Sending Your Australian Gift to Germany – Our Advice!
Please note as of mid 2019, we are no longer sending our gifts directly to Germany.
This is because of prohibitively high duties and taxes charged, even on gifts; as well as additional customer identification requirements for the receiver in Germany; and the strictest customs rules outside Australia we’ve experienced.
However if you want to send the best Australian gift possible to Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and more, you can still do it yourself via Australia Post.
Here’s some advice – take it from us as we’ve sent 100s of Australian gifts to Germany in the past!
Please also note, this information below is correct at the time of publishing this article, but is subject to change at any time. Use this as a general guide only.
Read our full advice below, or to jump straight to the section you’re after click on one of these links.
Anything but alcohol …
We would not recommend sending alcohol to Germany .
Yup – sorry.
Even Australia Post will not send alcohol through their postal system, so this is prohibited.
If you want to send wine or other beers/spirits, you will have to go via a courier like Fedex or DHL.
Even though technically with a courier alcohol is allowed, very steep duties and taxes will be charged.
These taxes and/or duties are charged based on the ALC/VOL % of your chosen wine, beer, or spirit, and also the volume of alcohol you send.
So a bottle of Bundaberg Rum will cost a lot more than a bottle of wine, because of the much higher ALC/VOL concentration, for example.
It can get expensive.
In addition to this, the inclusion of alcohol in your gift will likely trigger a customs inspection, which will further delay your gifts delivery.
This delay can be a frustrating experience, as German customs will likely then ask either you or the receiver to provide further information in a very specific format.
It is also worth noting that, unless you stipulate otherwise, the receiver of the alcohol will need to pay these duties & taxes in order to collect your gift.
See more in the Fedex international shipping guide here for info.
If you are wanting to send just wine, we’d recommend contacting your local winery who are more adept and have proper channels for sending these overseas.
Some advice on Sending gifts to Germany yourself
You can send gifts to Germany via Australia Post.
We recommend you do these 4 things:-
1. What to send
Don’t send perishable food or alcohol (see above), or any kind of flowers, wood or botanical products.
You can see all our lightweight Australian gifts here.
A list of all restrictions and prohibitions to Germany can be found on the Australia Post website here.
2. Consider the weight AND physical size of what you send
Like all freight carriers, Australia Post will charge shipping based on either the actual weight of your parcel; OR what they call ‘dimensional weight’ or ‘cubic weight’ – which translates into how big it is.
The dimensional weight is the height x width x depth of the outer dimensions of your parcel in cm, divided by 6,000.
So if you’re sending a feather, but you put it in a box that is 30 cm x 30cm x 20cm, this equates to a dimensional (or cubic) weight of 3kg. You will therefore be charged for a 3kg parcel.
Weight can really add up to extra postage costs, so it’s worth making sure your parcel is not only light, but as small as physically possible to send.
See all our lightweight Australian gifts here.
Check out this link for more about dimensional weight from Australia Post here.
See here for the dimensional weight calculations for other international couriers. (they’re different).
3. The $value of your gift
At the time of publishing this article, the exempt value for taxes/duties payable on gifts to Germany was under 45 Euro*.
So make sure your gift is under that!
*Please note this may change at any time so is by no means a definitive guide. You need to check the French customs website for the latest information, and you’ll want to check the current exchange rate of AUD to Euro.
When you send a parcel overseas, you have to declare what is in it, and the value of what is in it.
As well as making sure you are not sending anything you can’t, or that will cause issues (see ‘what to send’ above), you should also make sure you state what you are sending is a ‘gift for personal use only’.
This is because different conditions apply to gifts, and low value gifts are usually exempt from taxes & duties. HOWEVER, if you are sending a gift and it is over, say, $200 in value, and it gets stopped by customs – the receiver will still be liable to pay taxes and duties in order to collect it, because it is over the tax-free threshold of gifts.
For Germany, current guidance is to keep the gift under 45 Euros in value.
Duties and taxes on alcohol are generally applied irrespective if the item is a gift or not.
Also – be careful not to describe your goods as anything that could be interpreted as alcohol or any prohibited items. For example, if you send a tea towel with a wine design on it, don’t call it a ‘wine tea towel!’.
In addition, German customs are the strictest we’ve ever seen in relation to the description of gifts. We’ve sent tea over there and described it as 50g of Tea, but because it was not clear if it was tea bags or loose leaf tea, they wanted further clarification (!).
If you are sending via Australia Post, your parcel will end up going through the equivalent national German Postal system. Going via this method, there is only a 5-10% chance your gift will go through a customs processing and a check to pay taxes and duties. This is because of the high volume of post they process, especially at holiday times like Christmas.
So you may get away with not paying duties or taxes that are due!
However if it is one of the 5% – 10% that get stopped, the receiver is going to have to pay duties and taxes unless you declare a very low value of the goods; make sure there’s no perishable food or alcohol or the items listed above; and make sure it’s marked as a ‘gift for personal use only’.
It is also likely that the receiver may have to show their ‘Tax ID’ to collect the gift.
Lately items to Germany are going through extra scrutiny.
We have noticed this with most other Western European destinations like France, Austria and Switzerland too.
You need to make sure you have given a local phone number and ideally an email address for the receiver in case German customs needs to get in touch with them to clarify any information.
This also shows your gift is going to a legitimate German recipient.
In addition, it helps if the receiver is not home when the gift is delivered to provide information to help get in touch.
7. NEED MORE ADVICE – HERE’s our FAQ
Don’t send perishable food, alcohol, or botanical items to Germany. In addition toys are subject to restrictions; as are a number of other expected items like weapons and chemicals. For the full list see here
If you are sending items via an International Courier, they will, 100% of the time, get processed for customs duties and taxes as applicable in Germany.
If you are sending via Australia Post, your parcel will end up going through the equivalent national German Postal system. Going via this method, there is only a 5-10% chance your gift will go through a customs processing and check to pay taxes and duties. This is because of the high volume of post they process, especially at holiday times like Christmas.
So you may be fine!
However if it is one of the 5% – 10% that get stopped, the receiver is going to have to pay duties and taxes in order to receive your gift; unless you declare a very low value of the goods; make sure it’s not food or alcohol or the items listed above; and make sure it’s marked as a ‘gift for personal use only’.
Yes – if they are alcohol, or are declared to be over the value of 45 Euro, customs duties and taxes will apply.
If there is no alcohol or restricted items; and the value of the gift is less than 45 Euro, you should not have to pay duties and taxes.
You can avoid paying duties or taxes on gifts to France by declaring your gift as a ‘gift – for personal use only’; not including acohol; and ensuring the value (and declared value) is less than 45 Euro.