2021 EU customs regulatory changes — where should I buy now?

  • Hi all,

    These EU customs regulatory changes have hit me very hard. At least here in Austria, we have to pay taxes now, even for very small orders. These taxes are not the problem, for my last package I had to pay € 0.57. The problem is more that the post office (Österreichische Post) adds a fee of € 5.00, which is more than the actual price + shipping + taxes.

    So, do you have any recommendation, how I could avoid this?
    Any specific seller you can recommend?
    Any specific shipping method?
    I heard there are sellers, which ship from within the EU (i.e. pay the taxes for me). But how could I find them?

    Would be cool if you could help me. Otherwise this becomes an expensive hobby now.


  • Mod

    @benhub some sellers indeed have EU warehouses, which are now the preferred ordering locations for EU citizens. I also don't know how to easily find them on eg aliexpress. I kind of run into them by accident...
    Additional benefit is shorter shipping times, but products stocked are limited in general.

  • @benhub When the UK left EU they immediately made aliexpress and others charge 20% VAT on top of the prices. AT about that time free shipping stopped being the norm and prices from China have been climbing in recent years.

    It all adds up to more expensive hobby and me ordering fewer parts than I used to.

    Ebay or similar sites might be an option as small sellers are not required to collect tax unless registered to do so.

    Considering the chances of fake or 'failed test' components being sold makes it even more of a risk than when things were much cheaper.

    I'd hate to caoculate how much I have had from China over the years that went quickly to recycling or landfill.

    I guess in the end you could buy less from reuptable EU companies, at least you should get genuine items that way.

  • Hardware Contributor

    @benhub - this has been an issue for a long time in Sweden now.
    "Postnord" adds 7,5€ as handeling fee and then VAT ontop on everything.

    European sellers is one option, but in some cases shopping from ebay they claim to be in Europe but the package comes from Asia adress. Some Asian sellers has now made an agreement with Postnord to include VAT which solves the issue with 7,5€ handeling fee, but still not as cheap as before.

  • The EU has developed a new tax payment portal for imports called Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) for orders below 150 EUR together with the new regulations. Non-EU sellers who sell to EU citizens can use this to simplify the process and charge the correct VAT upfront in the store. The seller and the shipping company have to include an IOSS-related ID visible on the package for the customs office to check. If everything is documented correctly, the local post office should neither charge VAT nor a hefty service fee from you. That's the theory at least.

    By now, many of the big trading platforms should have implemented IOSS. I know that AliExpress does for sure and most, if not all, sellers can make use of it - both of my two orders since July were VAT-included and Deutsche Post didn't charge me anything. I don't know how eBay handles that - I think they have no system in place, so that it is up to every single seller to use IOSS or let you deal with the customs. PCBway and JLCPCB do use IOSS, too. I'm not sure about LCSC yet.

    But yeah, it is a silly regulation that can make small orders from overseas unreasonably pricey. Over here in Germany, we have some exceptions at least. Import tax (19%) is only due if it is worth 1 EUR or more, so it is only collected if the total merchandise value is 5,24 EUR or more. Deutsche Post / DHL charges another 6 EUR on top of that only if they have to collect the taxes from you. This leads to stupid situations where you can buy something for 5 EUR and have to pay only 5 EUR, but a purchase of 6 EUR can cost you 13,14 EUR including all the fees. 🙄

    Edit: On the upside, let's appreciate how straightforward it finally got to buy stuff from overseas that is above the old import sales tax exemption limit (22 EUR usually), because it get's shipped directly to you without any delays. Until recently, the customs office held my parcels hostage and sent me a letter to let me know they have something for me to pick up. So I always had to drive 25 km with the printed out invoice - sometimes waiting up to half an hour in the queue - and open the package there just to pay a few euros.

  • These postal companies, having the monopoly for postal services became pimps, picking pockets for their good.

  • These extra taxes of 5€ or 7.5€ that you talk doesn't make sense. There in Portugal ,if we buy from ebay,or other similar website ,we pay vat(iva) on website and up to 150€ , we don't pay nothing else.when the goods arrive won't stop on costoms . What sense makes pay 5€ on a arduino promini that cost 1.5€?

    We only pay costoms (mail company) taxes if we do mot pay Vat(iva) on website.

    That extra taxes shoud be for you order more stuff toguether in the same order...and the mail companies don't deal with so many small packages

  • In Belgium, the aliexpress price now includes taxes, and we do not pay for import, just like @Tmaster described for Portugal. So, it is still cheap...

  • Hardware Contributor

    @Tmaster said in 2021 EU customs regulatory changes — where should I buy now?:

    What sense makes pay 5€ on a arduino promini that cost 1.5€?

    It makes perfect sense when the idea is to stop the flood of dirt cheap packages from China that abused the Universal Postal Union by paying extremely low terminal dues to receiving postal companies, making them lose money on each delivered parcel.

  • my experience is different, aliexpress is collected vat on purchase and item was shipped from Netherlands
    Price: 11.29€
    VAT (collected by Aliexpress): 2.59€
    my post office sent me email asking for pay 6.09€ (2.59vat and 3.50 fee) and there is no way of contacting them or sending pre-paid vat just a reference number to pay vat online.

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