RTL today – Price increases: new European rules for online shopping from July 1, 2021
The European Commission will abolish the VAT exemption when importing goods with a value of less than 22 euros. Various other fees are also introduced.
This affects goods purchased outside the EU. Until now, goods valued at less than 22 euros were exempt from VAT when imported into the EU. This will no longer apply from July 1, 2021.
What do these changes mean?
An example: a purchase of 2 euros in a non-EU country, for example China or the United Kingdom, will now incur 17% VAT, plus administrative costs. The Post currently charges 15 euros for these, which means that your 2 euro item would now cost 17.34 euros, if the old charges still applied.
The post office has confirmed on request that all goods purchased outside the EU will have to go through customs and VAT plus fees will apply. These can be paid via Digicash or when collecting the package. For items below € 22, the administrative costs will be € 5, while above € 22 they remain at € 15. This includes handling, customs declaration and storage costs. The full Post flyer can be found here.
Other couriers like TNT, FedEx, UPS or DHL did not respond to our requests for charges.
In a parliamentary question, Mars di Bartolomeo wanted to know how this would work in practice. Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna replied that there will be a new one-stop-shop to simplify declarations of goods below 150 euros. Nothing changes for goods over 150 euros.
This one-stop-shop will be managed by the customs and excise administration, in conjunction with the registration office. The control of imported goods is the responsibility of the customs office.
Pierre Gramegna specifies that all goods imported from third countries must be declared to customs, and that couriers charge fees for them which will be listed as “customs presentation fees”, “customs fees”, “customs clearance fees”, “customs agency fees” or “other expenses”. The amount charged is at the discretion of the carrier, but these charges do not pass through customs.
Sellers outside of the EU are encouraged to register for the One-Stop-Show / IOSS system, which allows them to show the buyer the costs incurred at the time of purchase, incl. VAT, import and customs fees. More details can be found at the website of the European Commission.