When Poland acceded to the European Union on 1 May 2004 it became part of a trading zone where all goods brought into Poland from EU member countries are not subject to import duty. Duty is applicable to products imported into the EU from non EU countries or exported from the EU to non EU countries.
If you are from a country that is not an EU member you can bring in items that have no trade value - then a duty fee will not be applicable. This means you can bring in items for your personal use (and your family traveling with you) and products such as gifts but the quantity of the gift products must be reasonable (you will not find a Customs officer who will believe that the three cartons of cigarettes are for your Aunty)
If you are above 17 years of age there are limits on the amount of alcohol, perfumes and cigarettes brought in from outside the EU:
- tobacco allowed:
200 cigarettes or
100 cigarillos (these are small cigars that weight less that 3 gram a piece) or
50 cigars or
250 gram of tobacco or all of it proportionally in one package.
- alcohol allowed:
Distilled alcoholic beverages that are stronger that 22% of pure alcohol per liter; spirit for consumption 80% alcohol or more - 1 liter allowed or
Distilled or spirit beverages, aperitifs from a base of wine, tafia, sake or other similar products below 22% alcohol per liter - two liters allowed or
proportionally in one package of the above products and wines - two liters allowed.
There is also a limit on the duty free import of perfumes: 50 gram of perfume and no more that 250 ml of eau de toilette are allowed. Medicines for personal consumption are allowed in.
When exceeding these amounts duty tax will have to be paid. And if not declared at the border and questioned by Customs, fines can be imposed and your goods confiscated. You can also be refused entry into the country or in extreme cases, arrested and put into prison.
Duty Free on sea going vessels
‘Duty free' is defined as the purchase of products on a vessel at sea outside the EU sailing to a country not in the EU. Duty free purchases are also possible when the vessel sails from one EU member country port to another EU member country port and stops in a non EU member port. Sales of duty free products start and finish in the territorial waters of countries not in the EU. Purchases can be made during the voyage when vessels enter non EU ports where passengers can to leave the vessel.
VAT tax refund
According to the regulations of 11 March 2004 (the law on service and products tax ‘Dz.U. Nr 54, poz. 535') - the right of VAT refunds on products bought in a EU country and then taken outside the EU by the buyer applies only to private individuals who are permanent residents of a non EU member country. The products on which the VAT refund is claimed must be taken abroad in their original packaging and must be confirmed by the Customs officer with a special note issued with the traveler's name and when the product was purchased. Shops issuing these documents are marked with the TAX FREE SHOPPING logo. The amount of the purchases must exceed 200 zł, and the time between purchase and VAT claim is limited to 3 months (from the Ministry of Finance 20 April 2004 regulations on minimum purchases of products and services with VAT refund (Dz.U. Nr 88, poz. 838).
Official forms from the Ministry of Finance website http://www.mf.gov.pl/
The information above is from the Ministry of Finance web site http://www.mf.gov.pl/ and printed in The Visitor by special permission from the Ministry of Finance.
Last update May 2009