The EU has free movement of goods. That is highly convenient if you deliver goods to customers in EU countries. For instance, your customer does not have to pay import duties. Your VAT rate (btw) is 0% if you deliver from the Netherlands to corporate clients. However, always check the product requirements within the EU, and in your customer’s country. And make clear arrangements about the transport of the goods.
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Business clients: Use the 0% VAT rate
If you export to a business client in another EU country, you can use the 0% VAT rate. Your customer will pay local VAT instead of Dutch VAT. To make use of the 0% rate, you need to meet 2 qualifications:
- Check that your customer has a valid VAT number;
- Be sure you can prove the goods have been transported to the destination country, for instance with a transport document.
Customers who do not file a VAT return: Calculating VAT
Do you export goods within the EU to customers who do not file a VAT return? Such as private individuals, entrepreneurs who supply exempted goods or services, and legal persons who are not entrepreneurs. If so, you usually need to charge the VAT of the EU country where your client is located.
Do you expect that your total turnover from distance sales and services to private individuals within the EU will be less than €10,000? Then choose 1 of the following 2 possibilities:
- You charge and pay Dutch VAT. Do you exceed the threshold amount of €10,000? Then you charge the VAT of your customer's EU country. You also file your VAT return in that country. The following year you will have to charge foreign VAT anyway, even if you do not exceed the threshold amount.
- You indicate that you do not wish to use the threshold amount of €10,000. You calculate the VAT of your customer's EU country. You also file your VAT return in that country.
Filing VAT returns in different EU countries
You can make use of the Union scheme. This allows you to arrange your VAT returns within the EU in the one-stop shop (OSS) for each quarter. You then no longer need to arrange your VAT affairs separately in each EU country.
Supplying goods abroad tool
With the Tax and Customs Administration's tool Ik lever goederen naar het buitenland (I supply goods abroad, in Dutch) you can check what you must do with VAT in your situation.
Check the product requirements
Products must be safe to use before they are launched on the market. That is why you should check the EU product requirements for your product. If your product meets the European requirements, you are free to export it to every EU member state.
The EU countries have agreed that if a product has been released on the market in one EU country, it can also be released in other EU countries. However, several countries may have additional product requirements. If that is the case, the producer or importer of the product will be notified by the authorised body in that country. Read more about what this means in the article Admission of EU products into the Netherlands (mutual recognition).
Check the local legislation
Many countries demand that you provide product information in the country’s language(s). That applies to packaging and labels, but also to user manuals. Sometimes, a technical adaptation must be made to the product. Some countries have rules to contain the amount of packaging waste. So find out what the rules and regulations (in Dutch) in your chosen destination country are. You can also have a look at the EU Product Contact Point.
Make clear transport arrangements
Make clear arrangements with your customer: who transports the goods? If you do it yourself, there are several options. But you could always outsource the transport to a transport company, a forwarding agent (in Dutch) or parcel service. Important: if the customer collects the goods himself, always request a transport declaration.
Be aware that the United Kingdom is now officially no longer an EU member, but a so-called 'third country'. An agreement has been reached on several aspects of trade. For instance, you may need to use different documents to import or export goods. See the article Exporting products outside the EU. If you import or export agricultural goods, plants or use wooden packaging, you will need extra certificates and undergo inspections.
Several parties offer information on the Brexit changes:
- Brexitloket.nl is the official Dutch government Brexit website.
- The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) offers Brexit information on the import and export of plants (in Dutch).
- The British government offers information on importing and exporting plants and plant products after Brexit on the Gov.uk website.
- The Netherlands Vehicle Authority RDW can help you if you import vehicles (or parts). Check out their Brexit page.
- Also, check the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration pages on customs matters.
Statistics: export of goods
Total export value of goods to EU countries