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Do you order goods from foreign online shops? Here are some tips for clearing your goods through Customs smoothly

Publication date 16.6.2021 8.40
Press release

It is easy to order goods from foreign online shops, but do you know when you should declare your purchases and how it is done? Have a look at our customs clearance checklist for getting your parcel delivered as smoothly as possible. Please note that, as of July, all purchases delivered from outside the EU must be declared and are subject to value added tax.

When you order goods from foreign online shops, importation may involve customs clearance and taxes. As of 1 July 2021, online purchasers should be even more aware about how to act as, from the start of July, goods delivered from outside the EU must be declared and VAT must be paid for them. When ordering goods from the territory of the EU, declaring is not required if the goods are delivered from another EU member state, and have been manufactured or declared in that member state. When you make online purchases, you should also remember that the importation of certain goods is subject to restrictions and prohibitions.

Here is how you make purchases successfully

1. Before you order goods, get familiar with the instructions

  • Check if the goods you order need to be declared and if there are any import restrictions or prohibitions: Ordering goods online
  • Assess any possible customs payments and VAT with the Customs Duty Calculator; also consider transport costs and, in some cases, anti-dumping duties and additional duties: Customs duty calculator
  • As of 1 July 2021, all goods delivered from outside the EU must be declared and are subject to value added tax. See our five tips for smooth online shopping

2. When your parcel is on its way – time to declare

  • Wait for your transport company to notify you about the arrival of your parcel. Then you should take the appropriate steps.
  • Declare your parcel within the time frame given by the transport company. You can do the customs clearance yourself on the Customs website or buy it as a service from the transport company. Have a look at the “Declare your parcel” page

3. After customs clearance – arrival of your parcel

  • You can keep track of your parcel’s route with the item tracking service provided by the transport company. Customs does not store or transport parcels.
  • If you need more information about the content of the parcel or its location, you should contact the freight company.

Customs clearance volumes will multiply in July; delays are possible

With the EU value added tax reform, domestic online shops and those based in other EU member states will be in the same position as sellers based outside the EU. At the same time, the volume of parcels to be declared will increase significantly with the reform at the start of July. Finnish Customs has made careful preparations for the reform in cooperation with other operators. However, this does not rule out the possibility of delays and unexpected problems.

– We are doing our best at Customs to make sure that all parcels will undergo customs clearance without any problems despite the increase in volume. However, persons who order goods online should be prepared for possible delays. Now may also be a good time to consider where you make urgent orders of goods, and if it would be possible to postpone your order until later, says senior customs officer Nadja Painokallio from the Foreign Trade and Taxation Department of Finnish Customs.

Read more about the reform: Everything must be declared - information page

Everything must be declared Media release