Customs officers, Miguel and Verola, often come across items in travellers’ luggage that are not quite legal. “You better delve into the regulations before you go on holiday.”

Every day, Customs officers, Miguel and Verola, see many thousands of vacationers returning from the most exotic destinations. Tired from their long journey, they usually only want one thing: to get home quickly. What they certainly do not want is a problem at Customs. Nevertheless, some people are held up there. And if they are unlucky, they also have a financial setback to deal with. This is because Customs staff often come across items in suitcases and backpacks that are not quite legal. There is, however, rarely a question of intent: many travellers simply barely know, if at all, what they can and cannot take with them to the Netherlands. Even though the rules on that topic are very easy to find...

“Those who delve into the regulations before they go on holiday can save themselves a lot of trouble afterwards,” says Verola. “For example, if you are not aware of the exemption regulation of 430 Euros for goods from outside the EU and you are going to do luxury shopping while on a distant city trip, then you can have some unpleasant surprises when you return. Buying valuable watches, brand-name purses and designer clothing abroad and claiming a tax refund there might seem beneficial. But when your luggage is then checked here and we find that stuff, then you still have to pay tax on it. And you get a good-sized fine on top of that. In the end, it will cost you more. Therefore, if you bring in too much, always report this to the Customs officials. You will have to pay tax, but in any case will you not be fined.”

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