Portal de Correos - Importation

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Frequently asked questions about Customs processing

1. Why must my shipment go through customs processing?
2. Why do I have to pay again, if the sender has already paid at origin?
3. Why do I have to pay tax on shipments that are gifts?
4. If my shipments are personal effects, what procedure should I follow?
5. What can I do if I don't have an invoice? What can be submitted instead?
6. And if the shipment is sent from one private individual to another, will it involve a payment?
7. When do duties need to be paid (customs duties)? Are they paid for all products?
8. When does VAT need to be paid?
9. Why is the Tax ID (NIF) necessary for customs processing?
10. Can I authorise a family member, friend, etc. to formalise the customs processing for me? What documentation does this person need?
11. If the invoice is inside the shipment, can the package be opened?
12. What is the deadline for carrying out the import procedures for the goods?

 

1. Why must my shipment go through customs processing?
When goods are imported from one tax territory to another, they must undergo customs processing. All goods must go through security checks at the border (sanitary and quality controls, etc.) and meet the tax obligations of the destination country (tax and duty payments) as well as other fees resulting from the import procedures and the care and storage of the shipments.

2. Why do I have to pay again, if the sender has already paid at origin?
Depending on the legislation in place in each country, postal shipments may be subject to customs controls when leaving (exports) the country of origin and when entering (imports) the destination country.
The costs associated with these procedures are independent from each other. As a general rule, indirect taxes must be paid for imported goods for consumption in the destination country. National/local tax must also be paid: e.g. VAT in the case of mainland Spain or the Balearic Islands; IGIC, AIEM and RM in the Canary Islands; and IPSI in Ceuta. There may be additional fees for customs rights or EU duties (EU tax).

3. Why do I have to pay tax on shipments that are gifts?
As a general rule, private gifts over €45 are also subject to tax payment as, according to customs regulations, they are considered as goods obtained outside of the tax territory of the destination that are going to be consumed/used within it, thus making them subject to import customs control.
Only in the case of used personal effects, following verification by Customs in line with the established procedure, may they be exempt.

4. If my shipments are personal effects, what procedure should I follow?
Personal effects are understood as USED objects (clothes, books, etc). Items or merchandise purchased for personal use are not personal effects.
Personal effects are subject to customs processing, although they may be exempt following verification and authorisation from Customs. For these purposes, it is necessary to attach a pro forma invoice with the shipment or fill in point 2 on the delivery notification to indicate the exact content of the goods (it is not valid to indicate that they are gifts, samples, etc.) and their value, which can never be 0.


5. What can I do if I don't have an invoice? What can be submitted instead?
In order to carry out the Customs import declaration, companies must always provide a commercial invoice or a pro forma invoice. Individuals that are unable to justify the value of the goods (receipt of payment, PayPal, etc.) can submit a Sworn Statement of Value along with a bank payment receipt.

6. And if the shipment is sent from one private individual to another, will it involve a payment?
Yes, but import duties for goods in Spain are different if the recipient is a company or a private person. In this case, taxes will be paid whenever the goods have a cost of over €45. Personal effect shipments between private individuals due to changes of residence are exempt, as long as the goods are six months old or older. In the case of doubt, “at the time of inspection, the importer will need to prove the age of the objects”.

7. When do duties need to be paid (customs duties)? Are they paid for all products?

Goods valued at over €150 are subject to import customs duties payment (European Union tax). As a general rule, duties do not need to be paid for goods valued lower than €150, although they may be subject to import VAT and special taxes payment.
Some products are free of duties and others are subject to additional duties; it depends on the country of manufacture and the product. In countries such as China, there is an additional tax for bicycles manufactured in the country.

8. When does VAT need to be paid?
As a general rule, any goods imported to Spain with a value of over €22 are subject to VAT payment (national tax), as long as the import involves an economic transaction; both if the recipient is a company or a private individual.
Private gifts with values of over €45 are also subject to VAT payment and only in the case of used personal effects, following verification by Customs in line with the established procedure, may they be exempt. The general VAT rate for imports in Spain is 21%.
The general VAT rate for product imports in Spain is 21%, but certain products have a reduced VAT rate (10%) and others have a highly reduced rate (4%). It is calculated based on the value of the goods.

9. Why is the Tax ID (NIF) necessary for customs processing?
Customs processing is formalised with the SAD (Single Administrative Document). The SAD is a tax declaration and as such it requires the Tax ID of both the sender and the recipient for identification purposes (Resolution SAD of 27 June 2012 and additional provision six of Law 58/2003, of 17 December, of the General Law).

10. Can I authorise a family member, friend, etc. to formalise the customs processing for me? What documentation does this person need?

If you choose the option of formalising the import procedures personally, you may authorise another person by submitting the “Notification” that we sent you by post, signed by the interested party; National ID (DNI), passport, Foreigner ID (NIE) of the authorised person; photocopy of National ID, Passport, recipient Foreigner ID and the Family Record Book if the recipient is a minor.

11. If the invoice is inside the shipment, can the package be opened?
The Tax Agency is the only body legally authorised to open postal packages. It is important to notify the shipment sender that the invoice and other documents that may be necessary for the import must be stuck on the outside of the shipment. All Postal Operators have special bags for this purpose. If the invoice is inside and you have decided to process the customs import procedure with Correos, you can clearly state that the invoice can be found inside the parcel and that you authorise Correos to open it. You must state this authorisation on the Notification with the details of your shipment, which you will receive by post at your home address and which you should return with your personal information to the address found on it.

12. What is the deadline for carrying out the import procedures for the goods?
The deadline for completing import procedures is indicated in the Notification that we send you by post.