Duty waiver

EU and UK customs duty and tax waivers for Coronavirus equipment

Existing EU legislation is available to waive customs duties and taxes to help disaster victims. It is now applied in the fight against Coronavirus in the EU.

Coronavirus supplies: Basis for duty and tax waivers 

In this current time of crisis, it is of vital importance for medical equipment and devices to get delivered quickly to where they are needed. 

The EU already has existing regulation in place that can enable duty relief for the “benefit of disaster victims”. It can be applied to imports by state organizations or approved charitable or philanthropic organisations. An EU Commission decision is required to grant such a customs duty relief, which is based on the relevant request of the concerned member state. A similar regulation is available for EU VAT law with reference to VAT exemption on the final importation of certain goods. 

  • These EU legislations are available to help victims of disasters – and they can be used in the current Coronavirus health crisis. 

(Source: Council Regulation (EU) No 1186/2009 and Council Directive 2009/132/EU) 

EU April decision: Waivers for Coronavirus supplies

On March 20, 2020, the EU Commission invited all its members states (and the UK) to submit a request for waiving customs duties and VAT on imports of protective and other medical equipment from third countries. All EU member states as well as the UK have submitted their requests. 

On April 3, 2020, the EU approved these requests to temporarily waive customs duties and VAT on the import of relevant equipment from applicable countries. This will make it easier financially to get the medical equipment that doctors, nurses and patients desperately need to fight Coronavirus. 

  • This EU decision applies retroactively from January 30, 2020 until July 31, 2020
  • It includes masks and protective equipment, testing kits, ventilators and other medical equipment
  • It will apply for a period of 6 months, with a possibility for further extension

The duty- and VAT-free importation of defined materials to fight Coronavirus applies to:

  1. State organisations such as state bodies, public bodies, and other bodies governed by public law. This includes hospitals, governmental organizations, communes/towns, regional governments, etc.
  2. Charitable or philanthropic organizations that are approved by the competent authorities of the respective member state

The original EU Commission press release can be found here