Importing products from an EU country to the Netherlands

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK | Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO | Tax and Customs Administration, Belastingdienst | Statistics Netherlands, CBS

Find out if you need to pay Dutch BTW

You are importing products from another EU country into the Netherlands. The supplier will usually charge you 0% BTW (Value Added Tax, VAT), and send you an invoice to that effect. You will then have to calculate, declare and pay the Dutch VAT in your BTW-aangifte or 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 countries.

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 Administration via the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst).

Use the Belastingdienst 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 acquisition. There are some exceptions to this, so check before you declare the goods. You can use the (Dutch) Intra-Community Acquisition VAT Check Tool 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. You can ask the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK for advice and examples of documents you would have to submit. See Importing products from a non-EU country.

Do you have to pay accijns or invoerheffingen?

For certain goods, you pay import levies (invoerheffingen): you have to pay excise duties, accijns in Dutch, on imports of alcoholic beverages, tobacco or tobacco products, or fuels. For some non-alcoholic beverages, like fruit juices, you pay consumer tax (verbruiksbelasting). You settle your excise duties and consumer tax at Dutch Customs (Douane), 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) if you import cars into the Netherlands.

What are 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, so make sure to have those in order.

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).

Do you want to be an agent or an importer?

You are importing products to sell on the Dutch market. But what exactly will be your involvement? You can be an agent or the 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 Dutch 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 into the Netherlands

Brexit

Be aware that once the United Kingdom leaves the EU, you may need to use different documents to import or export goods, as the UK will become a third country. See the article Importing products from a non-EU country. If you import or export agricultural goods, plants or use wooden packaging, you may need extra certificates and undergo inspections.

Several parties offer information on how to prepare for Brexit:

  • Brexitloket.nl is the official Dutch government Brexit website. Check it regularly for news and events.
  • 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 Administration pages on customs matters.

Statistics: import of goods

Total import value of goods from EU countries

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
Tax and Customs Administration, Belastingdienst
Statistics Netherlands, CBS