By Robert Szostek, U.S. Army Customs Agency – Europe Public Affairs
WIESBADEN, Germany – U.S. law imposes a tax on imported foreign goods called duty. For U.S. personnel overseas, that means gifts sent to the States may be subject to this tax.
Foreign-made gifts are allowed duty-free entry if their retail value is under $100 and the recipient does not receive over $100 worth of foreign gifts in one day. If such a gift is over $100, the entire amount is subject to duty and a customs processing fee. Only the recipient can pay the duty and the fee.
However, American-made gifts are duty-free if they were not altered abroad in a way that increased their value.
“Many people think that gifts bought in military exchanges can go to the States duty-free,” said Mike Dean, director of the European Command’s Customs and Border Clearance Agency, “but this is not necessarily true. The items have to be American-made to gain duty-free entry.”
The Know Before You Go page at the Customs and Border Protection website has more useful information.