COVID-19: Customs relief and VAT exemption on imports of goods to combat the ongoing coronavirus crisis
In Decision 2020/491 of 3 April 2020, the European Commission granted relief from import duties (incl. customs duties), and a VAT exemption on importation, for goods needed to combat the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak during 2020.
Customs law (Council Regulation No. 1186/2009) and Council Directive 2009/132/EC envisage the possibility of relief from customs duties and exemption from VAT on importation of goods “for the benefit of disaster victims”. The present Decision of the European Commission has created the necessary preconditions for these measures.
The measures relate to goods which fulfil the criteria set out in the relevant Regulation or Directive, insofar as the goods are imported by state organisations or on their behalf, and are distributed or made available free of charge to persons who are affected by COVID-19, are at risk from the illness, or are involved in combatting the outbreak. The measures also apply to goods imported for or on behalf of disaster relief agencies for these groups.
The Decision of the European Commission applies to importations made from 30 January to 31 July 2020.