Thursday, March 14, 2024

Import taxes for online purchases: Everything you need to know

package from purchase abroad - tax free!

Do you live in Israel? 
Are you wondering what to expect regarding taxes and fees if you shop online?

This guide will help you understand the basics that apply to residents of Israel when shopping online from overseas (yes, even if you're not a citizen, you need to know how your orders will be handled!)

Most of us shop this way to save money, so who wants a tax bill surprise when the order gets here? This post will help you avoid a tax bill (legally, of course!).

Note: the same regulations apply to other packages sent from abroad, even if they are gifts!

Here's the rundown (full regulations can be found on the Israel tax authority's site)

When you get a package for PERSONAL use (NOT BUSINESS USE), the value of your purchase or package will be converted into US Dollars by the tax authority (using the exchange rate of the day they process it) to determine if it's subject to tax (no matter what currency was used when it was purchased).

Purchases up to $75/Packages with a declared value up to $75 - no taxes

Purchases or packages with a declared value of $75 and up to $500 - VAT will apply in most cases (17% currently), and Purchase Tax (variable rates) may apply, but no customs taxes

Purchases or packages with a declared value over $500 - subject to all taxes (VAT of 17%, Purchase Tax (if applicable), and Customs Tax which varies by category)

Please take note that purchases and packages (even gifts) of up to $75 in value will automatically be subject to customs clearance fees if they arrive using an EMS service*, and some other types of deliveries may also be charged this fee (it's about 40 shekels right now). If the value of the purchase is higher than $75, the customs clearance fee can be higher as well.

Other fees are often added on by shipping companies, and there is not much oversight on the matter. I once saw a bill that included the following fees: Handling Fee, Import Approval Fee, VAT, Computer Fee, Unloading Fee, and a Storage Fee. Watch out for these fees from shipping companies/courier services - I recommend you always arrange to get your packages via a service that guarantees your fees have all been prepaid, if you can!

Please be aware that the purchase price only (not purchase + shipping) will determine whether an item will be taxed. If it is deemed taxable, all applicable taxes will be calculated on the purchase price + the shipping price. This means that if you order something for $75.01 plus $15 shipping, you will be taxed on the total value of $90.01!

One more important point: If you order multiple orders addressed to the same person, with the same address & phone number listed, from the same seller and they arrive within 72 hours of each other, customs may combine the orders and treat them as one purchase for tax purposes, or they may not. But it is a possibility you should be aware of before you place multiple orders. 

I recommend ordering at least 3 days apart or ordering with different names and contact info (including the tax ID number you provide for clearing customs).

If your order is stuck in customs, or if you feel like you were charged tax by mistake, you will need to contact the customs office, you can do this via email: for packages arriving via Israel Post, contact, and for packages arriving via courier services or other delivery services, contact

If you received a bill to pay import taxes and you believe you shouldn't have to pay, there's a form to fill out to contest the fees: CLICK HERE for the form

Did you find this helpful? Please share this post far and wide, and join my WhatsApp group and my Facebook Group where I'll be posting my favorite deals!

*Examples of EMS services - Express Mail, Fedex, UPS and other express delivery services. Sometimes DHL is EMS and sometimes it is not.

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