Italy’s custom import duty: What is it and how much does it cost?

​Italy’s membership in the European Union has greatly influenced its tariff structure. Duties on imported goods disappeared between Member States by 1986. Since then, this has also resulted in a substantial reduction of duties on products imported from areas outside of EU countries, including the United States.

​How are import duties charged in Italy?

An import duty is levied on products that have a value of at least €150. VAT (Value Added Tax) is due on products that are valued above €22 (meaning from €22.01). Small goods that are underneath these two thresholds are exempt from taxes and duties, except in the case of mail ordered goods.

How are duty and tax calculated?

​In general, shipping costs are included in duty and tax (regardless of who actually pays for them). When charges are specified in the commercial invoice the duties are calculated on the total amount including the shipping charges. If tax charged is not quoted in the commercial invoice, then a flat-rate amount is added to the declared value which is generally based on the weight and country of origin.

Depending on the type of product there will be a different rate: for example, cameras are charged at 4.2% while products related to health & beauty are charged at 6.5%.
For more informations about this check also our video about VAT and import and export in Italy.

What are the customs duties and taxes on imports?

​Duties and import taxes are due for all goods imported into Italy from outside of the European Union. As part of the European Union’s Common Customs Tariff, Italy has preferential rates that are applied to imports from countries which the EU has signed agreements with.

Duties range anywhere from 0% to 17%, with the general tax averaging 4.2%. However, foodstuffs (particularly dairy products), textiles and clothing still have quotas and higher tariffs.

Who pays for them?

​Shipments can be delivered either with duties prepaid (DDP) or with duties unpaid (DDU). If duties are pre-paid, which is the most common way and means that the seller has paid them in advance, they will not be subject to additional charges or unexpected customs fees and will pass through customs much quicker than DDU goods.

What documents are required?

For written declarations to customs, the official document is the Single Administrative Document (SAD) and is, as its name suggests, a one-page document. It functions as the EU importer’s declaration,  encompassing both the customs duty and VAT; it is valid throughout the entire EU.

It should also be noted that Italy, like the rest of the EU, uses a Harmonized System (HS), meaning that there is a specific nomenclature involved in labeling products. And, according to the European Commission the HS “…comprises about 5,000 commodity groups which are identified by a 6-digit code and arranged according to a legal and logical structure based on fixed rules. The Combined Nomenclature of the European Union (EU) integrates the HS Nomenclature and comprises additional 8-digit subdivisions and legal notes specifically created to address the needs of the Community.”

That’s all there is to it. This process has been greatly simplified in order to lessen the bureaucratic strain associated with the movement of goods and promote transactions within the EU and abroad.
For more informations, read also our guide about imports and exports in Italyhow to export to Italy and our article about transfer pricing in Italy.

Types of Goods and Duty Implication

A wide range of goods imported into Italy are subject to custom import duties. These include consumer products, electronics, clothing, and more. The duty imposed on each category of goods can vary significantly, making it important for importers to understand which category their goods fall into.

How Duties are Calculated

The calculation of Italian custom import duties is based on several factors. The value of the goods, their type, and the country of origin all play a part in determining the duty rate. This rate is usually a percentage of the total value of the imported goods and is calculated according to the harmonized system used globally.

Average Rates of Duties

The average rates of Italian custom import duties vary. While some goods may attract higher rates, others could be eligible for lower rates or even exemptions. The duty rate can be as low as zero for certain goods, especially those coming from countries with which Italy has trade agreements.

Navigating Italian Customs Regulations

Dealing with Italian customs involves a complex set of procedures, documentation requirements, and compliance with regulations. Businesses must be well-acquainted with these processes to ensure smooth import transactions. This part of the article will provide insights into the necessary steps and documents required for clearing Italian customs.

Case Studies

To give a practical perspective, this section will include real-world examples of businesses that have navigated the Italian custom import duty landscape. These case studies will highlight common challenges and successful strategies used to manage import duties effectively.

Strategies to Minimize Duties and Maximize Compliance

Minimizing duty costs while ensuring compliance is a key goal for businesses. This section will offer tips and strategies on how businesses can achieve this balance. It will cover aspects like taking advantage of trade agreements, correct classification of goods, and seeking expert advice.

150 thoughts on “Italy’s custom import duty: What is it and how much does it cost?”

  1. Alison Parsons-Smith

    Why was a child’s dress I sent to Italy as a gift held in customs for a month and then my friends made to pay 5 euros to collect it?
    It was a birthday present and therefore embarrassing for me.It was very late and cost them money.

    1. After implementing the suggestions from this article, I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my approach. Truly grateful!

  2. I have just bought a house in Italy and would like to take a few things over from UK, will be a mixture of furniture etc from our existing house, mostly used items but a few, new, low value items…
    What do I need to do and how will I be taxed on a mixed load?

      1. Hi,
        Would furniture even though a ‘personal item’ be worth more than the minimum E22 and therefore subject to charges?
        I too am resident uk but have boight a property in Italy and would like to move some furniture, dvds, iMac (old), books and framed pictures over. Can these all escape import duties as they are ‘personal items’ and not yo be sold?

    1. Why does customs ask for the fiscal code for the recipient?? I have sent many packages via FedEx…but thus time customs in Lonate Pozzolo, It had thr packages and wanted that information?
      The value of thr packages totaled 210 Canadian. How much taxes/duties will be calculated to pay??

  3. I’ve just had to pay €3:30 to receive a 60g package containing a birthday card and some hand knitted gloves that honestly have zero monetary value. “Gift” was ticked on the CN22 label by the Post Office in the UK, yet I’ve still had to pay. Is this correct?

      1. I am getting charged $520 in customs fees to RETURN a shoe that did not fit to a boutique in Italy. WHY SO HIGH???? This is insane !!!!!!!

  4. I forgot my prescription sunglasses in the US and had a friend send them to Rome. The customs fee is over 60 euros. The glasses were $175 new, but are used. Is over 60 euros correct?

    1. Thanks for your helpful website. Getting clear information on this topic is difficult. What about personal items with no commercial or resale value?For example personal documents (in my case certificates) from UK to Italy. J

  5. Hello Nicolo,

    I just want to get my new laptop shipped to italy from India.Am i supposed to pay any taxes? It is of personal use.
    Thank you.

  6. Hi 🙂 Looking to buy some jewellery from Israel and have it sent to me to Italy. What % should I be paying from the total cost of the jewellery given it’s over the €150 threshold please? I can’t seem to find this info anywhere online…

      1. Gail Alexander

        I sent two Fabric Beach bags to Italy on Monday with UPS the value was £100 my relative received them this morning and had to pay 50.30 euros is this correct ? This is more than 25% Tax.

        1. Hi my son races gokart around the world. He has sent his engine (used) to Italy so he didn’t have to carry so much when he lands at the airport and travels via train, he sent it ahead to his destination. There engine was originally imported from Italy to Australia and import duty paid. Why now does he have to pay import tax again on a used sports item he will be using while he is racing in Italy? They are trying to charge €750.

  7. I bought some jeans from Italy sending to the UK costing £150 and they’re trying to charge me £64.41 import tax is this correct it seems rather high.

  8. I want to send my Uncle in Italy a parcel gift from the UK, the contents will be clothing under £30. will i have to pay any customs and VAT or will my uncle have to pay once the parcel is delivered? Also does the weight of the parcel matter or just the value of the items?

      1. This is unfortunately not the case. There was a €6 charge on item worth £15 in UK sent as a gift. A joke.

  9. Hi. I’m in Milan, and I want to buy from an online store in slovakia. it costs 65 euro? Will i pay duties, if yes How much taxes/duties?

  10. I want to send a second-hand watch to my cousin in Italy from Singapore. A new watch worth 800 Eur, and approx 300 Eur for second-hand. How much tax he will need to pay, if any ?

      1. But I saw on the above comments, tax were commonly charged even on gift items. How can I be certain what items or circumstances that tax (VAT or custom duty) will not be charged.

  11. Ciao Nicolò, I’ve just ordered some make-up items from a brand called colourpop in the US. The value of the items is 24 USD and I paid 34 USD in total (24 + 10 USD) for it to be shipped to Italy. I wanted to know how much tax or VAT would be charged at the Italian customs office. Thank you

      1. Ciao come va !
        I want to import second hend mobiles from us hwo much is tax or avt would be chared and hwo many days would be taking the custom prosess?

  12. Hi Nicole,
    I’ve ordered some items through the shopping app called Shein. It costs around 90€ it contains some pieces of clothes 2hand bags and a small jewelry (rings) set.
    I’ve been waiting for an update for almost a month now still none. Do I have to pay VAT or Custom? If yes how will they inform me about it?
    Thanks in advance.

  13. Hello –

    My partner and I purchased a home in Italy and we are wanting to ship a large amount of personal goods – furniture, decoration, etc. – to the new home. We have not yet established residency in Italy as it will not be our primary residence. Is there a way to import the goods as personal goods and not pay import duties or taxes? We both have Codice Fiscale numbers.

    Thanks, Nick

      1. Similar issue, as the above question from Nick, about shipping a container of household goods .furniture to Italy from US; .is an inventory ie each item be required with a value or can one cap all at the insured value ?

        What range of tax can I anticipate?

        Does your firm assist with this process ? how to know, in advance. best legal and accounting and shipping company channels.
        My partner has an Italian residency card and will be on the House Title. while I remain non resident.

        Anticipating a Spring 23 move NY to Umbria.

        Welcome your response. Thanks.


        1. Richard, we just did the same thing. As long as you ship under the house owner who has residency you should not be charged. We moved from Georgia ( originally NYer’s) to Orvieto in May of 23

      2. Hi nicolo
        I am from napoli italy.I want to bring cloth item from bangladesh.I need some help,how can i contract with you.
        This is my email
        If you get my massage please send your contract information via my email.
        thank you

    1. Buonasera
      Abbiamo dimenticato il nostro IPad in hotel a Doha dove eravamo in vacanza . Il dispositivo è stato acquistato in Italia da noi cittadini italiani. L’hotel è disponibile alla spedizione via DHL; anche in questo caso va pagata la tassa doganale e altri oneri ?

  14. I’m importing a hearing aid from UK to Italy. It is a medical device. Is the VAT reduced to 6%? and is there a commodity code that needs to be on the c ommercial invoice?


  15. Hi – I am sending a game from US to Italy through Fed Ex for a wedding.
    Fed Ex is giving me an estimated land cost of 571 euros.
    Breakdown :
    Customs value $ 250.00 USD
    Shipping Cost $253.00 USD
    Insurance 0
    Duties and taxes – 103.12 EUR
    Total estimated land cost : 571.87 EUR
    I understand the duty and taxes cost.

    But what is the $250 customs value of good cost ?
    That is what I paid for the game in US.
    Thanks in advance

  16. Hi my mom sent me a some stuff and paid all taxes and shipping fee but they still ask me to pay 80€ tax. So if I had already paid it I don’t have to pay 80€ right?

  17. Hi Nicolo
    I’m about to send a gift parcel containing 20 small packages of dry dog food (no monetary value as I’ve obrained them as samples) from England to italy. The parcel weight about 500 grams. Will the recipient of the parcel in Italy have to pay anything to receive it?
    Thank you.

  18. Hi, I need to send training material to Italy for a conference. This will include notebooks, pens, paper and folders. Is this something that will be taxed? Thank you


    I have just received (in Italy) a 50p commemorative coin from the Royal Mint purchased as a gift for a friend, with a declared value of £15. I was required to pay 9.03 euros to have the package delivered!! Surely this is incorrect and looks criminal!

  20. Wedding in Italy – just sent items totalling 1898 GBP – the shipping total was 536 GBP – hwoever they have said my duties cost to pay is 1542 Euros – does this sound right?

  21. Ciao niccolò,
    Vorrei aprire un ecommerce e pensavo di comprare dei cosmetici dalla corea del sud, ho capito piu o meno come calcolare i dazi e l’iva, pero non ho capito che documenti devo far allegare alla spedizione e cone funziona nei fatti. Cioè il venditore mi mette i documenti (non so quali) nel pacco (o fuori dal pacco) e alla dogana italiana mi contattano per pagare dazi e iva? Che succede se manca qualche documento (magari i documenti per le conformita di alcuni cosmetici) mi contattano e me li chiedono o sequestrano e buttano subito tutto?

    1. sono due tematiche distinte. 1. le imposte sono calcolate in base ai valori di fattura e dei pagamenti 2. le conformità devono essere valutate dalle competenti autorità

  22. I’ve just received a package I ordered from Japan to Milan. The value declared on the box was 550 yen ( around 4 Euros), but I had to pay 4.17 Euros to receive the package!! How is the cost really calculated? Its no way 22%

  23. I want to send clothing to Italy from the US, as a wholesale transaction, i.e. selling to a company that will sell to the consumers. I can’t tell if the wholesale is taxed or just when sold to the consumer

  24. Hi Nicolò, I am intending to buy a used motorcycle from Belgium. The motorcycle is 37 years old and valued at €17000. What duties are due and at what rate will they be levied? I am resident in Italy.
    Kind regards Martin