Before your purchase

You may need to find out from the seller what country the goods are dispatched from, and whether goods dispatched from within the EU have been produced in or customs cleared into the EU.

What country you ordered the goods from is not relevant. Goods ordered from the EU may be delivered from a warehouse located in a country outside the EU. The person who ordered the goods is usually always liable to pay the import duties.

It is sometimes difficult to find information on websites of online stores concerning the country of dispatch of the goods. Nevertheless, it is crucial in customs clearance and import taxation to know the place from which the goods will be physically transported. The person who orders the goods is liable to pay any import duties that are due for them. If in doubt, contact the seller in advance to find out if you will be liable to pay any tax on the goods. 

If an online store operates within the EU, but the goods are delivered from a warehouse located outside the EU customs and fiscal territory – or within the customs territory but outside the fiscal territory – the goods must be declared to Customs and are subject to tax.
Also note that it is possible to deliver goods from within the EU that have not been customs cleared into the EU. The carrier will deliver a notice of arrival to the recipient on goods that require customs clearance.

Some areas are part of the EU customs territory, but not the EU fiscal territory. You are obliged to pay import VAT on goods when they have been bought from areas within the EU customs territory but outside its fiscal territory. These areas include:

  • Jersey and the other Channel Islands
  • the Canary Islands of Spain

Goods imported from these areas have to undergo customs clearance, as do imports from outside the EU. As regards VAT, the value limit for a VAT-free consignment is 22 euros. The minimum amount of VAT levied is 5 euros. However, this value limit is not applied to VAT on tobacco products, alcohol, alcoholic beverages or perfumes.

There is separate guidance on gift consignments. See: Gift consignments

  • EU countries
    • EU’s customs and fiscal territory
    • Countries and territories that are in a customs union with the EU
    • Countries and territories that are part of the customs territory but not
  • EEA countries
  • Schengen countries
  • EFTA countries
  • Common Transit Area
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Contact us
Customs Information Service, Private customers
Monday to Friday 8 am–4 pm

Contact Customs Information

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In car tax matters, kindly contact the Tax Administration (

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