VAT within the European Union (EU)

Under European VAT rules, businesses and people pay VAT in only one European country. VAT is paid either in the country of origin or in the country of destination of the goods or services. The rules applying to private individuals differ from those applying to businesses.

Private individuals pay VAT in the country of purchase

Private consumers who buy goods in another EU country usually pay VAT in that country. They are not required to pay VAT on the goods a second time in the Netherlands.

Exception: buying a new car

There is an exception for buying a new car in another EU country. In this case, private consumers pay VAT in the country in which the car is registered.

Traders pay VAT in the country of destination

When traders in different EU countries do business, VAT is usually levied in the country to which the goods are exported, i.e. the country of destination. A Dutch business buying goods from another EU country will generally pay VAT on those goods in the Netherlands. Traders who buy goods within their own country will remit VAT via the usual VAT tax return.

Exception: paying VAT in the country of purchase

Sometimes suppliers do charge foreign VAT. Traders can recover this VAT from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.