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SENDING YOUR AUSTRALIAN GIFT TO FRANCE – OUR ADVICE!

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WHAT WE SEND …

Please note as of early 2019, we are no longer sending our gifts directly to France.

This is because of prohibitively high duties and taxes charged, even on gifts; as well as restrictions on all food; and difficulties with customs processing via a courier.

However if you want to send the best Australian gift possible to Paris, Marseille, Lyon, 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 France 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. Please 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.

  1. WHAT TYPE OF GIFTS TO SEND TO FRANCE

  2. WEIGHT AND PACKAGING CONSIDERATIONS

  3. THE VALUE OF YOUR GIFT

  4. ADVICE ON CUSTOMS FORM COMPLETION 

  5. HOW ITEMS WILL CLEAR CUSTOMS

  6. ANY OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

  7. FAQ


ANYTHING BUT FOOD OR ALCOHOL …

We would not recommend sending food of any kind to France.

No food

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Yup – sorry.

Not even Tim Tams.

This is because the French Postal Service no longer allows any kind of food (perishable or non-perishable) into the country without an independent broker to clear it. There are only 2 nominated French independent brokers who can be used; who must be paid for in France by the receiver. This can cost upwards of $100 even for a packet of Tim Tams! 

We are aware of some competitors still sending food, however we believe it is not being declared as food, which is why it might get through this loophole. We will not do that because it will cause issues if stopped for inspection and delay your gift (or have it confiscated by customs).

No alcohol

send australian wine overseas as a gift

Similar to food, even Australia Post will not send alcohol through their postal system, so this is prohibited. If you want to send wine, you will have to go via a courier like Fedex or DHL.

Quantities are recommended to be no more than 6 x 750mL bottles of wine.

Please note that you will be charged taxes & duties on all alcohol entering France via a courier, regardless of its value.

It can get expensive.

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 FRANCE YOURSELF

You can send gifts to France via Australia Post.

We recommend you do these 4 things:-


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    1. WHAT TO SEND

Don’t send food or alcohol (see above), or any kind of flowers, wood or botanical products.

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In addition, items like soaps and handcreams can cause issues if they have botanical ingredients, and this may cause delays in customs. Generally, we wouldn’t send them.

The best types of things to send are tea towels, scarves, mugs, ties, socks, and stationery.

You can see all our lightweight Australian gifts here.

A list of all restrictions and prohibitions to France can be found on the Australia Post website here: https://auspost.com.au/sending/send-overseas/international-post-guide/results/france

 


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    2. CONSIDER THE WEIGHT AND PHYSICAL SIZE OF WHAT YOU SEND

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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. 

Speaker gifts australian conference and events
Similarly, if you have a 10kg item that fits into the box above, you will be charged for 10kg (not 3kg), as this is the ‘heavier’.

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.

For this reason, our scarves, ties and socks make great gifts to France! 

See all our lightweight Australian gifts here

See more about dimensional weight from Australia Post here

See here for the dimensional weight calculations for other international couriers. (they’re different).


THE $VALUE OF YOUR GIFT

At the time of publishing this article, the exempt value for taxes/duties payable on gifts 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. 


  • 4. FILL IN THE CUSTOMS FORMS PROPERLY

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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.

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!’. 


HOW DO ITEMS CLEAR CUSTOMS IN FRANCE?

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If you are sending items via an International Courier, they will, 100% of the time, get processed for customs duties and taxes as applicable.

If you are sending via Australia Post, your parcel will end up going through the equivalent national  French 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 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’.


ANY SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS?

Wattle

Lately items to France are going through extra security.

We have noticed this with most other Western European destinations like Germany, 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 French customs needs to get in touch with them to clarify any information.

This also shows your gift is going to a legitimate French recipient.

In addition, it helps if the receiver is not home when the gift is delivered to provide information to help get in touch.


 

NEED MORE ADVICE – HERE’S OUR FAQ

What type of gifts can I send to France?

The best types of Australian Gifts to send are tea towelsscarvesmugstiessocks, and stationery.
You can see all our lightweight Australian gifts here.

What gifts shouldn’t I send to France?

Don’t send food, alcohol, or botanical items to France. 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

How do Australian gifts clear French Customs?

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 France.
If you are sending via Australia Post, your parcel will end up going through the equivalent national  French 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’.

Do I have to pay duties and taxes on gifts from Australia to France?

Yes – if they are alcohol, or are declared to be over the value of 45 Euro, customs duties and taxes will apply.

How do I avoid paying duties and taxes on gifts from Australia to France?

You can avoid paying duties or taxes on gifts to France by declaring your gift as a ‘gift – for personal use only’, and ensuring the value (and declared value) is less than 45 Euro.

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