International shipping customs fees and duties | Europe and worldwide
Shipments travelling to and from any country outside of the European Union undergo customs, which in some instances can mean paying additional customs clearance costs such as taxes and duties. Even though shipments travelling Europe are not subject to customs fees, there may be some exceptions. Additionally, goods that travel from abroad, outside of the EU undergo customs duties and charges, even if they are declared gifts. Find out everything you need to know about taxes, customs procedures, the required documentation and how to calculate the declared value of goods.
DUTIES AND TAXES
Shipping in Europe: Customs clearance costs
The European Union is a customs-free zone. Goods produced in member states of the EU, or any other country with specific contracts for free circulation of goods, will not be subject to customs charges. In most cases, when shipping within the European Union, there are no additional customs clearance fees.
Paying European Union customs clearance fees – The exceptions
Different rules may apply to goods subject to a state monopoly, which is the case with alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. Depending on the local legislation, some goods may be forbidden to leave or enter a specific country.
Customs clearance – Exemption of paying duties and tax in the European Union
There are several cases in which one can be exempted from payment of customs duties for your international shipping during the customs clearance procedures on your international parcel:
- When a parcel is marked as a gift, and its value does not exceed €45, it is sent between two private persons and is for personal use. Those parcels exceeding this amount will be subject to charges.
- Commercial goods whose value does not exceed €150 are exempt from customs duty.
- There is also a possibility of exemption from customs duty on international parcels if you deal with items subject to the so-called zero duty rate.
From the 1st of July 2021, import VAT is payable for all consignments entering the EU, regardless of the value.
How much tax and customs duties do I have to pay when shipping outside of the EU?
You pay for VAT and customs duties on some international parcels for specific goods when shipping outside of the EU. Every country has distinct and different regulations, so we advise you to check in detail with the importing and exporting countries.
- The VAT is calculated based on the total cost of specific goods and the country regulations.
- The applied customs duties are calculated based on the value of the goods, the customs tariff and the origin of the goods.
Calculation of the declared value for customs when shipping
When shipping internationally, the declared value of the goods is essential for the customs officers when imposing customs duties. It depends on the country regulations, but in general, when shipping internationally, the declared value for customs is calculated based on the following methods:
- The purchasing price of the goods;
- Identical goods produced in the importing country;
- Similar goods, produced in the importing country;
- The selling price of the goods;
- The production cost of the goods; or
- Adaptation and mix of some of the methods mentioned above, in exceptional situations.
However, we advise you to check this in detail with the selected country. Some costs may be added or deducted from the customs value of the product, and this depends on each case specifically.
Declared value for carriage
The declared value for carriage is computed from the value of the shipment. It serves as a basis for imposing freight charges, which is generally not amounted to the same and is lower than the declared value for customs.
Customs clearance procedures on international parcels
Customs, or the customs duty office, is a national body of the local government whose task is to uphold customs clearance procedures for international parcels. Each country has different regulation systems and if you are shipping outside of the EU, we have compiled a guide on all you need to prepare beforehand!
Exporting outside the EU
Customs duties on gifts from abroad: Shipment is marked as a gift
European Union – For most countries, you will not have to pay customs duties for shipping gifts whose value does not exceed €45.
Non-European Union – When you are shipping goods marked as gifts from abroad, outside of the EU, different customs duties and charges will apply, based on the specific country. However, each country has its own set of rules for charging customs fees.
Customs documentation for international shipping
When shipping globally, outside of the EU, a proforma invoice, commercial invoice or customs declaration (CN23 or CN22) is required to contain all the necessary information about the content you are sending. You will have to describe the content of the items you are shipping, and you need to be as specific as possible.
The shipment should contain the receiver’s information, which will allow the customs officers to contact the designated person.
How to fill in the customs documentation
- List each item of the package separately.
- Avoid writing general terms such as clothing, personal belongings or gifts.
- Write the item’s value, as in case of damage, the courier will only reimburse you for the written value.
- Keep the original invoices to prove the value of the items.
- Be very specific, and list what the item is made from and its origin.
- Check with the specific country if you need a commodity code.
Keep in mind that the failure to provide the required documentation for the customs clearance or refusing to pay the applicable fees will result in further delays in the shipping process or in having the goods returned to the sender.
NEED MORE INFORMATION?
FAQ for customs clearance procedures on international parcels
What is meant by customs clearance for international parcels?
Am I required to pay for customs clearance for my international shipment?
Who pays for the customs fees for international shipping?
Can the sender pay for shipping customs charges?
How much are the customs charges for my international delivery?
Can I refuse to pay the customs fees for international shipping?
- You can refuse to pay customs for your shipping, and the package will be destroyed.
- Parcel is returned to the sender. When you refuse to pay the customs fees for the international shipping, the sender will have to cover the shipping costs.
What could go wrong if I write a lower amount to avoid customs fees applicable to my shipment?
Are the gifts I am receiving from abroad taxable in the UK?
Will I pay customs if I send gifts from Europe to the UK?
Why is my package stopped in customs?
- The customs in the delivery country require more information.
- The paperwork is not done as required.
- The package contains any prohibited or restricted items.
- The mode of transportation the package is being shipped with (air, road, rail, sea).