Frequent questions: Customs clearance
Information for recipients of consignments from third countries:
If you expect an EMS consignment, you can make its delivery faster by using our Electronic Delivery Service (Electronic Delivery Service Application Form (doc, 56kB).
If you have not applied for our Electronic Delivery Service, the Post Office of Exchange will send you a registered letter with a Notice.
Until now customs duty on mail was assessed by the customs administration, without clearance agent's submission. The procedure contradicted the current EC legislation (Customs Code) and has therefore been replaced by the current one, which complies with valid legislation, in force from April 1st, 2011.
This basically means that the Czech Post will represent the addressee (on basis of an authorisation issued by the addressee) before the customs administration and agree on the conditions of importing the mail. Duty-free consignments (see below) will be released into free circulation regime without payment of customs duty and VAT and delivered to the addressee. Consignments other than those released into free circulation without duty and VAT will be assessed for duty/VAT. The assessed duty/VAT will be paid by the Czech Post on behalf of the addressee and collected from the addressee on delivery of the consignment, together with a fee for clearance agent's services.
2. Are clearance agent’s services available to citizens (individuals who are not entrepreneurs) only, or also to legal entities?
These services are currently available to individuals as well as legal entities that import goods from third countries in postal consignments (goods of non-commercial or commercial character).
Legal entities importing commercial goods can sign an agency agreement and pay by bank transfer or direct debit.
3. Why should the addressee of an international consignment pay further fees related to customs clearance?
In connection with the provision of clearance agent's services the Czech Post faces costs that are not negligible and that are new, as most of the relating processes used to be performed by the customs administration. As a business entity, the Czech Post needs to compensate these costs with at least partial revenues. This is why it charges a fee for its clearance agent's services, which is to be paid by the end customer - addressee.
Supranational companies may charge a fee for these services already on posting, as part of a different pricelist structure. In such case it is good to compare the total price charged by other carriers with the total price charged by public postal operators (Czech Post) involved in the process of posting, transportation and delivery of the consignment.
Consignments containing goods imported for personal use from countries outside the EU whose value does not exceed EUR 22 and are accompanied with complete and correct documentation may be released for further delivery. Such consignments are not subject to duty and VAT and no fee for clearance agent's services will be charged.
Consignments worth EUR 22-150 are duty-free, and the customer/addressee will have to pay only the assessed VAT (20%) and the fee for the Czech Post's services.
6. The customer/addressee has to authorise the Czech Post to act as his/her clearance agent before delivery of the consignment. Does the customer/addressee have to sign the authorisation form again before further imports?
The authorisation is valid until revoked, i.e. it applies also to further imports. The Czech Post keeps a record of each customer's authorisation. New authorisation is not required for further imports.
Starting from April 1st, 2011, customers who wish to be represented by the Czech Post as their clearance agent have to provide the Czech Post with their personal data. The customer has to sign an authorisation form to certify that the Czech Post has been granted the power to represent the customer. The authorisation is valid until revoked, i.e. also for further imports on behalf of the same customer. The personal data includes the name, surname and address of the customer; no other details will be required in connection with the authorisation.
These personal details will be used only to check whether the customer has already issued an authorisation. The rights of customers who have provided the Czech Post with their personal data for this purpose are defined by sections 11 and 21 of the Personal Data Protection Act; in particular, they include the right to access the provided details and ask for correction of incorrect details.
If you have any requests or queries concerning personal data, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a letter to our Customs Declaration Department at:
Česká pošta, s. p.
pošta Praha 120
odd. celní deklarace
220 00 PRAHA 5.
Personal data will be administered by the Czech Post in strict compliance with the law. Only designated persons (in this case, individual clearance agents) will have access to the provided details, which may be used solely for the purpose for which they have been provided (i.e. check for an already granted authorisation).
8. What will be the costs incurred by addressees who refuse to accept a consignment with assessed duty?
The addressee is not obliged to receive/accept such consignment, which will then be returned back to the sender at Czech Post's cost or will be disposed of according to the sender's instructions. The addressee will, of course, not pay anything for such undelivered consignment.
The value of the consignment is not set by the Czech Post. The value of goods contained in the consignment is to be proved by the recipient - addressee of the consignment. This is the so-called customs value of goods, consisting of the price paid for the goods plus the fee for carriage. Consignments whose value cannot be ascertained or whose declared value is clearly too low will have their real value set by customs officials during clearance procedure (which includes setting or challenging of the customs value using methods defined by law).
10. How does the reduction of duty-free limit to mere EUR 22 relate to the introduction of Czech Post's clearance agent services?
Starting from April 1st, 2011, the amended VAT Act cuts the duty-free limit for consignments imported from countries outside the EU.
Until March 31st, 2011, consignments worth up to EUR 150 were subject to relief from import duty and VAT. The current limit for VAT assessment is EUR 22 while it remains EUR 150 for import duty.
The change of tax-free limit does not relate to the introduction of Czech Post's clearance agent services; it is a coincidence that both come in force on the same day, April 1st, 2011.
11. Why are gifts sent from third countries subject to customs clearance and assessment of customs duty/VAT?
Every consignment from a third country is under customs control; as such it has to pass through customs clearance regardless of whether it is sent between private individuals (as a gift) or as goods bought online by a private individual for their use or as commercial goods. The purpose of customs clearance is to release the goods into free circulation and assess customs fees. During the procedure customs officials examine whether or not the goods contained in the consignment can be released free of duty/VAT.
Only consignments between private individuals worth up to EUR 45, which are free of duty/VAT, will qualify as a “gift”. No duty/VAT will be assessed for such consignments. The amount of EUR 45 will be deducted from the overall value of consignments worth more than EUR 45 in accordance with valid legislative requirements. This means that only the resulting value plus the transportation cost will be included in the calculation of the duty/VAT.
12. What will be included in the customs value or the base for VAT calculation when the goods are released into free circulation by customs officials?
The following items will be included in the customs value of the imported goods (i.e. the base for calculation of the customs duty):
- value of the goods,
- international transportation cost,
- insurance, if any, etc.
The following items will be included in the VAT base:
- value of the goods,
- customs duty, if any,
- transportation cost (transportation within the EU), if it is not included in the customs duty (customs value),
- customs declaration services - CZK 192, if Czech Post acts as your clearance agent and the consignment is subject to duty/VAT.
13. Does the postage include fees for customs clearance? What does the postage include?
The postage does not include fees for customs clearance or any fee for presentation of the goods to the customs on importation from third countries.
The postage includes the cost of transportation of the consignment from the sender’s location to the destination place, to the address given on the consignment, and handover to the addressee, as well as the charges for other optional postal services. The manner of transportation and handover of the consignment directly depends on the selected type of service. If you select the cheapest consignment type OLZ (ordinary letter), you will not be able to insure it or use the Track&Track web application; the consignment can be dropped into the addressee’s letter box (in the absence of any due charges). The most expensive consignment type EMS (express mail) can be tracked throughout the entire delivery process, will always enjoy priority, and will be signed for on delivery.
14. How long does a refund take if an incorrect amount of duty/VAT has been assessed? Are there any deadlines set for the processing time of a refund of VAT?
- In case of doubt concerning the amount of the assessed duty/VAT the customer may file a COMPLAINT with any post office or directly with the Customs Declaration Department or the relevant customs office.
- The refund will depend on the outcome of the tax proceeding conducted by the customs officials in accordance with the Rules of Tax Procedure. The officials will first decide about whether the assessed amount of duty/VAT has really been incorrect. If the assessed amount is found to be incorrect, they will issue a first Decision to correct the initial incorrect assessment, followed by a second Decision on refunding of the amount.
- The Rules of Tax Procedure set no deadlines for processing of complaints filed. Such deadlines are set by the Finance Minister in an internal guideline. According to the guideline, deadlines for complaint processing can be three to six months, especially where an initial Decision is corrected after an appeal, in a renewed proceeding, etc.
15. Where can customers find more information on clearance of consignments carried by the Czech Post?
If the information above has failed to answer your questions, please call our Call Centre at 840 111 244.