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Buying products from an EU country

This information is provided by:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Enterprise Agency RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency RVOTax and Customs Administration, BelastingdienstTax and Customs Administration, BelastingdienstStatistics Netherlands, CBSStatistics Netherlands, CBSNederlandse versie

Inside the European Union (EU) there is free movement of goods. This means you do not have to pay import duties. Usually, you will have to pay VAT in the Netherlands. Sometimes, you will have to pay excise duties, consumption tax, and other taxes. Make sure to always check the product requirements.

Find out if you need to pay Dutch VAT

You buy products from another EU country. Are they delivered in the Netherlands? In that case, the supplier will usually charge you 0% Value Added Tax (VAT, or BTW in Dutch), and send you an invoice stating that rate. You will then have to calculate, declare, and pay the Dutch VAT in your VAT return. That is, unless you are exempt from paying VAT. Read more about VAT on products from other EU countries.

The EU has the Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) available: the electronic portal businesses can use since 1 July 2021 to comply with their VAT e-commerce obligations on distance sales of imported goods.

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 likely an intra-Community acquisition. There are some exceptions to this, so check before you declare the goods. You can use the Intra-Community Acquisition VAT Check Tool (in Dutch) to determine whether your purchase is an intra-Community acquisition.

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 refund from the country’s tax suthority via the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst).

Keep your accounts in order

Do you import goods from non-EU countries as well? Be sure to make a clear distinction in your business records. Imports from non-EU countries require additional records and conditions. See Importing products from a non-EU country.

Do you have to pay extra taxes or excise duties?

  • Do you import alcoholic drinks (beer, wine, spirits), tobacco, or fuels? You will then have to pay excise duties.
  • For some non-alcoholic beverages, like fruit juices, you pay consumption tax (verbruiksbelasting).

You settle your excise duties and consumption tax at Dutch Customs (Douane), where you will also deal with other customs rules.

There are a couple of other duties you may have to pay, for instance the motor vehicle tax (bpm) if you import cars into the Netherlands.

Check the Dutch product requirements

The Commodities act lists the general Dutch rules for product safety. The product also has to meet requirements in the field of safety, health, environment, and economy (VGEM). For the most part, these requirements match the EU product requirements. It is still advisable to check the product requirements in the Netherlands.

Mutual recognition

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, there may be 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).

    Brexit

    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 Importing products from a non-EU country and our information on Brexit.

    Statistics: import of goods

    Total import value of goods from EU countries

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