Tullverket

Goods needed to protect against and combat COVID-19

This duty and VAT relief applies for a limited time to certain goods required to combat COVID-19 and help persons already affected.

On 3 April 2020, the European Commission decided to allow protective equipment and other medical equipment required to combat COVID-19 and help persons already affected to be imported free of import duties and VAT. The duty relief initially applied to imports from 30 January 2020 until 31 July 2020. Given that the need for protective equipment to combat the pandemic remains large, the period has been extended several times, and now applies until 31 December 2021.

Who is entitled to duty and VAT relief?

The goods must be imported by or on behalf of:

  1. State bodies, public bodies and other bodies governed by public law, such as public authorities, regions, municipalities and similar official bodies;
  2. disaster relief agencies and other charitable and philanthropic organisations that have been approved by Swedish Customs as consignees for duty-free import.

Criteria for approval and how to apply.

The term “organisation” refers to the bodies and organisations mentioned in items 1 and 2 above.

Private actors in the public sector

Private actors may be considered bodies governed by public law, when:

  • providing public services;
  • the activities are governed by public law, and;
  • the activities are regulated by public authorities.


Remember that goods imported free of customs duty may only be used for that parts of the organisation’s activities that meet the requirements of the three items. Unless all activities meet these requirements, the organisation must guarantee that any goods imported duty-free will only be used in the part of the activities that meet the three requirements.

Companies may import on behalf of others

Under specific conditions, companies may import goods on behalf of the aforementioned organisations free of customs duty and VAT. Find out more in the section Applicable rules when companies import goods on behalf of organisations. (In Swedish)

What goods are eligible?

Eligible goods include:

  • personal protective equipment, for example protective goggles, face screens, protective equipment for mouth and nose, protective coats and gloves;
  • medical equipment, for example ventilators and testing equipment.


A guide for the type of goods that may be eligible has been developed. This list is designed as guidance, which means that similar products that are not featured in the list may be included, which will be determined from on a case-to-case basis.

List of goods that may be eligible.

Intended use

The goods must be intended for use in one of the following manners to qualify for duty and VAT relief:

  • distribution free of charge to the persons affected by or at risk from COVID-19 or involved in combating the COVID-19 outbreak by organisations entitled to such duty relief;
  • being made available free of charge to the persons affected by or at risk from COVID-19 or involved in combating the COVID-19 outbreak, while remaining the property of each organisation;
  • being used by disaster relief agencies in order to meet their needs during the period they provide disaster relief to the persons affected by or at risk from COVID-19, including medical staff involved in combatting the COVID-19 outbreak.


Remember that the goods should be used by organisations in Sweden. Upon request from Swedish Customs, the organisation must be able to demonstrate that the goods have been used to combat COVID-19.

If the goods are intended to be used to combat COVID-19 in another EU State, they should be transited to the country of destination and declared for free circulation there.

Goods that are not intended for direct distribution by the importing organisation

  1. Indirect distribution

In some cases, relief from customs duty may apply even if the importing organisation does not itself distribute the imported goods to persons affected by or at risk from COVID 19 or involved in combatting the COVID-19 outbreak.

This applies in situations where the importing organisation free of charge or at cost price in the context of the importation intends to distribute the goods to other eligible organisations, which in turn intend to use the goods for distribution free of charge to persons affected by or at risk from COVID 19 or involved in combatting the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, this may be the case when an authority imports goods for use at various health care institutions in the country.

Furthermore, the importing organisation should ensure that the organisation that will employ the goods to combat the COVID-19 outbreak certify this intention in writing to the importing organisation. This certificate should be recorded by the importing organisation in their accounts and presented to Swedish Customs upon request.

If the importing organisation intends to distribute the goods to other duty exempt organisations after the time of importation, the provisions governing transfer, lending and leasing, explained in the section Limitations on the use of the products after importation shall apply.

The responsibility to meet the requirements for duty relief according to Commission decision (EU) 2020/491 is then transferred to the receiving organisation.

  1. Storage

The importing organisation may store goods imported duty free while awaiting their distribution to persons affected by or at risk from COVID 19 or involved in combatting the COVID-19 outbreak.

If the goods cannot be stored in storage units owned by the importing organisation, the goods may be stored with external undertakings.

The following criteria must be met to store goods with external undertakings:

  • the organisation must have ownership of the goods;
  • the organisation must have access to the goods at all times;
  • the goods must be traceable;
  • there must be an agreement between the storage owner and the organisation that establishes that the goods are stored on behalf of the organisation.

Written declaration of intended use in writing

The accountable manager at the organisation should complete and sign a declaration for duty relief for goods intended for the protection against and combatting of COVID-19.

At the time of importation, please submit a digital copy of the completed form by email to: rod.kanal.import@tullverket.se.

The original should be presented to Swedish Customs upon request.

Download a declaration of intended use.

Inventory

As stated in the declaration, organisations granted duty-free import should draft an inventory of the goods for which they have been granted duty relief. The inventory should include a description of the duty-free goods and their quantity.

Remember to regularly revise the inventory so that it remains current and up-to-date.

Undertakings importing goods on behalf of the organisation

In addition to the aforementioned written declaration, the following applies.

The goods should have been sold to the consignee prior to importation.

One condition for relief from customs duty and VAT is that the goods be sold to the organisation using them to combat COVID-19 prior to importation.

When an undertaking handles the importation they should demonstrate this by presenting a contract or an agreement, as well as a bill of sale between the importer and the organisation using the goods to combat COVID-19. These documents should certify that the goods are indeed intended to be placed at the organisation’s disposal upon importation.

Agreements may be formalised in several ways. An order confirmation may in some cases serve as an agreement, depending on how it is worded. A collected assessment will be made from time to time. The purpose of the agreement is to demonstrate that the goods are sold prior to their release for free circulation.

This relief from customs duty and VAT does not include:

  • commercial imports where the goods are intended to be sold to customers after importation;
  • goods imported by companies for their own needs.

Confirmation of receipt

The organisation eligible for duty relief should submit a confirmation of receipt to Swedish Customs upon receiving the imported goods.

A digital copy of the completed form should be sent to rod.kanal.import@tullverket.se within 30 days of issuing the customs bill for the corresponding import consignment.

The original should be presented to Swedish Customs upon request.

Download the form Mottagningsbekräftelse för varor som importeras tullfritt för bekämpning av covid‑19.(Confirmation of receipt for goods imported free of customs duty for the combatting of COVID-19)

The consignee organisation is required to have an EORI number

To qualify for relief from customs duty and VAT, the receiving organisation is required to have an EORI number.

EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) is a unique registration number, used when submitting a customs declaration or some other customs related activity, for example, applying for authorisation or certification. When applying for an EORI number you are registered in Swedish Customs’ national database and the central EU EORI database.

Apply for an EORI number.

How to declare

One declaration per consignee

If the imported goods are intended for separate consignees you are required to submit an import declaration per consignee.

Information in the import declaration

The declarant or their agent should enter the following information and codes in the import declaration:

  • The body entitled to the relief from customs duty should be entered as the consignee in field 8 of the import declaration.
  • The body, or the de facto importing undertaking, should be entered in field 14.
  • Any agent is entered in field 14.
  • Field 24 – Type of transaction: 9
  • Field 33 – Commodity code: Enter the commodity code of the imported goods here. More information about the commodity code may be found in the guiding list of goods which may be exempt from customs duty, as well as in Tulltaxan (Taric).
  • Field 36 – Preference code: 100
  • Field 37 (second sub-field) – Procedure code: C26
  • Field 44 – Annexes:
  • Document code 402 followed by covid-19 + date of declaration
  • When the goods are imported by, or on behalf of, a charitable organisation or distress relief agency, please enter document code 401G (Decision on approved organisation for duty-free import) in the document code field, and the authorisation number in the reference number field.

When importing duty-free goods and similar goods subject to customs duty at the same time, these must be itemised separately in the declaration.

Limitations on the use of the products after importation

One condition for duty relief is that the imported goods should be distributed free of charge to persons affected by, at risk from, or combatting the COVID-19 outbreak. The imported goods may also be intended to be placed at the disposal of persons affected by or at risk from COVID-10 or combatting the outbreak of COVID-19 free of charge, while remaining the property of the organisation.

However, these goods may not be used for any other purpose while retaining their exemption from customs duty and VAT.

If the organisation intends to use the goods for any other purpose and transfer the goods, they must first notify Swedish Customs, who will assess whether to impose customs duty and VAT. Here, and in the following sections, transfer is defined as lending, leasing, selling or gifting the goods.

The exemption from customs duty and VAT may remain in some cases, for example if the organisation intends to transfer the goods to an organisation that fulfils the criteria for duty relief and intends to use the goods to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

One condition for such transfers is that notification be given to Swedish Customs, as the transfer must be approved by Swedish Customs for duty and VAT relief to continue to apply to the goods.

Applying to Swedish Customs for authorisation to transfer imported goods without paying customs duty and VAT

As stated above, the transfer must be approved in advance by Swedish Customs.

The organisation must submit an application to transfer the goods free of customs duty and VAT to Swedish Customs. The application should be submitted in writing and signed by the accountable manager, and contain the following information:

  • Name, corporate identification number and address of the organisation intending to transfer the goods;
  • Description of the reason for the application (sale, donation, lending, lease or other);
  • Name and corporate identification number of the organisation taking over the goods;
  • Product description;
  • Quantity of the goods;
  • CN codes of the goods;
  • Customs ID at the time of importation (where applicable).


Please submit the application to:

Tullverket

Box 12854

112 98 Stockholm

Please attach a declaration of intended use to the application. It should be written by the organisation that intends to use the goods to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. Download the form Declaration for duty relief for COVID-19..

Notifying Swedish Customs of other use

Swedish Customs should be notified if the goods are not used for their intended purpose, for example if they do not meet their quality requirements. The same applies if the organisation wishes to use the goods for any other purpose than combatting the COVID-19 outbreak.

The notification should be sent to the above address.

Time period for use of the goods

Swedish Customs deems that goods that have been imported free of customs duty and VAT to combat the COVID-19 outbreak should have been used for this purpose at the latest on the date when the European Commission’s decision regarding exemption from customs duty and VAT expires (currently 31 December 2021).

Swedish Customs should be notified if the organisation disposes of personal protection equipment or medical equipment that have been imported duty free after the expiry date of the Commission’s decision regarding exemption from customs duty.

At the time when the decision expires, if the organisation disposes of goods, which have not been distributed to persons affected by, at risk of, or contributing to combatting the COVID-19 outbreak, this should be reported to Swedish Customs within two months. Moreover, Swedish Customs should be notified within two months of imported goods which were made available for the same purposes during the pandemic. We will then consider whether to impose customs duty or VAT.

Furthermore, the organisation should report if it has imported goods exempt of customs duty for indirect distribution by an other organisation (see the section above on Indirect distribution). This notification should also be given within two months of the expiry of the decision.

Please submit the application to:

Tullverket

Box 12854

112 98 Stockholm

Some personal protection equipment may be transferred free of customs duty and VAT

The exemption from customs duty and VAT may remain in some cases, for example when transferring goods to state organisations or other approved charitable or philanthropic organisations in accordance with the provisions on duty relief for goods for charitable organisations.

Swedish Customs determines whether these goods are equivalent to basic necessities, such as face masks, visors, gloves and protective coats, in accordance with the Commission’s decision.

Duty relief for goods for charitable organisations.

You are also allowed to export the goods or transfer them free of customs duty and VAT to an eligible organisation in an EU member state, provided that the Commission’s decision regarding exemption from customs duty and VAT still applies in that member state.

VAT relief

If you are registered for VAT, any VAT exemption is determined by the Swedish Tax Authority, and not by Swedish Customs.

Remember that you must apply for duty relief to benefit from VAT relief, even if you are registered for VAT. One condition for VAT relief is authorisation for VAT relief from Swedish Customs. This applies even if the goods are duty-free according to Tulltaxan (TARIC).

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