Personal Importation by Parcel Post

 

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Guide for Personal Importation by Parcel Post/Courier Service

 
General

​Any person in Israel may import goods for their personal use by post or a courier service, subject to the following conditions:

• The goods are not prohibited for import to Israel – click HERE for the List of Goods Prohibited 
  for Import to Israel.

• In case an import permit/license is required – an application must be submitted to the 
  competent  authority (see details later on in the Guide).

 
Definitions

​"Personal import" – The import of goods in a reasonable quantity for personal use or as use as 
 a gift.

"Import taxes" – Customs duties, purchase tax and VAT payable on goods.

 
The Importer's responsibility for declaring the contents of the parcel

​1. According to Section 39(b) of the Customs Ordinance, which deals with import by post, a 
    discrepancy between the actual goods and their description on the import declaration/parcel 
    label , constitutes sufficient grounds for seizing the goods, even if the false declaration was 
    made without the consignee's knowledge.

2. In case of a false declaration, the ITA may confiscate the goods or impose a penalty on the 
    importer (the person who ordered the parcel) at twice the amount of the import taxes due on 
    the goods, in addition to payment of the import taxes, as a condition for releasing the goods.

3. It should be emphasized that the person who ordered the parcel is responsible for the
    contents of the declaration to the customs authorities. Therefore, it is recommended, 
    especially for a person who orders goods online, to verify with the supplier that the declaration 
    on the parcel matches the goods inside and that the details provided regarding the purchase 
    transaction, including the price of the goods, are accurate.

 
 
Calculation of the tax

The tax due on the goods is determined based solely on their value. . However, in case that tax is payable, it will be calculated based on the value of the goods plus the shipping and insurance fees.

For example:

A consignment of clothing valued 65$ with a shipping fees of 20$, i.e. a total value of 85$, will nevertheless be exempt from taxes.
In contrast, a consignment of clothing valued 85$ with free shipping will be subject to VAT at the rate of 17%.

 

Table of Tax Rates

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE TABLE OF TAX RATES/Tariff

 
Import of a consignment of goods with a total value of up to $75

A consignment of goods with a total value of up to $75 is exempt from import taxes.
The exemption does not apply to tobacco products, alcohol and alcoholic beverages.
Total value of up to $75 – excluding shipping and insurance, where they are calculated separately from the value of the goods.

For example:
A consignment of clothing valued $65 and shipping fees of $20, i.e. a total value of $85, will nevertheless be exempt from taxes.

Please note:
Two packages or more that are sent from the same supplier to the same customer within up to 72 hours will be considered a single consignment that was split, and import taxes will be calculated based on the aggregate value of all the goods.

 
Import of a consignment of goods with a total value of $75 to $500

​A consignment of goods with a total value of $75 to $500 is exempt from customs duties only and subject to payment of VAT and purchase tax, if applicable (purchase tax is levied, for example, on televisions and cell phones).

The exemption from customs duties does not apply to tobacco products, alcohol and alcoholic beverages.

Total value of $75 to $500 – excluding shipping and insurance, where they are calculated separately from the value of the goods.

Motor vehicle spare parts within this price range are subject to an inclusive, uniform tax rate of 39.5%, excluding the following items which are liable to VAT:

 

1) Headlamps
2) Windshield wipers and their parts
3) Tires
4) Baby/child safety chair installed in a vehicle and chair base
5) Airbags
6) Composite brake discs, brake drums and brake pads
7) ABS systems
8) Reverse sensors
9) Tire valves

 

The applicable tax is calculated based on the value of the goods in the parcel plus shipping and insurance fees, if any/applicable.

 

For example:
Shoes worth $480 with a shipping and insurance cost of $40 will still be subject only to 17% VAT (as the price of the shoes alone does not exceed $500), but this rate will apply to the total value of the goods plus the fees, i.e. $520.

 

Please note:

Two packages or more sent from the same supplier to the same customer within up to 72 hours will be considered a single consignment that was split, and import taxes will be calculated based on the aggregate value of all the goods/this consignment.

For your convenience, the taxes on frequent personal imports were factored into final, inclusive percentages listed in the Table of Tax Rates in the link below, which is updated weekly. When using the table, refer to the relevant product on the left-hand column and check the applicable tax rate on the price-range column that includes the value of the product. please note that the table is published for convenience and clarification only and is not binding. The binding tax rate is the one prescribed in the Customs Tariff Order.

 

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE TABLE OF TAX RATES

 
Import of a consignment of goods with a total value of $500 to $1,000

A consignment of goods with a total value of $500 to $1,000 is subject to VAT, as well as customs duties and purchase tax (if applicable) as prescribed in the Customs Tariff Order.
The tax is calculated based on the value of the parcel plus shipping and insurance fees (if any).
For example:

 

Shoes worth 600$ will be subject to tax at a total rate of 31%.
For your convenience, the taxes on frequent personal imports were factored into final, inclusive percentages listed in the Table of Tax Rates in the link below, which is updated weekly. When using the table, refer to the relevant product on the left-hand column and check the applicable tax rate on the price-range column that includes the value of the product.

 

Please note  that the table is published for convenience and clarification only and is not binding. The binding tax rate is the one prescribed in the Customs Tariff Order.

 

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE TABLE OF TAX RATES

 
Import of a consignment of goods with a value above $1,000

A consignment of goods with a total value above $1,000 or a consignment of tobacco, cigarettes, alcohol or alcoholic beverages is subject to VAT, as well as customs duties and purchase tax (if applicable) at the rate paid by a commercial importer.
Click HERE to access the Customs and Purchase Tax Tariff.

The tax is calculated based on the value of the parcel plus shipping and insurance fees (if any).
For your convenience, the taxes on frequent personal imports were factored into final, inclusive percentages listed in the Table of Tax Rates in the link below, which is updated weekly. When using the table, refer to the relevant product on the left-hand column and check the applicable tax rate on the price-range column that includes the value of the product. Please note that the table is published for convenience and clarification only and is not binding. The binding tax rate is the one prescribed in the Customs Tariff Order.

 

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE TABLE OF TAX RATES

 
 
Gifts and used items

Items sent as a gift without payment of a monetary consideration by the addressee, as well as used items, are subject to tax at the rates specified above, based on the value of the consignment as specified/stated in the invoice plus additional costs.

 

To avoid doubt, the customs authorities may check the declared value of an item and in certain cases reject it and set an alternative value as prescribed in Part 2.5 of the Assessment of Personal Imports Procedure.

 
 
Payment of the Applicable Taxes

​1. Parcels sent by regular mail are delivered at the nearest post office to the addressee's 
    residence, according to the address on the parcel, together with instructions for the payment 
    of import taxes (if any) due. The taxes are paid at the post office upon receipt of the parcel.

 

2. Parcels sent by express mail (EMS) or by courier are released from customs by the customs 
    broker of the Israel Postal Company or by the customs broker of the courier service through 
    which the parcel was sent, which pays the import taxes on the importer's behalf. Upon delivery
    of the parcel at the customer's home, the tax is collected by the messenger.

 

3. The Israel Postal Company and the courier services usually charge a fee for this service, in
    addition to the forwarding cost. Any objections, appeals or clarifications with respect to the
    fees charged by the Israel Postal Company or the courier service should be addressed 
    directly to the customer service department of the forwarding company.

 

4. In exceptional cases, the addressee will be required to come to the customs house and
    release the goods personally – for example, where the importer must complete details on the 
    imported goods.

 
Examination of parcels without the addressee being present

​According to  the Customs Ordinance and the Postal Law, 5746-1986, a customs officer is permitted to open and examine packages/parcels and assess the goods, even without the addressee's presence. Responsibility for the integrity of the package/parcel is borne by the Israel Postal Company – therefore, if any damage is caused to the package, application should be made to the Postal Ombudsman.

 

The foregoing also applies to sending goods through a courier service, in which case the examination will be made/done in the presence of the importer, his representative or a representative of the courier service.

 

It should be noted that if a package/parcel is suspected of containing perishable goods, goods prohibited for import or hazardous goods, the customs officer is permitted to examine the package/ parcel without such persons being present.

 
Tax disputes

Shipment by the Israel Postal Company

A request for clarification regarding a demand per se to pay import taxes or regarding the amount of tax due can be submitted to the postal branch or agency prior to the release of the parcel from the post office and payment of the tax. The request for clarification can be submitted at the post office where the parcel is being held (on a special form of the Israel Postal Company) or sent to the Parcel Post Customs Unit, noting all the details of the parcel. The person submitting the appeal may include a request to be present during the examination of the parcel in the course of the clarification.
Click HERE for the Request Form to Clarify a Customs Payment Demand.

 

Shipment by courier service

An appeal may be submitted only after the person who ordered the parcel has paid the import taxes to the forwarding company and upon presentation of a payment invoice. The clarification will be conducted with the Claims, Deposits and Deficits Unit at the Ben Gurion Airport Customs House, telephone 03-9751171/72.
The clarification will be done in writing, by fax (not by telephone), via fax number 03-9751183.

 
 
Items whose import is prohibited or subject to a permit from the competent authority

​Certain items are absolutely prohibited for import.
Click HERE for the List of Goods Prohibited for Import.

There are other items whose import is subject to compliance with criteria which are determined from time to time by the competent authorities. In certain cases, an individual import permit/license is required as well. Hence, it is recommended, before importing any item, to check with the relevant competent authority the applicable criteria as well as the need to obtain an import permit/license.

Following is a list of the competent authorities for frequently imported items:

 

​Products

​Competent

Authority

​Address Phone ​Fax
​Communications products, baby monitors, smart phones (for imports of four devices and up), remote control, etc. ​Ministry of Communications ​Shalom Tower, 9th floor, 9 Ahad Ha'am St., Tel Aviv ​03-5198154 ​03-5107587
​Plants, seeds, etc. ​Ministry of Agriculture, Plant Protection Service ​Beit Dagan, public received on Wednesday, 8:30am-3:30pm ​03-9681587 ​03-9681599
​Motor vehicle spare parts ​Ministry of Transport ​3 Bank Yisrael St., Generi Bldg., P.O.B. 867, Jerusalem 91008 ​03-5657117 ​03-5618260
​Food products and food supplements ​Ministry of Health, Food Service ​12 Ha'arba'a St., Tel Aviv 64739 ​03-6241010 ​02-5655972
​Helmets, gas-operated grill ​Standards Institution of Israel ​42 Haim Levanon St., Tel Aviv 69987 ​03-6465164
 

 

Further information on items whose import is subject to a permit can be obtained from the Ministry of Economy, through its website  or through the Customer Service Department, telephone *2990.

 
Benefit for Lone Soldiers/Lone Officers

​Under an arrangement with the Ministry of Defense, an IDF soldier/officer who is recognized as a lone soldier in compulsory service pursuant to the Defense Army of Israel Ordinance may release from customs, once in each calendar year, a parcel from abroad that is sent in his name and intended for his personal use, at a tax discount equivalent to $30 of the total amount of import taxes payable on the parcel.

 

This amount will be covered by the Ministry of Defense.

 

To realize his /eligibility the soldier must apply to the welfare personnel in his unit in order to receive a "Discount on Tax Payment – Release of Packages for Lone Soldiers in the IDF" form ("the Application Form") and have it signed by the unit's welfare officer.

 

Depending on the circumstances, realization of the /eligibility will be done according to the following procedure:

 

1. To receive the tax discount before payment of the taxes, an application should be made to the 
    Parcel Post Customs Unit (in Eilat, Haifa, Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, as relevant), in an appeal 
    form of the Israel Postal Company or in a written letter, setting out all the details of the parcel 
    and attaching the required documents (parcel number, photocopy of soldier's ID and the 
    Application Form).

    Following an examination and confirmation of the eligibility by a customs officer, an updated, 
    reduced tax bill will be sent to the relevant post office with a copy to the soldier.

    Once the tax reduction has been approved, the parcel will be released subject to payment of 
    the balance of tax (if any) at the post office.

 

2. If the full amount of taxes due was paid and the parcel was delivered to the soldier, the 
    eligibility can be realized retroactively. To receive a tax refund, the entitled soldier should 
    submit an application to the relevant Parcel Post Customs Unit, attaching the required
    documents (parcel number, photocopy of soldier's ID and the Application Form) as well as a 
    photocopy of the tax payment receipt and a photocopy of a check or other document
    containing details of his bank account. The tax refund will be credited directly to the bank 
    account whose details were provided by the soldier.

 

This provision comes into effect on January 1, 2016 and will replace any previous provision in this regard.

 
Benefits for returning residents/returning students

A complete list of benefits for returning residents/returning students can be found in the following links:

• Guide for Returning Residents/Returning Students

• Information on Additional Rights of a Returning Resident

 
 
Return of imported items or replacement of goods returned abroad

​If a person who imported goods and paid the full amount of taxes on them discovers that the goods were defective already prior to their importation or that they do not conform to the order, he may return them to the supplier and thereafter submit an application for a tax refund to the Claims, Deposits and Deficits Unit at the customs house from which the goods were released, provided he complies with the following conditions:

 

1. It is proven that no use was made of the goods other than the use that resulted in discovery of
    the defect or the nonconformity and that such use was necessary for revealing the 
    defect/nonconformity.

 

2. The goods were exported no later than six months after their importation, and such export is
    proven.

 

3. It is proven that the imported goods are identical to the exported goods.

 

4. If the value of the goods exceeds $200, an export declaration must be issued at the time of the
    export of the goods, through the Parcel Post Customs Unit or through a customs broker, 
    stating that the goods in question comprise a returned import. In addition, Customs Form 87
    must be completed and the rules prescribed with respect to that form and published on the
    ITA's website must be followed. In the absence of such export declaration, including the
    submission of Customs Form 87 as required, no tax refund will be allowed.
 

 
Goods returned to Israel after repair

1. Goods on which the full amount of taxes was paid at the time of their import, and which 
    subsequently were exported abroad for repair and repaired by the supplier during the  
    warranty period without any charge, will be exempt from payment of import taxes, subject to 
    compliance with the following conditions:

 

• Goods with a value above $200 – It is obligatory, before exporting the goods, to complete an 
  export declaration (Customs Form 9) at the Parcel Post Customs Unit and have it signed by the 
  customs officer. Said form must be presented to the customs officer upon the return of the 
  goods to Israel.

• Goods with a value of up to $200 – Upon the return of the goods to Israel, one or more of the 
  following documents must be presented in lieu of an export declaration: correspondence with 
  the supplier, purchase invoice, import declaration, etc.
  To avoid doubt, in addition to the foregoing it is necessary to prove compliance with all the 
  other conditions under Item 810 of the Customs Tariff Order, including proof that import taxes 
  were fully paid on the goods at the time of their importation and prior to their export for repair.

2. Where goods as stated were exported abroad for repair, and a consideration was paid for the 
    repair performed abroad, import taxes will be levied only on the cost of the repair.

3. Where goods as stated were exported and replaced with new goods, the full amount of import
    taxes will be levied on the new goods, even if the replacement was made during the warranty 
    period.

 
 
Goods returned to Israel without undergoing any process abroad

Goods on which the full amount of taxes was paid, and which subsequently were exported abroad and then returned to Israel without undergoing any modification or repair or other process, will be exempt from payment of import taxes, subject to compliance with the following conditions:

• Goods with a value above $200 – It is obligatory, before exporting the goods, to complete an 
  export declaration (Customs Form 9) at the Parcel Post Customs Unit and have it signed by the 
  customs officer. Said form must be presented to the customs officer upon the return of the 
  goods to Israel.

• Goods with a value of up to $200 – Upon the return of the goods to Israel, one or more of the 
  following documents must be presented in lieu of an export declaration: correspondence with 
  the foreign addressee, purchase invoice, import declaration, etc.
  To avoid doubt, in addition to the foregoing it is necessary to prove compliance with all the other
  conditions under Item 810 of the Customs Tariff Order, including proof that import taxes were
  fully paid on the goods prior to their export.

 
 
Contact details of customs houses
Tel Aviv
137 Hahagana Rd., Yad Eliyahu, Tel Aviv
Phone: 03-9421730
Fax: 03-9421733
 
Jerusalem
Shatner Center, Givat Shaul Bet, Jerusalem 91999
Phone: 02-6526193
Fax: 02-6511589
 
Haifa
19 Pal-Yam Ave., Shikmona, P.O.B. 245, Haifa 31999
Phone: 04-8664130
Fax: 02-6669803
 
Eilat
Central Post Office, Kenyon Ha'adom Shopping Center, Eilat 83100
Phone: 08-6326476
Fax: 08-8669702