Returns and duty and tax refunds


Duty refunds on returns

Learn about duty exemptions on international returns.

In many cases, you can avoid paying duty on previously exported goods even when they’re not made in your country. This may come in handy for ecommerce returns or temporary exports; however, if the good’s value changes or gets improved or modified, you won’t be eligible for the duty exemption on an import.

Returns to the United States 

The United States (U.S.) allows duty exemption for previously imported articles. All you need is the right harmonized code and documentation.

Non-U.S.-made goods returning to the U.S.

  • Use 9801.00.26 as the HS code on the commercial invoice.
  • Must be within three years of export.
Non-U.S. made goods resource

See the CBP for more information on non-U.S. made goods.

U.S.-made goods returning to the U.S.

  • For products shipped from the U.S. to [foreign country], but [foreign country] wants to ship the item back to the U.S. as a U.S. import for free because it needs repair, the commercial invoice should include the description of the product and its repair, as well as the HS code 9801.00.1000.

    • The HS code 9801.00.10 classifies the goods as products shipped from the U.S. that were returned after being exported. It also indicates that the goods have not been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture or other means while abroad. This HS code is applicable when filing a claim at any time for U.S.-origin products. However, for foreign-origin products, there is a three-year time limit.
  • The U.S. has an 800 USD de minimus, the free entry may not be needed if the value is under 800 USD. However, U.S. Customs has the right to choose not to allow free entry.

  • Include the form CBP Declaration for Free Entry of American Products.


If the 9801.10.0000 HS code and value of the repair appears on the invoice, then retailers can ship a product back to a customer that has previously returned it to them (the U.S. retailer who originally exported the product) for repairs. This HS code will bypass additional duty and tax being collected by customs in the customer's country.

Returns to the EU 

The EU may offer Returned Goods Relief (RGR) on duty. VAT relief is available for EU to EU shipments but not for origins outside the EU.

Goods returning to the EU

  • Must be within three years of export.
  • If you purchased the goods from within the EU you may be able to claim back the VAT from the merchant as part of the total price for returned items.
  • If you purchased the goods from outside the European Union, VAT will not be refunded. You can claim a Customs duty refund if certain criteria are met.

Returns to the UK 

The UK offers Returned Goods Relief (RGR) and allows for total or partial relief from duty and VAT.

Goods returning to the UK 

Pay less Customs duty and VAT when returning goods to the UK

Carrier procedures for returns 

Visit the carrier pages below to learn how they handle international returns:

Frequently asked questions 

What is an HS code?

Learn more about HS codes by clicking here to read our blog post about HS codes.

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