Online shopping outside the EU: what do you need to know?

Online shopping outside the EU?

Online shopping outside the EU?

Additional import charges on all shipments as of 1 July

The European Union is implementing new customs rules for online purchases from outside the EU. Did you make a purchase in a British, Chinese, American or another non-European webshop? You will pay VAT and import costs on all shipments that are delivered in Belgium from 1 July, also on shipments of 22 euros or less. This also applies to shipments ordered before 1 July. Let us take you through the new procedure.

    Avoid unpleasant surprises.

    Non-European webshops can register with the EU to pay the VAT and import charges in advance. Whenever possible buy in these registered webshops. This not only facilitates the process, you also pay less.

    Suppose you purchased a new smartphone case

    example

    Suppose you purchased a new smartphone case

    example

    Why choose a registered webshop?
    All benefits in a nutshell:

    Registered webshop

     

    A registered webshop has adapted to the new EU legislation and implements the European One-Stop Shop (IOSS) system. The webshop includes the VAT and import charges at sale.

    • You know and pay the overall amount on order
    • No additional charges are due when your shipment enters the country
    • Delivery is faster

    Non-registered webshop

     

    A non-registered webshop has not adapted to the new EU legislation. While the purchase price for the items in these webshops may be lower, the VAT and import charges are paid for by the recipient on delivery.

    • You have no idea of the surcharges upon delivery
    • You pay the additional charges via the My bpost app when your shipment enters the country
    • Delivery is slower

    Good to know:
    VAT and import charges are always due on shipments with a value in excess of €150.

    VAT and import charges are due anyway? Pay fast and safe with the My bpost app!

    The webshop didn’t include the VAT and import charges at sale? As of 31 May 2021 the import charges and VAT will no longer be collected by the postman or paid in a bpost Pick-up point. You will always be asked to pay prior to delivery of your shipment. This is easy with the My bpost app or Track & Trace.

    1.

    bpost notifies you via the My bpost app, per text, email or letter.

    2.

    For a cost overview go to the My bpost app or the Track & Trace page.

    3.

    Pay with your banking app, your credit card or Bancontact.

    4.

    Done? Then your shipment is presented to customs for inspection.

    5.

    Your order is cleared by customs? Then bpost will deliver your shipment at the earliest opportunity.

    phishing

    Don’t fall for fake emails from bpost

    Optimise your protection against phishing with the My bpost app! Did you receive an email with payment instructions?

    • Enter your bar code and postcode via the app
    • You will instantly see if a bpost shipment is on its way to you as well its current location

    Track, receive, send and pay. All in a single app!

    • Keep close track of your shipments, as well as those from other delivery services
    • Let us know where to deliver your shipment if you are not in
    • Quickly create your own shipping label if you want to send out your own shipment
    • Safe payment of import charges on shipments from outside the EU

    Download the My bpost app and discover all the benefits:

    google_play_download app_store_download

    app

    Perhaps you still have one of these questions

    Non-European webshops can register with the EU to enable the payment of VAT and import costs in advance in their webshop. You can recognise such a webshop by the separate mention of VAT in your shopping cart at the time of payment.

    By ordering from these webshops, you can, from 01 July 2021, avoid to:

    • pay unwanted import costs and costs of customs formalities.
    • pay VAT on the costs of customs formalities.
    • wait longer to receive your shipment.

    Note: for goods with a value of € 150 or more, you will still have to pay import costs.

    From 1 July 2021, new legislation will come into force. From then on, VAT will have to be paid on all shipments from outside the EU (also on shipments under € 22). If no VAT is paid at the time of purchase in the webshop, additional import costs will be charged.

    This legislation will apply to all shipments arriving in Belgium from 1 July 2021. It is therefore possible that your purchase was made before 1 July 2021 but that, due to the time required for international transport, it will not arrive in Belgium until after 1 July 2021.

    Two concrete examples:

    1. You order a shipment on 10 June 2021 for less than € 22 and it arrives in Belgium on 30 June 2021. You do not pay any additional VAT or import costs.
    2. You order a shipment on 10 June 2021 for less than € 22 and it arrives in Belgium on 1 July 2021. You pay VAT and additional import costs (unless VAT has been charged in advance in the webshop).

    Before 1 July 2021

    To avoid import costs, we advise you to :

    • order at least 6 weeks before 1 July 2021 from a webshop outside the EU.
    • postpone your purchase in a non-EU webshop until after 1 July 2021 and buy in a registered webshop.
    • order from a webshop shipping from within Belgium or Europe.

     After 1 July 2021

    In order to avoid additional import costs and an increase in VAT (you also pay VAT on the costs of customs formalities), we recommend you to :

    • place your order in an registered webshop outside the EU. They charge VAT on your purchase in advance, which means that you will not have to pay import costs and your shipment will go faster through the import procedure. More information on how to recognise an IOSS registered webshop.
    • order from a webshop shipping from within Belgium or Europe.

    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. Administrative fee

      If import costs have to be calculated on arrival in Belgium, an administrative fee will be charged by bpost for the costs incurred during the import procedure.

      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

     

    bpost charges the following fees for customs formalities in 2021:

    0 euro

    Commercial shipments with a maximum value of 22 euros and for consumer-to-consumer shipments with a maximum value of 45 euros.

    This does not apply for the following content : Alcohol, perfume, toilet water, tobacco and tobacco products. For those, charges will be applicable.

    24 euros

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

    32 euros

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

     

    AS FROM 1 ST OF JULY

    bpost charges the following fees for customs formalities in 2021:

    13 euros

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

    32 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.

    Is your shipment coming from within the EU?

    Some regions of the EU are also subject to customs duties and VAT because they are not part of the EU customs territory, even if they belong to the geographical territory of the EU (e.g. the Canary Islands).

    Is your shipment coming from outside the EU?

    According to Belgian customs and VAT legislation, you have to pay taxes (customs duties, VAT, excise duties and administrative handling fees) for shipments from outside the EU with a commercial value of € 22 or more. In order to be delivered, you need to pay these costs within 7 days after receiving the payment invitation. 

    Once the import costs have been paid, your shipment will be presented to customs.

    Please note: change in legislation

    All shipments (including those under € 22) arriving in Belgium from 1 July 2021 onwards and imported from outside the EU will be subject to VAT and import fees. Administrative costs will also be charged by bpost. You also pay VAT on the services provided by bpost (administrative costs).

    What can I do?

    You can avoid these higher VAT and import costs by making your purchases in a webshop that charges VAT in advance (one-stop webshop). This is only possible for shipments with an estimated value below € 150. Goods of € 150 or more are always subject to customs duties and administrative custom clearance fee.

    More information on the new regulations.