Important changes
to EU VAT rules
as of 1 July 2021

Important changes
to EU VAT rules
as of 1 July 2021

All businesses will be affected, but the changes will mainly affect business-to-consumer (B2C) sales and online marketplaces, including those based within the EU and those based outside that are selling to customers in the EU.


3 main changes

Removal of the €22 import VAT exemption for all importer (professional and private)

From July 1, 2021, VAT will be charged on all commercial goods imported into the EU, regardless of value

Possible VAT payment by non-EU shipper via an electronic portal for B2C goods ≤ 150€ (If option for Import One-Stop Shop is applied)

For shipments with a value below 150€, VAT can either be charged at the time of the sale by the seller and refund by using the new Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) or collected from the end-consignee by the customs declarant if IOSS not chosen by the non-EU shipper.

Online marketplaces becoming the VAT collector for B2C goods ≤ 150€

Online marketplaces enabling sellers to sell their goods directly to end-consignee, will now be responsible for charging/collecting, reporting and remitting the VAT due from the end-consignee. The scheme would apply for cross-border or domestic transactions of any value. In any case, no VAT has to be collected by the customs declarant from the end-consignee.

Detailed information for import to COUNTRY

Each shipment that arrives in COUNTRY (e.g. Germany) from a country outside the EU is checked by Customs. It's only after this process, and potentially payment of VAT & Duties when required, that your parcel will be picked up by DPD or SEUR or BRT for delivery.

Customs formalities

As a customs agent, Chronopost is authorized to perform all import customs clearance operations in mainland France and French overseas territories. The only services that we are unable to provide are temporary admissions and those for goods subject to specific regulations.

  • We hold the title of 'Authorized Economic Operator' (AEO), issued by the General Directorate of Customs and Indirect Taxes (DGDDI). This title allows us to benefit from simplified formalities and reduced customs controls, which speeds up customs clearance. It is still important that the sender of your shipment adheres to import conditions in France in order to avoid any customs delays.
  • The France 'country information sheet' will provide you with information on processing times and country-specific customs features to help your sender best prepare their shipment. We remind you that in accordance with Article 3 of our standard terms and conditions, Chronopost does not agree to carry counterfeit products. Such objects may be seized by Customs and result in heavy fines.
  • All goods arriving from the rest of the world are subject to customs formalities and must travel with a commercial or proforma invoice.
  • Sending documents does not require customs documentation. A document is a paper medium without commercial value.
  • Shipments of documents of more than 3 kg are considered goods.
  • The nature of the goods and their use must be clearly stated; technical terms or serial references are not accepted (e.g.: Shure SM58 = Microphone)
  • There are specific processes for certain goods such as jewelry, plants, medicines and food supplements for which the consignee must use a freight forwarder who will clear the goods through customs and deliver them.

Tax arrangements

For shipments from a country that is not part of the European Union, French Customs will apply a tax: these are customs duties. Here is how it works.

How are customs duties calculated?

  • The import tax threshold is determined by the value of the shipment. This threshold is set at €22 for businesses and €45 for private individuals. If the value of the shipment is less than the set threshold, then no tax will be applied.
  • Please note that mail order products are taxable from the first Euro (€1).
  • Customs duties are calculated based on the value of the goods and transportation costs. In a nutshell: Tax base = value of goods + transport costs.
  • Please note that if transport costs are not shown, an amount will be added according to an international average scale.

How is the import tax amount calculated?

  • The charge applied to the import of goods includes the amount of VAT, customs duties and processing fees.
  • VAT (at 20% or 5.5% on books and any commodity of more than 100 years old) is calculated on the value declared for customs purposes and the amount of customs duties.

How are duty and tax payments distributed and to whom?

  • Customs duties are a community tax paid to the European Union.
  • VAT is a local tax that goes to the French National Treasury.
  • Application fees are customs clearance fees paid to Chronopost as a customs agent, which currently stand at €21 per declaration (including VAT) since 01/09/2010.
  • All of these taxes must be paid to Chronopost upon delivery of the shipment.
  • For any questions regarding customs regulations, please visit the official customs website

Dispute settlement

Has your shipment been blocked by customs for missing or incomplete invoice? Let's go through the various cases and their appropriate solutions.

First of all, ask the sender of your package for an invoice, otherwise it will be returned to the sender

You're expecting goods for commercial or non-commercial purposes:

  • An invoice (in 5 copies) must be included with the package and must contain precise information on the nature, origin and value of the goods.
  • For your commercial trades (goods for sale), the commercial invoice must contain the Incoterm (International Commercial Term).
  • For your non-commercial trades (goods not for resale) the proforma invoice must contain the words "sans valeur commerciale - no commercial value" and "valeur pour la douane uniquement - value for customs purposes Only"

You've bought goods on the Internet:

  • You must provide a proforma invoice as well as your proof of payment (Paypal invoice or bank transaction).
  • In all cases, you must include your payment agreement for the delivery fees, either on plain paper or by attachment in your email (.pdf or .doc), in the following format:
  •  "Je soussigné(e) Madame, Monsieur xxx, m’engage à régler les droits et taxes à la livraison de mon colis N° xxx" (I, the undersigned Mrs/Mr xxx, agree to pay all applicable duties and delivery fees on my parcel No. xxx)
  • Date and sign
  • NB: For shipments from Norway, Morocco, and Israel, the original invoice must be used.

Resolution Process

  • In the event of a dispute, Chronopost will establish contact with the consignee or sender within 24 hours of the creation of the record of non-compliance.
  • Within a maximum of 14 days after the problem is encountered, you may send the completed documents as well as your agreement to pay all fees.
  • You must include the shipment reference in all communication, otherwise your record will not be processed.

For any specific question related VAT rules, please contact your local sales representative.