates the customs charge by applying a flat rate to everything in the parcel except any duty-free goods. The flat rate of duty is 2.5 per cent of the gift’s value (freight and insurance costs included therein). You also have to pay VAT. The company carrying your parcel may also charge an administration fee or a customs declaration fee to submit a import declaration on your behalf
If the parcel contains several separate gifts, you do not have to pay any customs duty or VAT on the goods whose combined value is SEK 500 or less. The following two examples explain how you calculate the charges.
Example 1 – One of the three gifts in a parcel has a value under SEK 500
Berit lives in the USA. She sends a parcel to her sister, Barbro, in Sweden. The parcel contains several gifts for her sister. Berit has specified the values of the gifts:
- jeans = SEK 400;
- blouse = SEK 550;
- glass vase = SEK 800.
The jeans for Barbro are exempt from charges because they are below the SEK 500 value limit. However duty and tax must be paid on the blouse and the glass vase. These have a combined value of SEK 1,350.
You calculate the charge as follows:
- A flat rate duty of 2.5 per cent is calculated on the SEK 1,350 to give, in this example, SEK 33.
- VAT at 25 per cent is calculated on SEK 1,383. This equates to SEK 345.
- The total sum to pay is SEK 378 (SEK 33 in customs duty and SEK 345 in VAT) plus any administrative fee charged by the transport company.
Example 2 – Two of the three gifts in a parcel have a combined value under SEK 500
Greta lives in Norway. She sends a parcel to her daughter, Matilda, in Sweden. The parcel contains several gifts for her daughter. Greta has specified the values of the gifts:
- traditional Norwegian cardigan = SEK 1,300;
- pair of knitted gloves = SEK 250;
- wool hat = SEK 200.
The gloves and wool hat for the daughter are free of charge because their combined value is under the SEK 500 value limit.
However duty and tax must be paid on the traditional Norwegian cardigan.
You calculate the charge as follows:
- A flat rate duty of 2.5 per cent is calculated on the SEK 1,300 to give, in this example, SEK 32.
- VAT at 25 per cent is calculated on SEK 1,332. This equates to SEK 333.
- The total sum to pay is SEK 365 (SEK 32 in customs duty and SEK 333 in VAT) plus any administrative fee charged by the transport company.
Gifts worth more than SEK 7,100
If the value of the gift is more than SEK 7,100, you must pay customs duty and tax on the gift (freight charges included therein) as if it were a standard import. Depending on what the gift is, the rate of duty can be between 0 and 20 per cent of the gift’s value. If the company carrying your parcel made your import declaration for you, it may also charge an administration fee or a customs declaration fee.
Goods subject to special rules
Remember that special rules apply to gifts containing: alcohol; tobacco; perfume; weapons and/or dangerous objects; medicines; certain foodstuffs; or, animals. If you are receiving these goods, you may need authorisation from another authority. For example, authorisation from the Swedish Board of Agriculture may be required for certain foodstuffs coming into Sweden.
Parcels containing several gifts
One gift may contain several items for the same recipient. The value limit applies to the total value of the gift.
If the parcel contains several gifts to different people it is important that these recipients are written clearly on the outside of the package. Relief from VAT and customs duty is granted to each recipient for gifts worth SEK 500 or less. The giver and recipient of each individual gifted item, as well as their value, should be indicated. The gifts in the main parcel should be wrapped separately for each recipient.
Has your parcel failed to arrive?
If your parcel has not arrived, get in touch with the company that carried your goods. This may be Postnord or a forwarding agent.
Have you paid too much or too little?
If you consider that the customs duty or VAT you have paid is too high or too low, you can have the decision on customs duty and other charges modified. Swedish Customs can modify the decision if you apply for modification within three years from the day when you learnt how much you were to pay.
How to apply for modification
You apply by sending Swedish Customs a letter or email explaining what you consider is wrong. It has to include the following details:
- customs ID (the combination of two or three letters and seven or eight digits that you can find on the invoice from the transport company that carried your goods);
- your bank details (name of account holder, bank name, clearing number and account number),
- also attach an account extract (from your bank account or, for example, PayPal) showing how much you paid for the goods.
Send the email to email@example.com or a letter to this postal address:
Box 12 854
SE-112 98 Stockholm
What is updated: New limits on amounts from SEK 7,600 to SEK 7,100.