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Definition of personal goods import

Importation in Israel Cabinet Expert Comptable Dray & Dray

Definition of importing personal property into Israel :

How does importing work in Israel?

Would you like to import goods into Israel? The firm presents an article detailing everything you need to know, as well as all the steps to follow.

Here are the relevant definitions from this guide:

Entitled to an exemption

One of the categories of persons listed below entering the country, under ״Eligible persons ״, and fulfilling the required conditions.

Rights

Exemption from payment of taxes, or payment of reduced taxes - upon release of the imported goods from customs control or upon their purchase in Israel, as determined by the tax authorities in Israel.

Goods

Personal effects, household goods, tools, etc.".

Decisive entry

The entry by which the person's status as entitled to an exemption is determined, unless otherwise stated.

Accompanied goods

Hand luggage imported with the person entering the country, upon arrival in Israel.

Delivery

  • Household goods arriving by ship or plane.
  • Household goods sent by parcel post, provided they were sent before the relevant date of entry into Israel.
  • Household goods imported with the person entitled to exemption, but not at the time of decisive entry.
    (The rightful owner may import a total of 3 deliveries).

Minor

A minor is a person who, on arrival in Israel, is under 18 years of age.

The rights period

Period during which the beneficiary can exercise his rights. This period is calculated from the relevant date of entry, as mentioned above.

Persons entitled to exemption

  • The new immigrant under the Law of Return.
  • Returning minor קטין חוזר - the person who has received a Returning Minor Certificate from the Ministry of Integration.
  • Immigrant citizen - a person who has received a Certificate of Immigrant Citizenship from the Ministry of Integration.
  • Permanent residents.

Goods included in duties

General

The duty certificate allows you to import / purchase goods manufactured in Israel with tax exemption on goods such as:

Personal effects, household goods, portable work tools, office equipment and machinery, motor vehicles (partial exemption).
Exemption from payment of taxes will be granted only if and when the rightful claimant proves compliance with the above conditions under the heading: ״Procedures and conditions for entitlement " 

Personal effects

  1. Personal clothing, footwear and toiletries - according to the type and quantities customarily carried in the passenger's hand baggage.
  2. Wine and beverages, up to 1 liter of alcohol and 2 liters of wine - for anyone entering the country over 18 years of age.
  3. Alcoholic perfumes, up to ¼ liter - for each person entering the country.
  4. Tobacco in all forms, up to 250 grams (for cigarettes - up to 200 cigarettes in a carton).
  5. Other items, not listed above, that you have brought with you on arrival for personal use or as a gift to another person, up to a value of 200 - for anyone aged two and over entering the country under this amount, it is possible to bring various foods, weighing up to 3 kg, provided that the weight of each type of food does not exceed 1 kg.

(Regarding items whose import is prohibited - see below article ״Additional information ״, paragraph b).

Exemption is individual for each entrant; therefore, it is not possible to combine the rights of several entrants and receive exemption for one item, the value of which exceeds 200$.

Please note

  1. The exemption on personal effects, as mentioned in paragraph B, will be granted only if the articles are imported with you in the same means of transport.
  2. If you are only taking personal effects in the quantities/values listed above, you will be allowed to use the green lane.
  3. If you are holding personal effects in quantities/values greater than the above - you will need to go through the red lane.

Household goods imported from abroad

Household goods are, in general, products of the type normally used in an apartment, and do not include permanently installed equipment such as: plumbing items, building materials, floor or wall coverings (wallpaper, tiles, marble, etc.).

Please note

  1. Household goods can be imported - but not in more than three deliveries.
  2. Up to 2 TVs and 2 PCs can be imported for each family.
  3. For other electrical appliances and major furniture items - it is possible to import one item of each type.
  4. It must be ensured that the household goods will arrive within the duty period, which is three years from the relevant date of entry into Israel.
  5. Household goods, such as those mentioned above, which you choose to import with you as accompanied luggage (20 kg), at the time of your entry constituting a return to Israel - will not be taxable and will not be considered as one of the three shipments for which you are entitled to an exemption. In this case, you will have to go through the red lane, declare the goods, and receive further instructions.
  6. The exemption certificate also requires proof that you run an independent household, either by presenting a document proving that you own an apartment, or by presenting an apartment rental contract.

Portable work tools

During the duty period, work tools can be imported tax-free, provided that:

  1. the tools are designed and specified by the customs agent for professional use.
  2. they can be carried by hand, and determined by the customs officer as they are.
  3. their total value, determined in the port of import, does not exceed an amount equal to 1650$.

Office equipment and machinery

Machines, appliances and tools intended for the establishment of the new immigrant's company, and which are types used in industry, crafts, agriculture or for other approved purposes - are tax exempt, subject to the approval of the Director.*.

This exemption is subject to the following conditions:

  1. The value of all equipment must not exceed 36,000$ FOB (free on board); this amount includes portable work tools, the value of which will not exceed 1650$ (see paragraph D above: Portable work tools).
  2. The equipment will be used in the rightful owner's business (workshop, farm, shop), and will be kept inside the business.
  3. If the beneficiary is not the sole owner of the company, but a partner or shareholder of the company, it will be up to him to prove that he has control of 50% or more of the said company and that he himself is an active worker in the company.
    In this case, the rightful owner will be able to lease duty-free imported goods to the company thanks to the exemption, provided that this fact is explicitly stated in the contract of employment between the rightful owner and the company, and that the partnership or company may use the goods for as long as the rightful owner is a partner or shareholder, and for as long as he or she is an active worker in the company.
  4. In the event of dissolution of the partnership in the business, before the end of the 5-year period from the date of customs clearance of the goods, the latter will remain the property of the rightful owner, and will not be held or used by another person, unless prior approval is obtained from the tax authority in Israel, and after payment of the taxes due.

In return for the exemption (if approved by the Director), a bank guarantee for the amount of the taxes will be deposited.

Importing items by parcel post

If you receive a postal parcel containing household goods in your name, it will be considered as one of the three shipments for which you are entitled to an exemption.

A postal parcel containing only clothes and shoes, sent to Israel before the decisive entry into the country - will be exempt from taxes and will not be considered as a shipment, if it arrived in Israel within 30 days before the decisive entry into the country, or on the day of entry (as accompanied luggage), or within 3 months after the date of decisive entry.

Motor vehicle

Motor vehicle including: motorcycle, passenger car - vehicle designed for the transport of passengers of type M1 or M2, as defined in article 271A' of the Traffic Regulations of the Ministry of Transport, and weighing no more than 3,500 kg.

With regard to motor vehicles, the information in this guide refers to immigrants, returning minors, immigrant citizens and permanent residents.

For foreign residents (with status A/2, A/3 and B/1) - their rights regarding the vehicle correspond to those of a tourist (see the guide to customs procedures for tourists).

Vehicle taxes

A new immigrant importing a vehicle into Israel in his or her own name, or purchasing it in Israel from a car importer-licensed dealer, is exempt from purchase tax - מס קניה, but is liable for customs fees of 50% + VAT (75% tax in total), under the following conditions:

  1. The vehicle make and model have been authorized for import by the Ministry of Transport (For further information - please contact the Ministry of Transport's regulatory department).
    To receive an import authorization for a specific vehicle, please contact the Ministry of Transport on the website - Ministère des Transports. www.mot.gov.il
  2. The vehicle must be brought to Israel no later than 3 years from the date on which the beneficiary enters Israel.
  3. Immigrants must hold a driver's license validated in their last country of residence before entering Israel.
  4. The immigrant holds a valid driver's license in Israel.

Spouses' rights :

Spouses, even if both are entitled beneficiaries, will only be able to release one vehicle at a reduced tax rate, and no one other than them will be able to drive the vehicle.

  • The transfer of ownership of a vehicle before the end of the four-year restriction period, from an immigrant to a person not entitled to tax exemption, will be permitted after payment of the balance of taxes due, and only one year after the vehicle's initial release from customs control.
  • If the transfer is made to another immigrant entitled to a tax exemption on the vehicle, a restriction period of 4 years from the date of transfer will be registered in the name of the immigrant acquiring the vehicle.

Procedures and conditions for determining entitlement

General

Duties are granted under the personal property import laws, according to the status, age and family situation of the entrant, on the day of decisive entry into Israel for the first time, as recorded in the entry document held in his or her possession, or in other cases, when the immigrant's status changes (such as from tourist to immigrant status).
Authorization of rights is subject to the following conditions (as applicable):

  1. Import on behalf of the beneficiary - Documents for importing goods into Israel must be in the name of the rightful owner.
  2. Guarantee deposits - The Director of Customs may condition the release of personal effects on which duties exist, by depositing a bank guarantee or cash deposit, to ensure compliance with the conditions of exemption.
  3. Personal use - Goods imported or purchased by the beneficiary on which rights exist will be used personally in Israel for a period of at least six years from the date of release/purchase.
    Concerning a vehicle - for a period of 4 years and for personal use in Israel.
    Goods may not be made available to others before the end of the period, either temporarily or permanently, with or without consideration.
    Failure to comply with this condition constitutes a breach of the conditions of exemption. Proof of personal use of the cleared goods is also required, even if they have been released without a bond.
  4. Household management - To prove this condition, the entitled party must present a contract for the purchase/lease of a residential unit for a period of at least one year.
  5. Reasonable quantity - Up to 2 TVs and 2 PCs can be imported for each family.
    For other electrical and electronic appliances, as well as major furniture items - it is possible to import one item of each type.
  6. Release of goods - The release of the goods will be carried out by the rightful owner himself, or by a customs agent who has received a power of attorney from the rightful owner in accordance with the law.

Document presentation

A rightful claimant wishing to open a customs file must present the following documents:

  1. A certificate from the Ministry of Integration.
  2. A foreign passport including an immigration visa / an Israeli passport.
  3. If the beneficiary is married, he/she must present the spouse's passport.
  4. Proof of residence in the country - rental or purchase contract.
  5. To obtain a certificate of entitlement to a tax reduction on a vehicle, it is necessary to present a driving license issued by the country of origin and valid the day before entry into Israel, as well as a driving license valid in Israel.

Extension of the rights period.

Only in the following cases will the entitlement period be extended:

  • the immigrant has reported for compulsory military service during the entitlement period. The period of service (not including permanent career military service) is not counted, and the period of entitlement remaining before service extends after demobilization.
  • An immigrant who, within 18 months of entry, has begun studying as a regular student at a ״higher education institution ״, and whose period of study has been continuous and has not exceeded 5 years (for medicine and law, the period of study may be longer).
    The entitlement period will be extended by one year, starting from the end of studies. This period cannot be blocked or postponed, even if the student goes abroad immediately after completing his/her studies.
  • The immigrant who stays abroad for a continuous period of more than six months. The period of his stay abroad will not be considered a period of entitlement, and upon his return to Israel, the period remaining from the day before his trip abroad will be extended. (Does not apply to returning minors).

Information supplementales

Items whose importation is prohibited

The following are examples of items whose import is strictly prohibited

  1. Knives, with the exception of pocket knives and knives intended for professional use, in a workshop, in the workplace, for domestic purposes, or for any other legitimate purpose.
  2. Laser tachometer disrupter.
  3. Pen-like firearms, starter pistols, gas-powered weapons and more.
  4. Tear gas, in the form of a firearm.
  5. Gambling / betting prohibited.
  6. Explosives and flammable materials, living creatures such as vipers, and similar dangerous goods.
  7. Goods used in the preparation of a dangerous drug or for its consumption.

Items whose import is subject to approval by the competent authority :

There are many items whose importation is subject to compliance with criteria established from time to time by the competent authorities.
For example:

Mobile phones- Ministry of Communications.

Motorized scooters - Ministry of Transport.
In some cases, a detailed import authorization/license will also be required.

Before importing, it is advisable to check with the competent authority what criteria are valid, and whether an import authorization/license is required.

This article was published by the Israeli Ministry of the Treasury. You can read it in full here.

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