During your travels within the European Union you should bear in mind that regulations have established transportation and import restrictions for certain types of goods.
Upon import of excise goods, which a person has acquired in free circulation in another EU member state for his/her consumption and for which all the taxes have been paid in the respective member state, the following allowances apply:
On tobacco products:
- 800 cigarettes;
- 400 cigarillos (cigars with less than 3 grams weight each);
- 200 cigars;
- 1 kilogram of smoking tobacco.
On alcoholic beverages:
- 110 litres of beer;
- 90 litres of wine (of which, a maximum of 60 litres of sparkling wine) or other fermented beverages;
- 20 litres of intermediate products (medium strong beverages);
- 10 litres of other alcoholic beverages (strong beverages).
On coffee – 10 kilograms.
On non-alcoholic beverages – 110 litres.
On fuel – quantity located within the standard fuel tank of a vehicle or a motorbike, as well as in a movable fuel tank with a capacity not exceeding 10 litres.
On liquid used in the electronic cigarette - the liquid with the total nicotine concentration 800 mg or not more than 800 ml of the liquid.
- Declaration of cash
Since 1 July 2019, the State Revenue Service (SRS) controls the flow of cash not only at the EU’s external border, as was the case previously, but also at the EU’s internal borders, incl. Latvia’s borders with Lithuania and Estonia. The aim is to prevent illegally obtained cash entering or leaving the Republic of Latvia, thereby strengthening the capacity to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and financing of proliferation (manufacture, storage, movement, use or distribution of weapons of mass destruction). The SRS Tax and Customs Police Board has been designated as the competent authority for the control of movement of cash across the EU’s internal borders, i.e. on the Latvian border with Lithuania and Estonia. Written declarations upon request by an official of the SRS Tax and Customs Police Board shall be lodged only by persons carrying cash in the amount of EUR 10 000 and more. The law does not provide that every traveller crossing the Latvian-Lithuanian or Latvian-Estonian border should be controlled.
What is cash?
Cash means banknotes and coins that have been put in circulation and are used as legal tender.
The following financial instruments:
- cheques, promissory notes, money orders and any financial instruments that are in bearer form or in such form that title thereto passes upon delivery to another person;
- incomplete cheques, promissory notes and money orders and other financial instruments entitling to holder to receive cash provided that they have been signed, but with the payee's name omitted.
How should cash be declared?
A natural person upon request by an official of the SRS Tax and Customs Police Board shall fill in a paper-based declaration provided by the official. The declaration shall include information regarding the following:
- the declarant;
- owner of the cash (where the declarant is carrying cash owned by another person);
- the intended recipient of the cash;
- type and amount of the cash;
- origin of the cash;
- intended purpose of use of the cash;
- route (the country from which the person is departing and the country of destination);
- mode of transport;
- place of border crossing.
What is the liability for failure to declare cash?
The obligation to declare shall not have been fulfilled if the information provided is incorrect or incomplete.
Failure to declare or false declaration of the fixed amount of cash upon crossing the EU’s internal border shall result in criminal liability pursuant to Paragraph 2 of Section 195.2 of the Criminal Law for failure to declare or false declaration of cash on a large scale which is brought into or out of the Republic of Latvia when crossing the State internal border, if the completion of the declaration of cash in accordance with the procedures laid down by the law has been requested by the official of the competent authority,— the applicable punishment is the deprivation of liberty for a period of up to two years or temporary deprivation of liberty, or community service, or a fine. If the criminal offence has been committed by an organised group, — the applicable punishment is the deprivation of liberty for a period of up to four years or temporary deprivation of liberty, or community service, or a fine.
The laws and regulations governing the controls of movement of cash
1) The Law On Declaration of Cash at the State Border;
2) Cabinet Regulation No 303 of 2 July 2019 Regulations Regarding the Cash Declaration Form, the Procedures for Filling in and Submission Thereof and Verification of the Provided Information.
- EU territories with other restrictions in force on goods transported within personal luggage
EU territories as defined in regulations, to which other restrictions apply regarding excise goods transportation in personal luggage:
- Aland Islands;
- Normandy Islands;
- within the Federal Republic of Germany – Helgoland Island, territory of Büsingen;
- within the Italian Republic – Livigno, Kampjoni d’Italia and Italian territorial waters of Lugano Lake;
- within the Kingdom of Spain – Ceuta, Melilla, and Canary Islands;
- within the French Republic – French Republic overseas departments.
(!) When travelling to or from the aforementioned territories, excise goods movement restrictions are applied as if travelling outside of the EU.
- What should you do if you want to import a greater amount of excise goods for personal use?
If larger quantities of goods than the aforementioned are imported into the European Union, the goods should be declared upon border crossing and excise duty should be paid at the internal SRS office for quantities exceeding the quota.
If you are importing goods into Latvia within the permissible allowances, and taxes have already been paid in other EU member state, you do not have to pay them again. Payment of taxes or duties is confirmed by purchase receipts, vouchers, etc. Import of defined quantities of aforementioned goods without tax payments can be made only for personal use – personal consumption or gifts.
If you are under 18 years old, you are not permitted to have a tobacco or alcoholic beverage allowance.
- What fine can be imposed for breaking the restrictions?
Pursuant to Section 23, Paragraph seven of the Law On Excise Duties, a natural person or a legal person bringing in or receiving excisable goods from another EU Member State in the Republic of Latvia, which have already been released into free circulation in another Member State, shall pay the calculated excise duty into the State budget not later than within the next five working days after bringing in or receipt of the excisable goods in the Republic of Latvia, or prior to the dispatch of the relevant excisable goods from another Member State, except the case referred to in Section 21, Paragraph three of this Law (i.e., when a natural person brings in goods for his or her own consumption). Pursuant to Paragraph five of Cabinet Regulation No. 227 of 1 April 2004 Procedures by which Excisable Goods Imported by Natural Persons for Their Own Consumption into the Republic of Latvia from Other Member States of the European Union shall be Exempt from Excise Duty, for excisable goods that are not exempt from excise duty, in accordance with Paragraph four of the Regulations, i.e., if excisable goods are brought in for commercial purposes or if documents or other signs indicate that such goods are intended for commercial activities, the excise duty shall be paid by the possessor of the relevant goods, in accordance with the Law On Excise Duties.
In accordance with provisions of Section 35 of the Law “On Excise Tax”, a warning or a fine of up to one hundred and forty units of fine (i.e. up to 700 euros) shall be imposed on a natural person for violations of the rules on the movement of excisable goods.
- Which legislative acts establish restrictions for movable goods?
Cabinet of Ministers Regulations No 227 of 1 April 2004: Procedures by which Excisable Goods Imported by Natural Persons for Their Own Consumption into the Republic of Latvia from Other Member States of the European Union shall be Exempt from Excise Duty.