Purchase of goods outside the EU and payment of duties and taxes

If the value or the quantity of imported goods of non-commercial character exceeds the monetary thresholds or quantitative limits, a traveller must pay the prescribed duties and taxes in respect of such goods. All customs formalities regarding the release of goods for free circulation can be carried out at a border-crossing point. After such customs formalities have been completed, a traveller is free to dispose of the goods.

Payment of duties and taxes

Imported goods are usually subject to import duties (customs duty) and value added tax, while excise goods are also subject to excise duties. After the prescribed duties and taxes have been paid, a customs authority issues a receipt to the traveller concerned against payment of the duties due.

Calculation of the amount of the import duties

Duties are usually calculated on the basis of the data on a submitted invoice, while customs value can also be determined according to the prices of identical or similar goods and by applying other prescribed methods of determining the customs value.

Import duties are normally calculated at the rate of customs duty which is determined based on the classification of goods in the combined nomenclature of the common customs tariff. In respect of the goods of non-commercial character the total value of which does not exceed EUR 700 (except for tobacco products and goods to which the zero rate of customs duty applies), the import duties can be calculated at a flat rate of 2.5 %. However, a customs authority may nevertheless calculate the import duties at the rate laid down in the customs tariff for the goods in question if a traveller requests so before the customs clearance of goods.

Goods originating in countries which have concluded free trade agreements with the European Union are subject to lower (preferential) rates of customs duty at import. A preferential rate of customs duty may be requested orally in respect of the goods the value of which does not exceed EUR 1200. However, a prescribed proof of the origin of goods must be presented for the goods of a higher value. The origin of goods the value of which does not exceed EUR 6000 can be proved by means of a declaration which a seller issues on an invoice for the purchased goods. In respect of the goods of a value exceeding EUR 6000, other prescribed proofs must be furnished (e.g. movement certificate EUR. 1). In cases in which the zero rate of customs duty applies at import, other prescribed taxes must nevertheless be paid.

Regular customs clearance

Where justified, a customs authority may reject a traveller’s oral customs declaration and require regular customs clearance of the goods concerned, so that a traveller must submit a customs declaration in one of the customs clearance departments.

Did you know?

Value added tax paid upon purchase of goods in a third country is not included in the customs value of goods if a buyer furnishes a proof that the amount of the paid tax has been or shall be repaid to him (e.g. an application for repayment of VAT endorsed by the customs authority of the country of export).