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All parcels arriving from outside the EU must be declared

Do you order goods online from non-EU countries such as China, the United States or the United Kingdom? All parcels arriving from outside the EU must be declared, and VAT has to be paid on them.

A graphic drawing of a woman who is holding a smart phone. The picture has a text saying : "All parcels arriving from outside the EU must be declared".

As of July 2021, it has been compulsory to declare all goods from outside the EU and to pay value added tax on them. The amount of VAT is usually 24 % of the value of the parcel and of transport costs. The change is due to the amended VAT directive that concerns the entire EU and that has been applied since 1 July 2021. These changes also apply to the Åland Islands. In the past, customs clearance and VAT obligations mainly covered parcels from outside the EU that were worth not more than 22 euros.

The change concerns all goods from outside the EU even if you ordered your goods before the legal amendment. If you ordered goods before July and they arrive in Finland later in the summer or autumn, you must declare your parcel and pay VAT. By using our Customs Duty Calculator, you can estimate how much customs duty and VAT you must pay on top of the price of your purchase. Like before, gifts must also be declared. However, VAT is generally not levied on small gifts. 

The change also applies to magazines arriving from outside the EU. Magazine publishers may declare magazine subscriptions arriving as large consignments on behalf of the subscriber. However, you may have to declare individual magazines you have ordered and pay VAT on them either at the time of purchase or in connection with customs clearance.

How do I declare my goods and pay VAT?

You are personally responsible for declaring goods you have ordered from outside the EU and for the payment of VAT. Posti or some other transport company will notify you about consignments that need to be declared.

Purchases worth 150 euros or less

If the seller has an IOSS number, you will pay the Finnish VAT when you purchase the goods. The postal company will usually declare the consignment on your behalf, and you do not need to take action. You do not need to pay any VAT in conjunction with the customs clearance.

If the seller does not have an IOSS number, you will usually not be able to pay the Finnish VAT when you purchase goods. You must see to the customs declaration and payment of VAT yourself. As regards the customs declaration, you can ask Posti or the transport company to submit it on your behalf or submit it yourself in the Import Declaration Service for private persons.

Purchases of over 150 euros

You must see to the customs declaration and payment of VAT yourself. As regards the customs declaration, you can ask Posti or the transport company to submit it on your behalf or submit it yourself in the Import Declaration Service for private persons.

What is an IOSS number?

If you purchase goods from a web store which is under the IOSS system for value added taxation and which has an IOSS identifier, you do not usually need to pay VAT in connection with customs clearance. In such cases, Finnish VAT is included in the purchase price of goods. The IOSS system covers purchases worth not more than 150 euros. You can read more about the topic on our page on IOSS identifier.

The objective of the legal amendment is to make the competition between EU member states and non-EU countries more equal. The Parliament of Finland has approved the Finnish Government proposal (HE 18/2021) on the legal act amending VAT legislation.


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