Amazon and other online shoppers in Israel are about to enjoy a significant economic relief, as the Finance Ministry’s fee committee is expected to recommend the exemption of customs fees for packages from abroad whose value is less than $1,000, Calcalist reported Monday.
Currently, customs fees ranging from $5 to $22 (as opposed to customs payments on the value of imported goods) are collected for private imports via courier companies, while packages arriving through the mail are exempt from those fees. Of course, with the Israeli post office being the government agency most complained about on the State Comptroller’s list, it’s no wonder many Israelis prefer to pay rather than having to trace their packages that were lost in the mail.
The fee committee met a few weeks ago and accepted the proposed change, now it has to formally draft it and submit it to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. If Kahlon approves the recommendation, it would be sent to the Knesset Finance Committee for approval – and then Israeli will be able to enjoy their new winter coat without fees and in season.
The new customs fee exemption would help Israelis who shop online and who, to date, have had no clear way of assessing how much they would need to add to their new game mouse from Amazon in customs fees. It was entirely up to the arbitrary call of the customs service. This compared with exemption from VAT on orders up to $75, and exemption from customs payment on orders valued at less than $500. When it came to customs fees, Israelis have learned what those cost them only after the receipt of their package from the courier.
The Finance Ministry’s reform of personal import of products via the Internet increases the number of products that can be ordered online without government classifying it as a commercial order. It limits personal imports to 30 small products at a cost of up to $ 1,000, or five large products at a cost of more than $1,000.