On numerous occasions people forget that when importing goods to the EU, there are local VAT and Customs Taxes (Customs Duty and Excise Duty) added to the cost of the customs procedure.

CustomsTypically there are no extra costs when exporting, but it seems that people are forgetting that the case is different when importing.

The biggest imports to Europe are from the United States, Russia and China and each EU member country has specific rules and costs for goods imported from these countries. Each cargo group has unique tariffs. This is not a random number thought out by the customs officers to earn profits from you, but a fixed rate set by the governments of respective countries in order to regulate trade.

The duties and VAT depend on the following factors:

  • country you are importing your goods to
  • quantity of the cargo
  • value
  • cost of the transportation
  • weight of the cargo.

Here’s a small example for you:

You want to ship table tennis tables from China. The size of the shipment is 13.5m3 and weight 4007 kg. The value is 3 800 EUR and transportation costs 880 EUR. The duties in this case are 126.33 EUR, which makes the VAT (20%) sum 961.3 EUR.

If you want to be sure on the total cost of your shipment and not run into any surprises then be sure to ask your freight forwarder or the customs office to list the costs of the whole procedure. This is not a calculation you have to do yourself, but it is up for them to figure it out.