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Frequently asked questions

Foreign item tracking services often notify “Lähetys on Tullissa” (the consingment is in the Customs) or “Held by Customs”. The consignments, however, are not located in any Customs facility, but they are located in a warehouse of Posti or another transport company. If the consignment has to be declared, Posti or some other transport company in Finland will send you a notification saying that you need to declare the consignmentv.

Posti or the transport company

  • knows where your parcel is
  • sends the notices of arrival
  • stores parcels to be cleared
  • transports the parcels after clearance
  • returns parcels.

Paying VAT in Finland depends, among other things, on whether or not the online store has an IOSS number.

  • If the seller has an IOSS number, you will pay the Finnish VAT when you purchase the goods. The postal company or the transport company, will usually declare the consignment on your behalf, and no VAT has to be paid in conjunction with the declaration. (However, this does not apply to products that are subject to excise duty, such as alcohol products. For these products, the import taxes are always paid in conjunction with the declaration.)
  • If the seller doesn’t have an IOSS number, you will usually have to pay the VAT again upon importation to Finland. You will still have to pay the import duties to Finland even though you have already paid the VAT of the selling country to the seller.
  • Some online stores have included the VAT to be paid to Finland to the price of the goods, even though they don’t have an IOSS number. The invoice from the online store may e.g. have the abbreviation ‘DDP’ or the text ‘Delivered duty paid’ written on it. Ask the seller if your order has been delivered by a transport company that does the declaration in Finland on your part and pays the Finnish VAT.

Read more on the IOSS number.

A gift sent from outside the EU can only be tax free if you receive it free of charge from another private individual. Goods sent by a company must be declared and import duties and taxes must be paid for them, even though you have not bought the goods. The same is also true for, for example, gifts for magazine subscribers or free magazine samples.

When you declare the goods in the Import Declaration Service for private persons, select that you wish to declare “purchased goods” on the start page. Enter as the goods value the price that would be charged for a similar product, for example, in an online store. You can also ask the sender (consignor) to provide information on the value of the goods.

If you don’t know what gifts the consignment contains or what their value is, contact the sender to find out. You cannot declare the consignment without these details.

If needed, ask the sender about the contents and value of the gift, e.g. “book, USD 20”. If  the gift is self-made, ask the sender to give an estimate of its value, e.g. “hand-knitted socks, USD 10”.  The value can be the price for which the gift would be sold in the country of dispatch.

A seller who has an IOSS number, charges the Finnish VAT at the time of purchase. The VAT is included in the price of the goods and you don’t need to pay any additional VAT in connection with customs clearance. The postal company or another transport company will usually declare the consignment on your behalf, and no action is required on your part.

IOSS sellers are registered for VAT within the EU territory. This means that the VAT is included in the price of the goods purchased and the seller accounts for the VAT to the EU. This has been possible since 1 July 2021.

Where can I find the IOSS number?

The IOSS number is a different thing from the VAT number of a seller. The IOSS number has the format IM1234567890. The IOSS number is in the order confirmation or the invoice. If necessary, request it from the seller.

When do I need the IOSS number?

Generally, you don’t need an IOSS number.

You only need the IOSS number if you have paid the VAT when you purchased the goods and the following text is not shown in the Import Declaration Service for private persons on the page ‘Consignment details’ ‘The VAT has been charged at the point of purchase, but you must still declare the consignment.’ In that case, enter the IOSS number in the service.

How do I provide the IOSS number?

In the Import Declaration Service for private persons, you are asked ‘Have you paid the VAT for the consignment already at the point of purchase?’

Only choose ‘Yes’ if you have bought the goods from an IOSS-seller and you paid the VAT at the point of purchase. You should also consult the postal company or other transport company to find out if they will clear the parcel on your behalf or if you need to do it yourself.

The service asks you to provide the IOSS number. The IOSS number is in the order confirmation or the invoice. If necessary, request it from the seller.

You can read more about the topic on our page on IOSS identifier.