Kefipedia

Import Customs and VAT Tax Information

Tax Chart for Import

These are the taxes for personal import without rights. The source is the Israel government web site.

The right hand column is for goods brought from the US and made in the US or from Europe and made in Europe AND accompanied by a certificate of origin or a Euro1.

When you purchase and ship through Kef, we can take care of getting those documents. The left column is when any of those conditions is not met.

Listing of Combined Duties (including VAT) on Personally Imported Goods:

 

Without Certificate of Origin    With Certificate of Origin

Accordion 31% 17%
Air conditioner 51% 35%
Amateur transmitter and receiver (Ham radio) 27% 17%
Amateur transmitter without receiver 27% 17%
Answering machine 35% 35%
Assorted foodstuffs upto 15 kg
Baby carriage/ stroller 31% 17%
Bathroom scale 29% 17%
Bedding/linens 35% + 2.93 NIS per kilogram 17%
Beer 115% 92%
Bicycle (no electrical bikes allowed) 17% 17%
Binoculars 31% 17%
Blankets 35% + 1.12 NIS per kilogram 17%
Body massager 31% 17%
Books 17% 17%
Calculator 17% 17%
Camera 17% 17%
Camera - digital 17% 17%
Camera - video 17% 17%
Camera film 17% 17%
Camera lens 17% 17%
Car parts 84% 73%
Car radar detector 17% 17%
Car radio w/CD 70% 70%
Car seat - infant/child 31% 17%
Cat 17% 17%
CD-Wrtiter 17% 17%
Charcoal (for barbecues) 24% 17%
Cleaning detergent 41% 26%
Clothes dryer 62% 47%
Clothing 31% 17%
Coffee grinder 31% 17%
Coffee Maker 31% 17%
Compact disk 70% 70%
Compact disc (audio only) 23% 17%
Compact disk - portable 70% 70%
Computer - laptop / notebook 17% 17%
Computer - personal (PC) 17% 17%
Computer printer 17% 17%
Computer scanner 17% 17%
Cooking burners - electric 62% 45%
Cooking burners - gas 62% 45%
Cooking vent 61% 43%
Cordless Microphone 27% 17%
Cosmetics & toiletries 49% 33%
Curtains 35% + 1.81 NIS per kilogram 17%
Decorations 17% 17%
Dishwasher 50% 43%
Diskette (Non-recorded) 17% 17%
Diskman 17% 17%
Dog 17% 17%
Drums 31% 17%
DVD player 70% 70%
Earphones 31% 17%
Electric blanket 35% + 2.38 NIS per kilogram 17%
Electric drill 17% 17%
Electric freezer 61% 43%
Electric Guitar 31% 17%
Electric houseware items 31% 17%
Electric kettle 31% 17%
Electric organ/keyboard 31% 17%
Electric pot / crock pot 31% 17%
Electric sheet 31% 17%
Electric toothbrush 26% 17%
Electronic diary 17% 17%
Exercise bicycle 17% 17%
Exotic birds 31% 31%
Eye glasses 31% 17%
Fan 31% 17%
Fax machine 29% 29%
Fish (for an aquarium) 31% 31%
Fishing equipment 17% 17%
Flatware - silver 31% 17%
Floor polisher 61% 43%
Food platter (Shabbat warmer) 31% 17%
Food processor 31% 17%
Footwear 31% 17%
Furniture - from plastic 31% 17%
Furniture - wooden / metal 31% 17%
Garbage disposal 31% 17%
Grill - charcoal 31% 17%
Grill - electric 62% 45%
Grill - gas barbecue 62% 45%
Guitar / Mandolin 31% 17%
Hair dryer/fan 31% 17%
Hand bags / travel bags 31% 17%
Hand lawn mower 29% 17%
Harmonica 31% 17%
Heater - electric 31% 17%
Heater - gas 31% 17%
Heater - kerosene 29% 17%
Heater - wood 31% 17%
Helmets 17% 17%
Houseware items 31% 17%
Humidifier 31% 17%
Iron 29% 17%
Jewelry - costume 26% 17%
Jewelry - gold 31% 17%
Jewelry - silver 31% 17%
Knitting machine 24% 17%
Light meter 31% 17%
Lighter 26% 17%
Microphone 70% 70%
Microwave 61% 43%
Motorized lawn mower 17% 17%
Nargila (water pipe) 31% 17%
Newspapers / magazines 17% 17%
Oven 62% 45%
Pens 31% 17%
Percolator / coffee maker 31% 17%
Photocopier 17% 17%
Piano 31% 17%
Pipe tobacco 39% + 15.21 NIS per kilogram 17%
Portable radio/tape player 70% 70%
Portable transmitter 27% 17%
Posters 31% 17%
Radio 70% 70%
Refrigerator 170-500 liter 63% 46%
Refrigerator over 500 liter 63% 46%
Refrigerator up to 170 liter 90% 70%
Remote control 70% 70%
Rug/carpeting - hand woven 12.47 + 22 NIS per Sq Mete 59%
Rug/carpeting - machine woven 12.47 + 22 NIS per Sq Mete 17%
Saddle 29% 17%
Saw - electric 29% 17%
Saw - gas fueled 26% 17%
Saxophone 31% 17%
Sewing machine 31% 17%
Shaver 17% 17%
Shaving razors 29% 17%
Sink - ceramic 52% 36%
Sink - stainless steel 49% 36%
Skiing equipment 29% 17%
Slide projector 17% 17%
Soft drinks 31% 17%
Speakers 70% 70%
Speakers 70% 70%
Speakers - car stereo 70% 70%
Speakers - for car 70% 70%
Sports equipment 29% 17%
Stereo console 70% 70%
Stringed instrument with bow 31% 17%
Strobe light 17% 17%
Tablecloth 35% + 2.93 NIS per kilogram 17%
Tape recorder 70% 70%
Tape recorder - portable 70% 70%
Tapes - audio 17% 17%
Tapes - video 20% 17%
Telephone - cellular 51% 35%
Telephone - cordless 35% 35%
Telephone - standard 46% 35%
Telescope 31% 17%
Television (above 21") 70% 70%
Television (not more than 21") 70% 70%
Television games 31% 17%
Tennis ball 17% 17%
Tent 31% 17%
Toaster 31% 17%
Towels 35% + 1.81 NIS per kilogram 17%
Toys/ games 31% 17%
Typewriter 17% 17%
Vacuum cleaner 61% 43%
Video player (VCR) 70% 70%
Video projector screen 70% 70%
Vodka 286% + 3.42NIS per liter 242%
Walkman (without recording) 17% 17%
Walkman +radio (without recording 17% 17%
Washing machine 62% 47%
Watches 19% 17%
Whiskey 293% + 2.46 NIS per liter 242%
Wind instruments 31% 17%
Wine 66% + 1.58 NIS per liter 66%
Wine - sparkling / champagne 151% + 1.37 NIS per liter 151% + 1.37 NIS per liter
Tax-Free Items
Tax Free Items
CD/DVD/Media
2 Computers with accessories
2 Televisions
Bicycle (NON-electric, one per person)
Clothing
Dishwasher
Dryer
Furniture
Household goods
Kitchen dishes, utensils, small appliances
Linens
Oven
Pictures & Decorations
Refrigerator
Washer
Permitted & taxable, according to packing list description.
Charcoal BBQ
Building supplies
Camping equipment
Fax machine (only fax)
Gas BBQ (requires license)
Non-household goods
Outdoor furniture and swings
Ping pong table
Pool table
Sports equipment
Forbidden Items
Alcohol (if loaded already, then not on packing list)
Corrosive materials
Explosives / Flammable materials
Firearms & Hunting knives
Food (if loaded already, then not on packing list)
Gas BBQ (used)
Tax-Free Items

New Immigrants

As a new immigrant, you may bring three shipments of appliances and household goods into Israel TAX-FREE from ANY COUNTRY.  (See list below)   Items brought with you on the plane are not considered as one of your shipments if you are receiving your Teudat Oleh (immigration certificate) at the airport.  Olim can also buy an Israeli made refrigerator and air conditioner tax-free and import a car (any age) with a significant reduction in taxes. There are no longer rights on Israeli-made furniture.  Electric bikes cannot be imported without a very extensive licensing procedure;  do not include one in your shipment.

Returning Residents

There are now two classes of returning residents: those who spent two years out of the country and those who spent six years. Those who spent six years have the same import/customs rights as new immigrants, except they have no tax reduction on a car. Rights include tax-exempt importation of appliances and household goods. (List below.) Those who stayed out for more than two but less than six years have rights for household goods only and for appliances that do not have sales tax on them, such as washer, dryer, oven, fridge, and dishwasher. Both categories of returning residents have rights for two shipments from any country within nine months of their return.

Returning residents cannot have spent more than four months total in Israel each year. A new immigrant who spends six years in Israel after receiving his last tax-free shipment and leaves for two years can become a returning resident.

For a list of tax-free items, see below.

 

Tax Privileges for everyone, not only olim and returning residents

You may have certain tax privileges based on the free trade or common market agreements.  You can make use of these additional privileges only with a certificate of origin for each of the individual items. An invoice marked "Made in the USA" (or "Made in Europe" for goods of European origin) is necessary in order to obtain a certificate of origin. It is the Importer's responsibility to supply such invoices and request the certificate from Kef.

 

Certificate of Origin for taxable items made in and shipped from the US, or made in and shipped from Europe

$75 per supplier

 

If you are planning to purchase appliances or furniture in the US or Canada for immediate export to Israel, Kef can also provide you with a letter to avoid the relevant sales tax. Please contact Kef with details before making your purchase.

VAT

Value-added-tax (17%) must be paid on all services rendered in Israel. When the Customs booklets state that appliances for new immigrants are exempt from VAT, this refers to the cost of buying, insuring, and shipping foreign appliances and to the purchase of Israeli appliances. Olim should still expect to pay VAT on customs clearing, delivery, installation, service contract, and the commissions of a personal import agent.

Household Effects

Olim and Returnees (more than 2 years out) are entitled to bring tax-free: cooking utensils, pots, pans, flatware, china, dishes (everyday, fancy, Pesach -- each for meat, dairy and parve!), one musical instrument, bedding, clothing, up to 50 recorded audio cassettes (20 videotapes), up to 200 records/CDs/DVDs, jewelry and personal effects including as much furniture as is appropriate to their living space. Olim can also bring 30 meters of carpet tax-free if they are renting. If they own the apartment, they may bring up to 70% of the total area in wall-to-wall or 25% in area carpets. Note that the Customs Guide says 25% overall. Much depends on the port and customs agent.

Appliances

Olim and Returnees (more than 6 years out) are entitled to bring tax-free one of each of the following for home use: refrigerator, oven (free-standing or built-in with stove top), 2 televisions , washing machine, stereo - tuner, amplifier, CD or turntable, cassette deck, and two pair of speakers or a home theatre speaker set, microwave, dishwasher, dryer, freezer, and VCR or DVD. Olim can also purchase an Israeli-made refrigerator and air conditioner. Returnees out for only 2 years can bring items listed except those with sales tax, such as TV, dishwasher, and dryer.

Olim and Returnees (more than 6 years out) also have privileges on one of each of the following: 2 computers (including monitor and printer), food processor, radio, vacuum cleaner, sewing machine, iron, bicycle, hair dryer, slide projector, knitting machine, coffee grinder, alarm clock-radio, vaporizer, toaster, toaster oven, mixer, citrus juicer, vegetable juicer, crepe maker, ice-cream maker, portable word processor, electric kettle, hand power tools, meat grinder, hot water urn, coffee maker, deep fryer, popcorn maker, espresso machine, rug shampooer, floor polisher, can opener, electric knife, answering machine, electric skillet, electric blanket, garbage disposal, hot water dispenser, and two or three of each of the following: fans, heaters, telephones.

 

**When you purchase appliances through Kef, there is a zero deductible on marine insurance.

Small Appliances

Late-model small appliances may work with no problem on a transformer. For a kitchen full of new American small 110-volt appliances, you can install one transformer into a cabinet with a multi-socket connected just below it. Timers or clocks may not be accurate, though, since they use the frequency (hertz, cycles) of the current to keep time. Many small appliances still sell for twice as much in Israel as in the USA, so it is worthwhile checking. See Israel prices at www.zap.co.il. Likely not worth importing: hand drills, battery chargers, fans, small fan-heaters, small radiator heaters, and toaster ovens. Likely still worth importing:   electric toothbrush, shaver, hair dryer, slow cooker, hand power tools (jigsaw, circular saw), dehumidifier, blender, keyboard, air purifier.

Remember: Transformers should never be kept on the counter level or near water. The following chart is transformer wattage, size, and cost per year if plugged in all the time.

Watts Cost/year if plugged in all the time Size
300 $ 25 2"x2"x 2"
500 $ 42 3"x3"x 3"
1000 $ 83 6"x6"xx6"

Don't even think of using a transformer with...

  • Air conditioners: better to get a TAX-FREE split unit in Israel.
  • Heating devices: toasters, toaster ovens, heaters, and irons. The transformer will weigh and cost more than the appliances. (For something that is going to stay on for less than 90 seconds, you could use a converter, which is a small, usually light colored box that says ‘up to 1500 watts”.) Some people have used one big transformer for all their small appliances including heating devices. In that case, it’s important to install a switch so that the transformer does not stay on all the time. This saves electricity and makes it less likely that turning the transformer on will ‘flop your fuses’.
  • Vacuum cleaners, dishwashers.
  • Washers and dryers...though from time to time we have sold domestic US washers, dryers, and US washer/dryer combinations such as the stacked Maytag washer/gas dryer and installed them with transformers. They seem to work fine.
  • TV, VCR, DVD: A US VCR will work on transformer, but only if it is 50/60 hertz and only for US tapes played on a US or multi-system TV. Same for a US DVD. There are many US-system DVD system recordings available in the video/DVD libraries in Israel. Also some of the US DVD players can be reprogrammed to accept any non-US DVD recordings.
Cars

Note: When clearing a car through customs, delays are expensive.  Be sure you have all your documents well in advance.

Olim have rights to bring one vehicle (car or motorcycle) from any country within 3 years of their aliya. US cars must come via the US, and European cars via Europe, Japanese car via Japan. Cars of all sizes are taxed at the same rate.

Taxes are about 77% (instead of 127-144%) of the value at origin less depreciation plus shipping. Depreciation is about 20% for the first year and 10% for each year following to a maximum of 80% after 10 years. Olim can bring cars of any age or description, but they must be able to get the local commercial importer, or a local, qualified garage to give a letter stating that they are willing to provide service and parts (not necessarily quickly or for free.)  They must also have the ESP stabilization system, which is only available on cars after 2001.   Olim must have acquired an Israeli license and have a valid foreign license, which they had for at least 3 years.

Returning residents who have been abroad for more than two years no longer have any rights on automobiles.

A car does not count as one of the tax-free shipments. Olim have no special reduction on hybrid cars, since everyone pays only 77%. Tourists and students pay no taxes, but tourists must take the car (and themselves) out of the country every year for 3 months. Students can keep the car, as long as they keep the status.

 

Worth importing:  A vehicle that is not available in Israel and has features that you need,  a car that you have a strong sentimental attachment to or that you feel might give the kids something familiar, very high end cars.

Business Shipments

Self-employed professionals or business people owning at least half of their operation are entitled to as much as $36,000 worth of professional equipment from any country tax-free, with a bank guarantee for the taxes. This will not be counted as one of the three personal shipments described above, but will require a bank guarantee. A bank guarantee is a time-limited letter from your bank to Customs guaranteeing payment if the goods are not installed in your business. You cannot import goods that are for resale or for use and disposal. These days it’s less often worthwhile to deal with tax-free business shipments, because taxes for industrial and office equipment tend to be limited to VAT, which businesses receive back from the government.

Bringing Gifts

Every person over 2, regardless of status, is entitled to bring in up to $200 worth of gifts each time she re-enters the country. If you are stopped by Customs, don't make the mistake of declaring that you are importing something as a new immigrant that you could have brought in as a gift, since this will be counted as one of your three shipments.

Time Limits & Extensions

Your goods must arrive in Israel within three years of your date of aliya, i.e. the day you changed your status to Oleh or Temporary Resident. If you served in the army (sadir) for at least six months, that time period will not be included in your three years of tax-free rights. Rights will also be frozen if you spend at least six months and a day uninterrupted out of the country following your change of status. This rule, however, does not apply to returning minors. If you enroll full time in a post-secondary school, college or yeshiva recognized by the Student Authority within 1 1/2 years of your arrival, your rights may be extended to one year after you finish your studies. The limit is 5 years of study. If you come as a tourist, your three years of rights usually begin when you change your status, unless you were a working tourist. This applies to shipping rights only. Check with the relevant authorities regarding other Oleh rights, such as sal klita.

As mentioned, goods must arrive in Israel on or before the third anniversary of your change for Olim and 9 months after for Returing Residents.  They do not have to be cleared through Customs by that date, yet they must arrive in port. Customs allows an extension for one reason only: a shipping strike. Customs will usually grant permission to buy an Israeli-made refrigerator and air conditioner tax-free in the 4th year, if you purchased or imported no major appliances during the first three years.

If your goods arrive after your import privileges expire, you will be required to pay FULL TAXES. No customs tax is charged on American-made goods shipped from America or European goods shipped from Europe providing they are accompanied by the proper certificate—but there is still VAT and luxury tax to pay.

Clearing Date

Goods must arrive in Israel on or before the third anniversary of your change in status. They do not have to be cleared through Customs by that date, yet they must arrive in port. Customs allows an extension for one reason only: a shipping strike. Customs will usually grant permission to buy an Israeli-made refrigerator and air conditioner tax-free in the 4th year, if you purchased or imported no major appliances during the first three years.

Late Shipments

If your goods arrive after your import privileges expire, you will be required to pay FULL TAXES. No customs tax is charged on American-made goods shipped from America or European goods shipped from Europe providing they are accompanied by the proper certificate—but there is still VAT and luxury tax to pay.

Tax rates With Certificate of Origin
or Euro 1
Without certificate
TV/VCR/Stereo 33% 33%
Oven/Washer/Dryer 15.50% 25%
Microwave/Dishwasher/Refrigerator/Furniture 15.50% 25%
US/European Cars 128% 128%
Japanese cars 144% 144%
Hybrids cars 77% 77%

 

*The tax on used furniture works out to $2.30/cubic foot. Taxes on appliances are levied on the sum of the price at origin, shipping, and marine insurance.

Oleh Marriage

When an oleh marries an olah  who has used tax-free privileges within the last six years, their shipments are added together, with the permitted total remaining at three. The oleh can only bring in goods that his spouse did not. It is no longer the case that if your spouse used her rights over six years ago and spent the next six years in Israel, you have a complete set of rights. There still may be some leniency in this matter -- check with us first. If a shipment is arriving near your marriage date and you have a problem with overlapping purchases or too many shipments, your shipment must be cleared through Customs before you are married. A returning resident who marries an olah forms an oleh family with the full tax and customs rights.