Low-value consignment relief

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When goods are imported into a European Union country from a non-EU territory, goods may be subject to customs duty, excise duty and value-added tax.

Value-added tax is an EU tax adopted by the member states of the European Union. However as a result of the action of an EU administrative VAT relief an exception is an option allowed on shipments to the member state of a low value. This administrative relief is known as Low Value Consignment Relief or LVCR and it is governed by the EU Council Directive 2009/132/EC.[1][2][3]

It is an optional VAT relief designed to speed up the transit of low value goods through the mail which might otherwise be delayed by customs and also reduce the cost of tax collection where it might not be practicable.[citation needed] Member states, if they decide to allow this relief, can set it between €10 and €22, but must ensure that it is applied in a way that does not cause competitive distortion or allow VAT abuse. The UK currently sets the limit to £15 for commercial goods.[4]

An example was found in the LVCR allowed by the UK on shipments originating from the Channel Islands. The UK domestic VAT went uncharged and this allowed internet order fulfillment centres to spring up on the Channel Islands for packages under £18 (€22). In 2011 the UK Treasury announced that from 1 April 2012, LVCR will no longer apply to goods imported from the Channel Islands.[5] It was announced on 4 October 2012 that Condor Logistics would close its operations with the loss of about 180 jobs (110 in the UK, 50 in Jersey and 20 in Guernsey). The move was blamed on changes to LVCR affecting the Channel Islands.[6] In August 2013, Huelin-Renouf, which had operated a "lift-on lift-off" container service for 80 years between the Port of Southampton and the Port of Jersey, ceased trading,[7] although the business was later taken up by a market entrant, Channel Island Lines.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Council Directive 2009/132/EC of 19 October 2009 determining the scope of Article 143(b) and (c) of Directive 2006/112/EC as regards exemption from value added tax on the final importation of certain goods
  2. ^ United Kingdom: VAT on Postal Packages, House of Commons Library, 2013, SN 4155
  3. ^ Ireland: Relief from Customs Duty and VAT on gift consignments and consignments of negligible value imported from outside the European Union (EU) PN 1179
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "VAT free loophole to be closed by UK Treasury". BBC News. 8 November 2011.
  6. ^ Condorgroup: "Following loss of LVCR, Condor Group to close logistics business" also webcite backup of same
  7. ^ bbc.co.uk: "Shipping company Huelin-Renouf stops trading" 20 Aug 2013