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Importing products from an EU country

This information is provided by

Dutch Tax and Customs Administration | Netherlands Chamber of Commerce | Netherlands Enterprise Agency | Statistics Netherlands organisation (CBS)

The European Union knows free movement of goods. This means you don’t have to pay import duties when you import goods from an EU country to the Netherlands. You do usually have to pay Dutch VAT. In some cases, you will have to pay input tax or excise duties. When you start to import, always check the EU product requirements, as well as any separate Dutch requirements.

Find out if you need to pay VAT

You are importing goods from another EU country. The supplier will usually charge you 0% VAT, and send you an invoice to that effect. You will then have to calculate, declare and pay the Dutch VAT in your VAT return, based on the goods’ total sale price times the appropriate VAT tariff. That is, unless you are exempt from paying VAT. Read more about VAT on products from other EU countriesExternal link.

Refund of foreign VAT

If your supplier charges you VAT, for instance when you pick up the goods abroad yourself, you can usually claim a VAT refundExternal link from the country’s Tax Administration via the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

Use the intra-Community acquisition tool

If you buy goods from an entrepreneur or company, and these goods are transported from an EU country to the Netherlands, your purchase is an intra-Community acquisitionExternal link. There are some exceptions to this, so check before you declare the goods. You can use the (Dutch) Tax and Customs Administration toolExternal link to determine whether your purchase is an intra-Community acquisition.

Keep your accounts in order

Do you import goods both from EU and non-EU countries? Be sure to make a clear distinction in your accounts. Imports from non-EU countries require additional records: transport documents, proofs of payment, business correspondence, customs documents.

Check whether you need to pay excise duties

You have to pay excise duties on imports of alcoholic beverages, tobacco or tobacco products, or fuels. For some non-alcoholic beverages, like fruit juices, you pay consumer tax. You settle your excise duties and consumer tax at Customs, where you will also deal with import documents. There are a couple of other duties you may have to pay, for instance the motor vehicle tax (bpm)External link if you import cars.

Check Dutch product requirements

EU products are usually permitted in the Netherlands, but there may be specific Dutch requirements for your product. The Commodities act lists the general rules for product safety; the product also has to meet requirements in the field of safety, health, environment and economy (VGEM).

Decide if you want to be an agent or an importer

As the importer, you buy goods abroad and market them in the Netherlands. But you can also act as an agent, and find customers in the Netherlands on behalf of a foreign company. You’ll be the intermediary, and receive a fee. The rewards are not as high as the profit from direct sales, but the risks are fewer.

Tips for importing

Statistics: import of goods

Total import value of goods from EU countries

Any further questions?

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce

+31 (0)88 585 2222

This information is provided by

Dutch Tax and Customs Administration
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce
Netherlands Enterprise Agency
Statistics Netherlands organisation (CBS)