For small shipments from Chinese e-shops, we pay extra. It will become more expensive from October

Parcels delivered from outside the European Union (EU) with a value of up to EUR 22, i.e., roughly CZK 560, will probably be subject to VAT from October. Typically, these will be small goods from Chinese e-shops, which have not been subject to tax so far. The measure was initially supposed to apply from July. Still, amendments to the VAT and Customs Acts were delayed in the legislative process and, after being returned by the Senate, were only approved by MPs in mid-September.

Once signed by the president, the amendments will take effect the day after publication in the Collection of Laws, which is likely to be 1 October, said Czech Post spokesman Matyáš Vitík.

Recipients of these shipments will now have to file electronic customs declarations. The same obligations apply to shipments between EUR 22 and EUR 150 (CZK 560 and CZK 3 800). These shipments are usually represented in customs proceedings by a postal operator. The Customs Administration will now allow citizens to discuss the ordered goods themselves in the customs procedure.

“As a postal operator transports 99 percent of all shipments ordered outside the EU, the Customs Administration has created the eCeP application, which will now allow people to submit customs declarations for shipments transported by the Czech Post up to the value of EUR 150 (CZK 3,800),” Vitík said.

He added that shipments like gifts and are sent occasionally between individuals are still exempt from VAT. Their value must not exceed EUR 45 (roughly CZK 1,200). “However, even for these shipments, it will be necessary to submit an electronic customs declaration,” Vitík said.

The EU measure aims to bring in up to seven billion euros (182 billion crowns) in VAT collections while also straightening the business environment. Domestic and EU firms have to pay VAT if they are subject to it. The standard responds to new EU rules on cross-border e-commerce.

More than 150 million small VAT-exempt shipments arrive in the EU from Chinese e-shops each year. According to data from the Czech Post, these small shipments in the Czech Republic are increasing. In 2019, there were 28 million, up from 25 million a year earlier.