Russia may impose tax on all overseas online purchases

Russia may impose tax on all overseas online purchases
Photo: RIA Novosti / Alexander Kryazhev

Now Russia allows duty-free importation of parcels from foreign online stores worth up to a thousand euros and weighing 31 kilograms per month.

The Federal Customs Service (FTS) sent a comprehensive proposal to the Ministry of Finance to improve cross-border Internet trade. One of the points is the imposition of a duty on purchases of any value in foreign online stores; two federal officials told the Vedomosti newspaper.

Now Russia allows duty-free importation of parcels from foreign online stores worth up to 1.000 euros and weighing 31 kilograms per month. If exceeded, a single rate of the customs duty (30 percent) will be charged. The Ministry of Finance has already proposed to lower the limit to 500 euros since July this year, but the government has not yet approved the amendment, the newspaper notes.

Deputy Head of the FTS Timur Maksimov told the newspaper that such amendments are to be introduced to provide equal conditions for Russian and cross-border Internet trade. According to him, reducing the threshold of duty-free import, even up to 200 euros, will not significantly affect the situation, since the absolute majority of Internet parcels have a cost of 30 euros and only 0.02% of foreign parcels cost more than 200 euros.

The official added that the goods for personal use should be sold as commercial goods, the customs payment should be reduced to 20% and a combined rate should be introduced - for example, at least one euro per kilogram - and a 20% charge for commercial goods cheaper than 200 euros.

The Ministry of Finance reported that the threshold would gradually decline, and its zeroing would be intervened before 2020.

TASS recalls that the Customs Code of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) entered into force on January 1, 2018, according to which the limit of duty-free Internet purchases remains at the level of 1000 euros and 31 kg for one month. Since the beginning of 2019, this threshold is to be reduced to 500 euros, and from 2020 - to 200 euros. The Code implies that this is the upper threshold, that is, each country has the right to establish a more stringent limit, and so the FTS is going to take an opportunity.

Plans to reduce the threshold of duty-free importation of goods were announced at different levels of government, RBC says. So, the proposal to cut it to €20 was drafted at the budget for 2018-2020. In October 2017, the Russian Post proposed to introduce duties for goods worth more than 200 euros by 2019.

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