responsibility finder
Schleswig-Holstein

Importing goods from EU countries to Germany

Source: Zuständigkeitsfinder Schleswig-Holstein (Linie6PLus)

Service Description

You can bring goods from any EU country to Germany. However, there are standard quantities for certain goods.

If you are entering or returning to Germany from a member state of the European Union (EU), you can bring the goods you have purchased there tax-free and without customs formalities. However, for certain goods subject to excise duty, such as coffee, alcohol or tobacco products, reference quantities apply up to which use for private purposes is generally assumed.

The reference quantities for tax-free importation from other EU member states for private purposes are

  • for tobacco products

    • Cigarettes: 800 units
    • Cigarillos: 400 pieces
    • Cigars: 200 pieces
    • Smoking tobacco: 1 kilogram
  • for alcoholic beverages

    • Alcohol for drinking purposes (such as brandy, whisky, rum, vodka): 10 liters
    • Sweet drinks containing alcohol (alcopops): 10 liters
    • Intermediate products (such as sherry, port wine and Marsala): 20 liters
    • Sparkling wine: 60 liters
    • Beer: 110 liters
  • for coffee

    • Coffee: 10 kilograms
    • goods containing coffee: 10 kilograms
  • for fuels

    • for vehicles, special containers, work machines and equipment as well as refrigeration and air conditioning systems: the quantity in the main container and up to 20 liters in reserve containers of a vehicle.

These guide quantities may be used cumulatively. This means, for example, that you may bring several types of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages at the same time, up to the respective specified reference quantity for your own consumption.

Exceeding the reference quantities - commercial transportation

If the goods you are carrying exceed the reference quantities, a commercial purpose is assumed by law - irrespective of the other criteria. You can dispel this presumption by proving that you personally use the goods you have brought for private purposes. In doing so, you must demonstrate that you meet the requirements for tax exemption.

Otherwise, the goods are deemed to have been brought for commercial purposes. This means that you will have to pay excise duty on the goods you bring with you. If you cannot disprove that you are bringing the goods for commercial purposes, customs will seize the goods you have brought with you. In this case, you must declare the goods you have brought with you immediately and pay the excise duty.

If you are unsure whether the goods you have brought with you exceed the standard quantities, please contact customs directly.

Territories with special customs or tax regulations

The following territories are part of the national territory but not part of the customs and tax territory of the EU. Imports from these territories are subject to the regulations for entry from non-EU member states. Goods from these territories are therefore only duty-free if they do not exceed the travel allowances for goods from non-EU countries. Customs duties, import sales tax and possibly excise duties are levied if the travel-free quantities are exceeded:

  • Heligoland and Büsingen,
  • Faroe Islands and Greenland,
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Saint-Barthélemy,
  • Livigno,
  • Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten,
  • Ceuta and Melilla,
  • Gibraltar and
  • the northern (Turkish) part of the Republic of Cyprus in which the Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise effective control.

Territories with special tax arrangements

The following territories belong to the customs territory but not to the tax territory of the EU. The regulations for entry from non-EU member states apply. If you do not meet the requirements for tax-free entry for private purposes, you will have to pay import turnover tax and possibly excise duty:

  • Canary Islands (excise duty and import VAT),
  • British Channel Islands (excise duty and import VAT),
  • French overseas departments (Martinique, Mayotte, Guadeloupe, Réunion, Saint-Martin and French Guiana) (excise duty and import VAT),
  • Åland Islands (excise duty and import VAT),
  • Mount Athos in Greece (excise duty and import VAT) and
  • Campione d'Italia (Italy) and the Italian part of Lake Lugano between Ponte Tresa and Porto Ceresoi (import VAT).

Process flow

If you are below the reference quantities and meet the other requirements, you can continue your journey as normal.

If you exceed the reference quantities and cannot disprove commercial use, you must declare the goods you are bringing with you immediately after crossing the border:

  • You can obtain the form required for the declaration from the main customs office responsible for your place of residence. Alternatively, you can also download the form from the Internet.
  • Send the completed form to the main customs office responsible for your place of residence immediately, at the latest upon arrival at your destination.
  • The main customs office will check your application.
  • It may ask you to correct your details.
  • At the end of the examination, the main customs office will issue a tax assessment with the amount of excise duty that you must pay.
  • Special case: If you are not resident in the tax territory in Germany, declare the goods immediately to the main customs office responsible for the place where you crossed the border. You will then also pay the corresponding excise duty there.

If you exceed the standard quantities and/or do not meet the requirements for a tax-free border crossing and conceal this when crossing the border during an inspection, you are committing tax evasion. This is also the case if you provide false or incomplete information about your goods during an inspection. This also applies to the information in the declaration. In this case, you may be subject to criminal proceedings.

Requirements

The requirements for a tax-free transfer from other EU Member States for private purposes are:

  • You are personally carrying the goods in question.
  • The goods are intended for your own use (personal use).
  • The goods are not intended for commercial purposes.
  • You have acquired the goods in free circulation for tax purposes in another EU Member State. This means that the goods have already been taxed in the EU member state concerned because you bought them in the usual way, for example in a supermarket.
  • The goods do not violate any prohibitions or restrictions.
  • The goods are not brought from a special territory under customs or tax law.
Which documents are required?

none

What are the fees?

none

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

none

Processing duration
  • several minutes, sometimes even more than an hour
Legal basis
Applications / forms
What else should I know?

none

Author
Forwarding service: Deep link to the original portal

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Technically approved by

Federal Ministry of Finance

Professionally released on

12.02.2020

Teaser

You can bring goods from any EU country to Germany. However, there are standard quantities for certain goods.

Process flow

If you are below the reference quantities and meet the other requirements, you can continue your journey as normal.

If you exceed the reference quantities and cannot disprove commercial use, you must declare the goods you are bringing with you immediately after crossing the border:

  • You can obtain the form required for the declaration from the main customs office responsible for your place of residence. Alternatively, you can also download the form from the Internet.
  • Send the completed form to the main customs office responsible for your place of residence immediately, at the latest upon arrival at your destination.
  • The main customs office will check your application.
  • It may ask you to correct your details.
  • At the end of the examination, the main customs office will issue a tax assessment with the amount of excise duty that you must pay.
  • Special case: If you are not resident in the tax territory in Germany, declare the goods immediately to the main customs office responsible for the place where you crossed the border. You will then also pay the corresponding excise duty there.

If you exceed the standard quantities and/or do not meet the requirements for a tax-free border crossing and conceal this when crossing the border during an inspection, you are committing tax evasion. This is also the case if you provide false or incomplete information about your goods during an inspection. This also applies to the information in the declaration. In this case, you may be subject to criminal proceedings.

Requirements

The requirements for a tax-free transfer from other EU Member States for private purposes are:

  • You are personally carrying the goods in question.
  • The goods are intended for your own use (personal use).
  • The goods are not intended for commercial purposes.
  • You have acquired the goods in free circulation for tax purposes in another EU Member State. This means that the goods have already been taxed in the EU member state concerned because you bought them in the usual way, for example in a supermarket.
  • The goods do not violate any prohibitions or restrictions.
  • The goods are not brought from a special territory under customs or tax law.

Which documents are required?

none

What are the fees?

none

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

none

Processing duration

  • several minutes, sometimes even more than an hour

Legal basis

Applications / forms

What else should I know?

none

Author

Forwarding service: Deep link to the original portal

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Technically approved by

Federal Ministry of Finance

Professionally released on

12.02.2020

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