Naambeeld Belastingdienst/Douane

Import duties

When importing goods into the EU, you normally have to pay import duties. You pay the import duties on a 'basis of assessment'. This amount is the same for all EU countries. It therefore makes no difference whether you import a good into the Netherlands or into France; in both cases, you pay the same amount in import duties. The other import taxes (such as VAT or excise duties) differ from one Member State to another.

Ad valorem duties

The import duties can be calculated on the customs value. In that case, you pay a percentage of the customs value as import duties. The level of that percentage depends on the kind of product you are importing. The Tariff lists all the percentages.

If the import duties are calculated in this manner, they are called 'ad valorem duties'. The customs value is the price paid for the export of the goods to the EU.

Specific duties

In a number of situations, the Tariff provides for specific duties. In that case, the level of the import duties is calculated on the basis of, for example:

  • the quantity (expressed in kilograms, litres, etc.)
  • the content (such as the alcoholic strength by volume or the fat content)
  • the number of square metres

Combinations of ad valorem duties and specific duties are also possible.

Sometimes you pay a reduced duty or a zero duty instead of the general customs duties discussed here - see Special import procedure on this site. All duties can be found under the Tariff.