Taxes on imported goods

When importing goods into the Netherlands from outside the European Union (EU), you will usually have to pay import duties. You will also have to pay VAT and in some cases excise duty, consumption tax or other levies.

Import duties

Import duties are levied on imported goods. The Dutch Customs authorities levy and collect the duty and transfer the sums collected to the EU. Member states are entitled to retain a portion of the import duties that they collect to cover collection costs.

Customs authorities do not levy import duties on products traded between EU member states. However, VAT will be payable. Some products are also subject to excise duty and consumption tax. 

All EU member states apply the same common customs tariff (CCT).

Protection against low prices

Levying import duties on imported goods is a way of protecting countries against cheaper products from third countries. Companies in some countries can produce their products more cheaply due to lower wages, costs and prices. Adding import duties to these products makes them more expensive, thereby narrowing the price difference and enabling countries to compete more effectively with producers in third countries. 

VAT and reverse charging

In addition to import duties, you normally have to pay VAT. The VAT rate is the same as that which applies to supplies of goods and services in the Netherlands. In some cases VAT can be declared by the customer as if it had supplied the goods/services, under the reverse charging mechanism.

Excise duty and consumption tax

Excise duty is payable on excise goods, which include:

  • alcoholic beverages (such as beer and wine);
  • tobacco products (such as cigarettes and cigars);
  • mineral oils (such as diesel or petrol). 

Tobacco products require a valid Dutch excise stamp. Consumption tax is also payable on imports of non-alcoholic beverages.

Other levies

In some cases other levies are payable on imported goods, for instance agricultural levies on agricultural products or anti-dumping duty on industrial products. These levies are intended to prevent products coming onto the European market at exceptionally low prices.