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. Let us take you through the new procedure.

    Buy in a registered Webshop

    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

    More examples can be found on the website of FPS Finance.

    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 or Track & Trace!

    The webshop didn’t include the VAT and import charges at sale? As of 7 June 2021 the import charges and VAT will no longer be collected by the postman or paid in a bpost Pick-up point. (Unless your parcel arrived in Belgium before 7 June). 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. Most major webshops like AliExpress, Amazon, E-bay and Wish have already registered. 

    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.

    New customs rules apply as from 1 July 2021 and VAT must be paid on all shipments from outside the EU. This also applies to shipments purchased before this date that only arrive in Belgium after 1 July 2021. In other words, there is no longer an exemption from import costs for shipments worth less than €22. If no VAT is paid when purchasing from the online shop, additional import costs will be charged.

    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 info on how to recognise an IOSS registered webshop.
    • order from a webshop shipping from within Belgium or Europe. Please bear in mind that the United Kingdom is not part of the European Union.

    Please note: for goods with a value of €150 or more you will always have to pay customs formalities. In this case, you cannot pay the import costs via the online shop.

    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

      bpost 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 1 July 2021, 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).

    15 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.

    My shipment is 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).

    My shipment is 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. From 1 July 2021, there will no longer be any exemption from import costs for shipments under €22.

    If you order from a registered online shop (Import One-Stop Shop or IOSS) that charges VAT in advance, you will not have to pay additional taxes, customs duties and administrative fees to bpost.

    Please note: shipments with a value of €150 or more are always subject to customs duties and administrative processing fees.