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

Online shopping outside the EU?

New import charges on all shipments

Online shopping outside the EU? Go ahead!

On 1 July, the European Union introduced new customs rules for online purchases from outside the EU. We assume that most major non-European webshops are compliant with the new EU regulations by now. So you can continue shopping there with peace of mind, without the risk of extra costs. And you can easily check: if your shopping basket shows that VAT is included, then it’s safe!

    Shop in a registered webshop

    Non-European webshops can register with the EU to settle VAT and import charges in advance. Make as many of your purchases as possible from these registered webshops. That way, not only is the process smoother but you also pay less.


    Tip: registered webshops will always state in your shopping basket whether VAT is included.

    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. How can I recognise an IOSS registered webshop?

    • 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 such as AliExpress, E-bay and Wish have already registered.

    Ali ExpressEbayWish

    You can easily recognise a registered webshop: if your shopping basket indicates that VAT is included, then you’re safe! That way you avoid:

    • paying unwanted import charges and customs clearance fees;
    • paying VAT on customs clearance fees;
    • waiting longer to receive your shipment.

    NB: for goods with a value above €150, you will always have to pay import charges as these are not paid by the webshop.

    Since 1 July 2021, new customs rules apply and VAT must be paid on all shipments from outside the EU. If no VAT is stated at the point of purchase, additional import charges will be applied.

    To avoid additional import charges and increased VAT (as you pay VAT on customs clearance fees), we recommend that you order:

    • from a registered webshop outside the EU. These shops settle the VAT on your purchase in advance so you don’t pay import charges and your shipment is processed more quickly. More info on how to recognise an IOSS registered webshop.
    • from a webshop that ships from within Belgium or Europe. Remember the United Kingdom is no longer part of the European Union.

    Please note: For goods with a value above €150, you will always have to pay customs clearance fees. In this case, the import charges cannot be paid via the webshop.

    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 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.

    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.

    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

    In accordance with European customs legislation and VAT regulations, you must pay taxes (customs duties, VAT, excise duty and administrative processing charges) on all commercial shipments from outside the EU. Your shipment will only be delivered if you pay these charges within 14 days of receiving the payment notification. Once the import fees are paid, your shipment will be presented to customs.

    If you order from a registered online shop (Import One-Stop Shop or IOSS), which pays the VAT in advance, you don’t have to pay any additional taxes, customs duties or administrative fees to the customs clearance service of bpost. You can easily recognise a recognised webshop: if your shopping basket states that VAT is included, you are safe! Most major webshops such as AliExpress, eBay and Wish are already registered.

    Ali ExpressEbayWish

    Please note: shipments with a value above €150 are always subject to customs duties and administrative processing costs.