Buying products from an EU country

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
Netherlands Tax Administration, Belastingdienst
Netherlands Tax Administration, Belastingdienst
Statistics Netherlands, CBS
Statistics Netherlands, CBS

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 offers the Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS). This is an electronic portal that businesses can use 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 that country’s tax authority via the Dutch Tax 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 do not have to pay consumption tax for mineral water.

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

You will have to deal with different laws and regulations if you want to sell products from abroad in the Netherlands. EU products are usually allowed in the Netherlands.

The Commodities act lists the general Dutch rules for product safety. The product also has to meet requirements in the fields 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.

Do you sell non-food products on to consumers? Then you must comply with EU product safety regulations. Exactly what you must do for product safety and what you are responsible and liable for, depends on your role in the production chain.

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). You can also watch a short video on the website of the European Commission, explaining the process.

    Statistics: import of goods

    Total import value of goods from EU countries

    External links

    Questions relating to this article?

    Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK