Jan 31, 2012

Customs Waiver On Goods Finally In Effect

It has been nearly two months since the Israeli government approved a decision to waive import duties on purchases of a great variety of products made over the Internet up to a value of 1200 NIS.

It seems the decision was passed but was never actually signed into effect. Until yesterday that is. Kef International, one of the major shipping companies, posted recently on their email list newsletter that despite having passed the approval, many people had suffered by ordering things based on the news announcement but in actuality the customs officials have still been charging the duties, because the Finance Minister had not signed the official order.

According to Ynet, yesterday Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz finally signed the order and put the new regulation into effect.

Personally I still would not test it until I see the customs officials actually letting such goods through duty free. Though I also just found the original press release put out by the tax authorities yesterday making the announcement. So it seems pretty safe.

For a few additional details, this is how it works. The waiver of duties applies only on such goods delivered by mail - it does NOT include carrying items in your suitcase when travelling or any other such method. In addition to the waiver of duties on goods up until 1200 NIS, there is an additional waiver of the purchase tax  on some goods with a value of up to $75 (the bar was previously set at $50). As well, you should know that the price of shipping is included when considering the value of the goods.

I am still looking for the full list of goods the waiver applies to. According to Ynet, the tax authorities had posted the full list when the waiver was being considered. I have yet to find it.

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