Custom Duties and Import VAT

When a package ships internationally, it may be subject to import taxes, customs duties, and/or fees imposed by the destination country. These charges are typically due once the package arrives in the destination country. 

Sellers are responsible with ensuring to comply with laws and regulations of the country of destination. Generally, the buyer is responsible for paying customs duties on receipt of the package.

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.

Learn more about custom fees:

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 a 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 shipping between EU countries

Customs 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. Since Etsy requires sellers to list their prices inclusive of VAT, the buyer shouldn’t 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, customs fees and import VAT may apply on these goods.

The amount of customs duty and import VAT to be paid will be assessed at the point of entry of the destination country. This may result in the buyer having to pay additional charges which are not included in the total price displayed at checkout.

Generally, VAT isn’t 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 euro to €22 euro, depending on the EU country.

For import VAT, the rate that is assessed is the rate set by the country that the package is shipped to. 

Customs duty does not typically apply on goods where the value doesn’t exceed €150 euro.

Learn more about buying goods from non- EU countries.

Goods arriving into the UK from non-UK countries

If you’re a seller located outside of the United Kingdom (UK) but you sell to UK buyers, you might be considered an “overseas seller”. Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) defines an “overseas seller” as a seller who sells goods stored in the UK to UK consumers and doesn’t have a business establishment in the UK. Overseas sellers are required to register for UK VAT.

Learn more about shipping into the UK.

Goods arriving into AU from non-AU country

Etsy collects and remits GST on certain orders shipped into Australia. Learn more about GST on Etsy.

Etsy will automatically collect and remit the tax from Austrailian buyers where the goods are less than or equal to AUD$1,000. Sellers may need to include additional information on the customs form depending on the shipping method.

If you’re a seller located outside of Australia who ships a package to a buyer in Australia that is less than or equal to $1,000 AUD, and you ship using a commercial carrier, such as Fedex, you may need to include the information below to ensure the buyer receives their order without delay:

  • Etsy’s Australian Reference Number (ARN): 3000 0920 7152
  • The item(s) total, shipping costs, GST charged, and full order total.

Australian customs authorities may look at the customs form to confirm that GST was paid on the order. Multiple items purchased in the same order should be shipped in the same package.

Sellers who ship packages using a national mail service, such as the United States Postal Service, PostNL in the Netherlands, Royal Mail in the United Kingdom, or Canada Post, may not be required to provide this additional information.

Sellers may consider consulting with their preferred carrier for more guidance on where to enter the information above.

Goods arriving into other countries

Other countries may also apply customs duty and/or import VAT on goods purchased from another country. The amount of customs duty and import VAT to be paid will be assessed at the point of entry of the destination country. This may result in the buyer 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.

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:

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.

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 October 2019

Was this article helpful?

Still have questions?

Contact support