When a package is shipped internationally, it may be subject to import taxes, customs duties, and/or fees imposed by the destination country. These charges will typically be due once the shipped goods arrive at the country of destination.
You are responsible with ensuring to comply with laws and regulations of the country of destination. Etsy does not have any responsibility on these additional charges that may apply.
Please note that certain countries may require certain documentation before the items are sent. If the necessary information is not provided, this may result in delays in the order.
Who pays for customs fees?
Generally, buyers pay the additional costs such as duties, taxes, and customs clearance fees. Import charges can vary widely but are most commonly based on the price and type of item, package weight and dimensions, origin country, and the taxes, duties, and fees of the destination country.
Most sellers on Etsy are unable to predict which of these fees, if any, will be applied, and Etsy does not expect sellers to calculate or collect these fees or taxes. This information should be clarified in sellers' shop policies. You can learn more about shop policies here.
Goods purchased from the US shipping overseas
Sellers in the US that are shipping overseas can enter their package information on the USPS website to determine which customs form is necessary.
Goods arriving into the US
When goods are shipped into the US, the buyer (“Importer”) is responsible for any fees/taxes/duty that may accrue on the merchandise when it clears Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”).
Most paperwork for sending packages internationally has a section for providing CBP information. However, at the minimum it should include:
- Seller's name and address;
- Description of the item(s) in English;
- Quantity of each type of item being shipped;
- Purchase price in US dollars;
- Weight of the item(s); and
- Country of origin of the product itself.
Merchandise shipped through the international postal service is forwarded upon its arrival in the US to one of U.S. Customs and Border Protection International Mail Branches for clearance. If the item is less than $2,000 in value and is not subject to a quota or is not a restricted or prohibited item, a CBP official will usually prepare the paperwork for importing it, assess the proper duty, and release it for delivery.
Packages whose declared value is under $800 will generally be cleared without any additional paperwork prepared by CBP.
If any duty is owed, CBP will charge a processing fee for clearing the package. Duty and the processing fee are due at the local post office of the Buyer, where the package has been forwarded.
More info can be found on the U.S. CBP website.
Goods purchased between EU countries
Custom duty is not applied on goods sold within the EU. However, VAT may still be applicable and should be included in the purchase price at the time of sale. As our site requires sellers to list their prices inclusive of VAT, you should not have to pay any additional amounts other than the total price displayed at checkout.
Goods arriving into EU from non-EU country
When shipping goods from a non-EU country into an EU country, custom duty and import VAT may apply on these goods.
The amount of custom duty and import VAT payable will be assessed at the point of entry of the destination country. This may result in you having to pay additional charges which are not included in the total price displayed at checkout.
Customs duty may not fall due for goods where the value does not exceed 150 euros.
For import VAT, the applicable rate is that of the country where the goods are being delivered.
Generally speaking VAT is not due when the total value of all goods in a consignment (value not inclusive of custom duties or transport costs) is less than the destination country threshold. The threshold may vary from 10 euros to 22 euros, depending on the EU country.
See here for more details on this.
Goods arriving into non-EU countries
Other countries outside of the EU may also apply custom duty and/or import VAT on goods purchased from another country. The amount of custom duty and import VAT payable will be assessed at the point of entry of the destination country. This may result in you having to pay additional charges which are not included in the total price displayed at checkout.
As the threshold for the application of such charges may vary from country to country, please contact your local customs/ tax office for further information. Alternatively, you should check with your local tax advisor for more information.
Please note that Etsy is not responsible for the collection or determination of any custom duties or import VAT costs.
Additional links on country-specific tax authorities websites:
- EU website with links to all Member State tax authorities website
- HM Revenue & Customs website (UK)
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
Where can I find customs forms?
You can obtain customs declaration forms from your mail provider. Most of the time, these are made available online.
Friendly Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal or tax advice and is for information purposes only. You should consult with a professional advisor if you have any additional queries.
Last updated February 2018