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Customs clearance, VAT and customs duty

Customs clearance means that you submit a declaration to Customs for the goods that you have ordered from abroad and pay the import duties and taxes due for them. Import duties and taxes include, among others, VAT, customs duty and excise duty.

The customs duty depends on the commodity code and the customs value

All goods have a commodity code. The amount of customs duty depends on the commodity code. For goods with certain commodity codes you don’t have to pay any customs duty.

The customs value is usually made up of the purchase price of the goods and the transport costs.
The customs duty depends on the commodity code and the customs value. The customs duty is usually a percentage of the customs value. In that case, it is called an ad valorem duty. A specific duty is a customs duty expressed as an amount per kilogram or litre. 

Please note that in addition to the customs duty, you may also have to pay anti-dumping or countervailing duties or safeguard duty, i.e. additional duty for certain products.

You can obtain preferential tariff treatment for products delivered from certain countries. In such cases, the rate of customs duty is lower than usual or you don’t have to pay any customs duty. 

The standard VAT rate is 24 per cent

Value added tax (VAT) must always be paid, and the standard VAT rate is 24 per cent of the value of the goods. TThe VAT rate on foodstuffs and food supplements is 14 per cent. The VAT rate on books, subscribed magazines and periodicals as well as on works of art is 10 per cent. 

The amount of VAT depends on the taxable amount for VAT. The taxable amount for VAT is made up of the following, among other things:

  • the customs value, that is, the purchase price of the goods and the transport costs
  • possible customs duty
  • possible handling fee payable to Posti 
  • possible taxes payable outside Finland, such as VAT to the country of the seller of the goods.

Excise duty is paid for example for alcohol

Some goods, such as alcohol and tobacco products, are also subject to excise duty. You can read more about excise taxation on the Tax Administration’s website.

Examples for calculating the import duties and taxes

How is the VAT and customs duty calculated on a product you have ordered from abroad? Take a look at these examples.

Using the Customs Duty Calculator, you can more accurately estimate the VAT and possible customs duty payable for most products. Read more about what parcels are subject to import duties and taxes.

Example 1: You have ordered a blouse from China that costs 200 euros. The postage for the consignment is 35 euros.

Customs duty:

You must pay customs duty for the blouse, because it is delivered from outside the EU and it is worth more than 150 euros. Read more about what parcels are subject to customs duty.

The customs duty rate on clothes is 12% of the value of the product including the transport costs: (€200 + €35) x 0.12 = €28.20

VAT:

The blouse is delivered from outside the EU, so you must pay VAT for it. Read more about what parcels are subject to VAT.

The VAT is 24% of the value of the product, including the transport costs, the customs duty and possible handling fee payable to Posti: (€235 + €28.20 + €2.90) x 0.24 = €63.86

The total amount of import duties and taxes you will pay for the blouse is €28.20 + €63.86 = €92.06.

Example 2: You have ordered a blouse from the Canary Islands that costs 200 euros. The postage for the consignment is 35 euros.

Customs duty:

You don’t have to pay any customs duty for the blouse, because the Canary Islands are part of the customs territory of the EU. Read more about what parcels are subject to customs duty.

VAT:

The Canary Islands are not part of the fiscal territory of the EU, so you must pay VAT for the blouse. Read more about what parcels are subject to VAT.

The value of the product, including the transport costs, is €200 + €35 = €235. The VAT is 24% of the value of the product, including the transport costs and possible handling fee payable to Posti: (€235 + €2.90) x 0.24 = €57.09

The total amount of import duties and taxes you will pay on the blouse is 57.09 euros.

Example 3: You have ordered a camera from China that costs 100 euros. The postage for the consignment is 35 euros. 

Customs duty:

The camera is delivered from outside the EU and it is worth less than 150 euros, so you don’t have to pay any customs duty for it. Read more about what parcels are subject to customs duty.

VAT:

The camera is delivered from outside the EU, so you must pay VAT for it. Read more about what parcels are subject to VAT.

The value of the product, including the transport costs, is €100 + €35 = €135. The VAT is 24% of the value of the product, including the transport costs, and possible handling fee payable to Posti: (€135 + €2.90) x 0.24 = €33.09

The total amount of import duties and taxes you will pay for the camera is 33.09 euros.


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Any questions?

Contact Customs Information Mon–Fri 8 am–4.15 pm

Please have a look at the frequently asked questions.

If you have a question about the arrival of parcels, its contents or the handling fee, please contact Posti.

Customs Information Service