Every passenger arriving from outside the EU has a €430 duty-free allowance for imported goods. How is the value of an object determined?

E.g., if I buy an iPad in the US that costs €400, but the same exact item in the EU costs €500, will the item be taxed?

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    They have several ways including believe it or not, Google. I learned that from watching an episode of Border Security America's Front Line. It is not an exact science. Having a genuine receipt usually trumps other methods. Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 12:42
  • The base price is the price excluding tax, so an EU price of 500 € would be somewhere between 390 and 430 euros. Don't forget you'll be paying sales tax on the iPad you buy over there (prices in the US are advertised exclusive of tax). It'll still be a bit cheaper than the equivalent model in the EU, but not that much (depending on the country you're in and its VAT rate). Also don't forget that it's your total allowance, not an allowance per item.
    – jcaron
    Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 22:32

1 Answer 1


Usually you can't get "the exact same item" in the EU. An iPad sold under US law would have different warranty conditions than one sold under EU law, even if it is physically the same hardware.

  • If you have an invoice/receipt and there is no reason to believe it is fraudulent, the receipt will determine the value.
  • If it is well known that the same model number costs less in the US than in the EU, they will not generally doubt the documents.
  • If you have no receipt, or if things appear not credible to the customs staff, they might e.g. run a quick google search.

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