How are import costs calculated?

The costs to import goods from outside the EU consist of 3 parts:

  1. VAT
    For all goods coming from outside the EU, a percentage of VAT on the value of the goods must be paid. This percentage varies between 6% (books) and 21% (electronic products). Please note: you also pay VAT on the services provided by bpost (administrative costs).
  2. Custom duties
    For certain categories of goods you have to pay customs duties. These are also represented by a percentage. For some goods (e.g. jeans), you pay up to 12% duty. For other goods you do not pay duty (e.g. books).
  3. Customs formalities or administrative fees

    The bpost customs clearance service charges administrative fees for the costs incurred during the import procedure if:

  • the VAT was not paid in advance in a registered online shop (Import One-Stop Shop or IOSS)
  • the value of the goods is more than €150

These costs include:

  • the calculation of import taxes
  • transferring the taxes to the government
  • requesting additional missing information (e.g. licenses or invoices)
  • storage costs

From 1st January 2024, bpost will charge the following fees for customs formalities:

0 euro

for private shipments with a value of up to €45. In this case, the sender has to prove that the shipment is a gift. (Please note: alcoholic products, perfume, toilet water, tobacco and tobacco products are subject to fees, even if they are gifts).

18.5 euros 

for customs formalities regarding non-exempted items with a maximum value of 150 euros.

39 euros

for customs formalities regarding non-exempted items with a value over 150 euros.

More information on the applicable tax rates and on how to calculate the import costs.

TIP! Are you shopping in a non-EU webshop and want to avoid extra costs? If your shopping basket states that VAT is included, then you’re safe! You won’t have to pay any costs later.

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