Import tax

Do you import goods or raw materials from a country outside the European Union (EU)? Often you must pay import duties on these. And you will encounter other taxes and costs, such as clearance fees. Also, read about when you don't have to pay any or lesser import duties.

What are import duties?

Import duties are taxes you must pay when importing goods or raw materials from third countries. These are countries outside the European Union (EU). Are you importing from an EU member state? Then you don't pay import duties.
Import duties protect the industry and employment in the EU against cheaper products from third countries.

The same for EU countries

You pay the same rate of import duties in every EU member state when you import a product from outside the EU (common external tariff). For example, if you have goods sent from the US to customers in the Netherlands and Germany, you pay the same rate for both packages.

Calculating import duties

The amount of import duties you pay depends on the product's goods code. This code is called the Taric code when importing.  Most Taric codes consist of 10 digits. The Taric codes are based on the 6-digit Harmonized System codes. Customs worldwide use these HS codes to classify products.

Find the Taric code of your product and the corresponding rate in the Dutch Customs Tariff (DTV). Then calculate the import duties for most products based on the customs value. The customs value is the purchase price of the product plus the transportation and insurance costs to the EU border or port of entry. For some products, import duties do not depend on the customs value. You pay import duties based on weight or size.

Paying no or fewer import duties

Sometimes you don't have to pay any or fewer import duties. For example, if you import a product from a country with which the EU has a trade agreement. You must then have a preferential origin document or a preferential origin declaration from your supplier.

If certain raw materials or semi-finished products are not or hardly available in the EU, the European Commission may temporarily reduce or eliminate import duties on these products. This is called a tariff suspension. A tariff quota is also possible. This means you can import a certain quantity of goods with a reduction or exemption from import duties. Once the maximum quantity is reached, you pay the general import duty rate.

Other import charges

Sometimes you pay other charges besides import duties. For example, anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties. You encounter anti-dumping duties when a supplier from a third country 'dumps' goods on the European market at a much lower price. Or you must pay countervailing duties. This is necessary when a supplier from a third country receives government support and can thus artificially keep the product price low.
When importing agricultural goods, you may encounter agricultural levies.

Clearance costs

In addition to import duties and import VAT, you pay clearance costs when importing from countries outside the EU. These include costs such as making the import declaration or costs for unloading and storing goods at the port or airport of arrival if necessary (terminal handling charges). For information on these costs, contact your customs broker or logistics service provider.

National taxes

In addition to European levies, there are also national levies. Think of excise duties when importing excise goods. For example, you pay Dutch excise duty if you import beer or wine into the Netherlands from EU countries or third countries. If you import passenger cars or motorcycles from within or outside the EU, you pay BPM. You also have to pay import VAT when importing products.

If you regularly import products from third countries, with a permit article 23, you don't pay VAT at the time of import. However, you must declare the VAT in your VAT return.