The European Community has established a common external tariff for every product imported from outside the European Union. For many kinds of products, this duty rate is very low (some are nil) thanks to numerous trade agreements the EU signed with its partners. Understanding these costs is key to successful Import/Export businesses.
The duty rate is the same for every country of the EU, and only depends on the product and the country of origin. (You need HS Product code or at least a good description of the item) If you have these two pieces of information you can check the duty rate, as well as possible European restriction measures, by clicking on the following link:
Once your goods enter the European territory, you should also add on the interior taxes which are specific for every country of the Union. These taxes must be calculated based on the value of the goods when they reach the country of destination (including the European import taxes mentioned above).
The main interior tax is the VAT (value added tax). Although this tax is compulsory and regulated for every member of the EU (since 1993), its rate depends not only on the country, but also on the product. For instance, the French VAT has three rates, 19.6%, 5.5% and 2.1% (UK: 17.5%, 5% or 0%, until January 2011 when basic rate will be up to 20%). Other interior taxes can be settled according to the country. Take note of the “Sin Taxes” placed on alcohol & tobacco, dumping taxes or special duties on some textile products/shoes etc…
The legislation in terms of importation duty and taxation is quite complicated and changing quickly, so we recommend that you contact local custom office to be aware of every single tax that you could have to pay, along with their current rate.
To know more about importing goods, please click on the following links for more ideas: