Relief from Customs Duty and VAT on the importation of goods for Charitable and Humanitarian Organisations - CDPN9
Goods for Charitable and Humanitarian organisations from non-European Union (EU) countries may be imported free from payment of Customs Duty and VAT. This leaflet describes the goods involved, the relief available and the procedures involved at importation.
2. Relief Available
The following goods may be imported free from payment of Customs Duty and VAT:
- Basic necessities  imported by State organisations or Charitable or Humanitarian Organisations for distribution free of charge to people in need;
- Goods sent free of charge by a person or organisation established outside of the EU, where there is no commercial intent on the part of the sender, to State Organisations or Charitable or Humanitarian Organisations to be used for fund-raising at occasional charity events for the benefit of needy persons; and
- Equipment and office materials sent free of charge by a person or organisation established outside of the EU, where there is no commercial intent on the part of the sender, to Charitable or Humanitarian Organisations to be used solely for the purpose of meeting their operating needs or carrying out their charitable aims.
Note: Relief is not allowed on alcoholic products, tobacco and tobacco products and motor vehicles other than ambulances.
3. Procedure at importation
Where goods are forwarded by post, the declaration on the parcel should be endorsed:
"Goods for Charitable Purposes: Exemption from import charges claimed".
The documentary evidence outlined in paragraph 4 should be attached to the outside of the parcel and marked 'Customs Documents'.
Where goods are imported other than by post the goods should be presented to Revenue accompanied by an import declaration (SAD), with a claim to relief from import charges thereon. For the purposes of completion of the SAD, the legal references are:
Article 61 of Regulation (EC) No. 1186/2009 for Customs Duty;
Article 42 of Directive 2009/132/EC for VAT
Code C20 should be entered in box 37 b of the SAD in order to avail of the relief from Customs Duty and VAT. The entry should be accompanied by the documentary evidence outlined in paragraph 4.
4. Documentary evidence
Written confirmation from the importer for each of the situations outlined above is required as follows:
- A declaration from the importer confirming that the goods are for distribution free of charge to people in need;
- Letter from the sender of the goods confirming that they are sent free of charge with no commercial intent on their behalf and a declaration from the importer confirming that the goods are for fund-raising at occasional charity events for the benefit of needy people; and
- Letter from sender confirming the equipment is sent free of charge without any commercial intent on the part of the sender and a declaration from the charity/organisation that the goods are to be used solely for the purpose of meeting their operating needs or carrying out their charitable aims.
5. Disposal of Goods
Goods may only be lent, hired out or transferred to an establishment or organisation that qualifies under the conditions listed above provided Revenue has received prior notification. In all other cases loan, hiring out or transfer shall be subject to prior payment of import charges at the rate applying on the date of the loan, hiring out or transfer on the customs value ascertained by Revenue.
Institutions and Organisations who qualified for relief shall inform their local Revenue office of the following situations:
- Where they no longer meet the conditions which entitled them to the relief; or
- Where the goods are being used for purposes other than that which entitled them to the relief.
In such cases Revenue shall apply the rate of duty applicable to the goods in the cases of a) on the date the conditions ceased to be fulfilled or b) on the date the goods were put to another use.
6. Further Information
Enquiries regarding any issue contained in this Information Leaflet should be addressed to the Revenue District responsible for your tax affairs. Contact details for all Revenue Districts can be found on the Contact Details Page.
Customs Procedures Branch,