Get live customer service — 1 (800) 827-7987

European Union Customs, VAT Collection, Export Information


The Euopean Union requires a formal customs clearance for all inbound EU shipments and levying VAT.  Details are listed in the table below.

Goods ValueVAT
€0-€22Levied (with IOSS for B2B, or Upon Import for B2C/B2B)
€22-€150Levied (with IOSS for B2C, or Upon Import for B2C/B2B)
Above €150Levied (upon Import, Standard VAT Payment)

VAT Collection

Different VAT collection possibilities are available for B2C shipments up to €150. To use the Special Scheme (with IOSS), as a first step the online seller must register for IOSS in one EU country. Upon registration, the seller will be given an IOSS number, which is valid for any country in the EU.

1. With IOSS (B2C): Introduces an IOSS (Import One-Stop-Shop) VAT collection model with the VAT to be collected by the seller at the moment of purchase for B2C shipments.

  • Companies from outside the EU with no EU representation must assign an intermediary (tax representative) to deal with EU VAT compliance on their behalf, i.e. to pay the VAT amount to the EU Tax Authority (via a monthly VAT return). This means only one EU VAT Registration (covering all the 27 EU countries ), instead of the current system which requires 1 VAT registration for each EU country in case of DDP.

2. Companies without IOSS (B2C or B2B) will remain the same as the current process in place for shipments above EUR22 where either DHL pays VAT to Authorities upon import and then charges the customer (as per DHL Billing Service selected, e.g. DTP Billing Service), or the customer pays VAT directly to Authorities with its own deferment account.

Customs Declaration Requirements

All shipments imported to the EU require a formal Customs Declaration (one per shipment). To avoid shipment delays, and successfully clear your shipments with Customs Authorities, it’s essential that you provide the following:

1. A digital copy of your commercial invoice. The Commercial Invoice needs to include anything under the following categories:

  • Shipment Party information
    • Exporter and Shipper (can be the same party)
    • Importer and Receiver (can be the same party)
  • Shipment Content information
    • Line Item Goods Descriptions
    • Import and/or Export HS Code (at least 6 digits, ideally full set)
    • Value of the Goods (including currency)
    • Country of Origin
    • Quantity
    • Weight
    • Incoterm (and transport/insurance costs, depending on Incoterm)

The following resource includes additional invoice guidelines related to specific topics like gifts, repair & return, and multi-piece shipments. 

2. Complete & Accurate Goods Details and Descriptions. The details must include shipper, exporter, receiver, and importer of record address and contact information. The product description should be as descriptive and clear as possible.

3. Accurate & Itemized Values on the Invoice. This includes a line item goods description, HS Code, country of origin, and quantity and measure. Example: Sunglasses with lenses optically worked, 9004.10.XXXX (last digits are country-specific), China, 3 Units.

Examples and further information on goods descriptions can be found below:

EU Importer ID Requirements

Shipment Receivers

DHL supports receivers by taking care of all customs clearance formalities and by providing receivers with an easy VAT payment solution.

EU Receivers:

If you need to pay VAT (or other associated Customs charges):

  • If you already have a DHL account: DHL will bill your account.
  • If you do not have a DHL account: DHL will send you a link for payment to be made online – please make the online payment as soon as possible to ensure smooth delivery of your shipment.

If the VAT (or other associated Customs charges) were already paid (i.e. the purchase price already included VAT), no further payment will be needed from your side.

If you have been asked to pay VAT (or other associated Customs charges), but are expecting a shipment without payment of VAT (or other associated Customs charges) at import, please contact your shipper/seller of the goods for clarification. Some examples might include:

  • Shipper has not included VAT amount as part of the purchase price.
  • Shipper has not provided the correct information to DHL such as correct goods value.

Ready to get started shipping to the EU?

Request a free consultation to get started.

dual preferred ship logo


We have more than 25 years of experience supporting small and medium businesses with their shipping needs. As the oldest authorized reseller of DHL Express, we are international shipping experts. In addition to our international import and export services, we offer heavy air freight, domestic USPS services, and domestic trucking services.