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Why have I been charged Duty & VAT for samples?

If you have received a charge on your shipment containing samples, it may be due to the sample not meeting Custom's definition of a commercial sample.  A commercial sample is a small part of a product intended to show what the whole item is like and is of no resale value (e.g. mutilated, single gloves etc.) Samples are sent to gain further orders for similar goods.

In Portugal samples of goods can be imported free from Duty and VAT only if:

  • The importer has an EORI number
  • The product can only be used in order to demonstrate the characteristics of the goods
  • Are of a negligible value
  • Are imported solely with the intention to obtain future orders for the type of goods that they represent
  • Of a limited quantity
  • Are torn, perforated, slashed, defaced or marked in indelible marking as a "Sample"
  • Are declared as a sample on the Air Waybill and/or Commercial Invoice

You cannot get relief from Excise Duty under the above but alternative reliefs may be available such as samples for examination, analysis, testing or trade show giveaways.

If you believe that your shipment has been Customs cleared incorrectly please send an email to Customer Service:

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This Q&A is provided for information only and the answers do not have a contractual value. For additional information, you can refer to FedEx Conditions of Carriage for EMEA available at

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FedEx is represented in Portugal by a nominated Service Contractor. For more information about the FedEx services available from Portugal please use the contact details below.

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Telephone: + 707 100 869

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Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays Closed.

Service Available: Import/Export

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