Shipments arriving from non-EU countries are subject to customs formalities. This also applies to small consignments ordered online from third countries. Customs formalities are usually performed on behalf of the consignee by national post (e.g. Post of Slovenia), courier services or express mail services.
Relief from customs duties
Relief from all duties at import is granted for consignments containing goods the total value (excluding postage) of which does not exceed 150 EUR and are subject to VAT only. Exceptions are shipments that a natural person sends to a natural person in the amount of up to 45 EUR. These shipments are exempt from customs duties and VAT. No relief is granted for the import of alcoholic and tobacco products, perfumes and toilet waters. If the addressee has paid the import VAT at the time of purchase of the consignment from the seller, who is included in the special arrangement for the calculation of import VAT, VAT will not be charged at the time of import of the consignment.
The basis and the rates of duty
Customs and VAT is charged for shipments that exceed EUR 150. The basis for the calculation of customs duty is the customs value of the goods, which includes the postal charges to the place of destination.
VAT at import is charged from the tax base which is formed of the customs value of goods and the amount of customs duties and other taxes payable at import. Depending on the type of goods, VAT is charged at a general rate of 22 %, lower rate of 9.5 % in case of food or 5 % in case of books.
When importing excise goods, excise duty is also calculated and paid.
Consignments of goods not exceeding 150 EUR (excluding postal charges) are exempt from customs duties on importation. They are subject to VAT, which is calculated on the basis of the value of the goods and postal charges.
An example of calculation
Example of calculation of duties and other charges if an individual has purchased a laptop worth 500 EUR in a third country (e.g USA) and had 20 EUR cost for postal charges.
520 EUR * 0% customs duty + 520 EUR * 22% VAT = 114.40 EUR
Did you know?
Attention must be paid when purchasing medications, since it is prohibited for natural persons to import medications by post.
How to facilitate a customs procedure?
A customs procedure is carried out much faster if the necessary data and documents are at disposal. Buyers are therefore advised to shop with verified providers who shall assure that a consignment is accompanied by relevant documents and data necessary for customs clearance of goods (e.g. an invoice or any other adequate document proving the value of the purchase such as an auction document). If a consignment is not accompanied by all necessary documents, a consignee must provide additional explanation which might increase the costs of the procedure carried out on his behalf by a customs representative.
Counterfeit and inadequate goods
When clearing postal consignments, customs officers often come across goods the import of which is prohibited or restricted. They frequently deal with various counterfeit goods. It is therefore highly advisable to be careful when shopping online. Such counterfeit goods may be retained and later seized and destroyed. If a consignment is destroyed, the person ordering these goods shall remain without them. The price of an online product which is considerably lower than the price of an identical product in a usual shop may also imply that there is something wrong with that product.
Say NO to counterfeit goods. Buy the original.