What postal charges apply for gifts valued under € 45 sent by a friend/family from a third country?

From 1st July 2021 new regulations came in to effect, for all parcels from third countries (including the UK), resulting in three potential charging elements:

  1. Postal Service Processing Fee
  2. VAT
  3. Duty

In all cases the postal service processing fee must be paid, which starts at €5 for small value items. We understand that VAT and Duty should not have to be paid if the requirements of Article 1 of Directive 2006/79/EC have been satisfied:

  1. Goods in small consignments of a non-commercial character sent from a third country by private persons to other private persons in a Member State shall be exempt on importation from turnover tax and excise duty.
  2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, ‘small consignments of a non-commercial character’ shall mean consignments which:

(a) are of an occasional nature;
(b) contain only goods intended for the personal or family use of the consignees, the nature and quantity of which do not indicate that they are being imported for any commercial purpose;
(c) contain goods with a total value not exceeding EUR 45;
(d) are sent by the sender to the consignee without payment of any kind.

This Directive has been transposed into Austria law in Article 25a-c of the (UStG 1994; Umsatzsteuergesetz 1994)

To Note:

  1. Proving something is in fact a gift consignment may be difficult and is open to interpretation by both parties.
  2. No such exemption exists for non-gift postal items or where it is from one business to another (B2B) or from a business to a consumer (B2C).
  3. You may also get charged a storage fee if there is a dispute over value
  4. Post from Northern Ireland should be treated like it is coming from the EU (ref Northern Ireland Protocol)


Complaints should be referred to the Austrian Customs Administration, referencing the appropriate Austrian legal text and links. You may need to pay upfront and ask for a refund.
Phone +43 50 233 729
Email zollinfo@bmf.gv.at

Useful Links:

Post.at – Import customs clearance

Post.at – Customs import – changes effective 1 July 2021


BMF – FAQs concerning new e-commerce regulations from 1 July 2021

BMF Internet Shopping

See bottom of page 7 of the European Commission’s – IMPORTATION AND EXPORTATION OF LOW VALUE CONSIGNMENTS – VAT E-COMMERCE PACKAGE “Guidance for Member States and Trade

RTR (Postal Regulator) – https://www.rtr.at/TKP/was_wir_tun/post/postal_services.en.html

Post.at Brexit Guidance

EU Customs Tariff (TARIC) Database

HMRC email updates, videos & webinars about importing and exporting

Legal Basis:

Council Directive 2006/79/EC of 5 October 2006 on the exemption from taxes of imports of small consignments of goods of a non-commercial character from third countries

Umsatzsteuergesetz 1994 (UStG 1994)

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By Michael Bailey

Naturalised Austrian born in SW England, studied in Scotland and living in Austria since 2000.