The EU Commission will abolish the VAT exoneration when importing goods worth under 22 Euros. Various other fees are also introduced.

This affects goods purchased outside the EU. So far, goods with a value under 22 Euro were VAT exempt when imported to the EU. This will no longer apply from 1 July 2021.

What do these changes mean?

An example: a 2 Euro purchase from a non-EU country, e.g. China or the UK, will now incur 17% VAT, plus administrative fees. The post office currently charges 15 Euro for these, which means that your 2 Euro item would now cost 17.34 Euro, if the old fees still applied.

The post office confirmed upon request that all goods purchased outside the EU will need to pass customs and VAT plus fees will apply. These can be paid via Digicash or when collecting the parcel. For items below 22€, the administrative fees will be 5€, while above 22€ it stays at 15€. This includes handling, the customs declaration and storage fees. The full leaflet from Post can be found here.

Other couriers like TNT, FedEx, UPS or DHL did not respond to our requests regarding fees.

In a parliamentary question, Mars di Bartolomeo wanted to know how this would work in practice. The minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna replied that there will be a new unique counter to simplify declarations of goods below 150 Euro. Nothing changes for goods above 150 Euros.

This unique counter will be managed by the customs and excise administration, in conjunction with the registration office. The control of imported goods underlies the Customs office.

Pierre Gramegna points out that all goods imported from third party countries must be declared at customs, and that the couriers charge fees for these which will be listed as "frais de présentation en douane", "frais douane", "frais de dédouanement", "frais d'agence en douane" or "autres frais". The amount charged is at the discretion of the courier, but these fees are not passed to Customs.

Sellers outside the EU are encouraged to register for the One-Stop-Show/IOSS system, which enables them to show the buyer the fees incurred at the moment of purchase, incl. VAT, import and customs fees. Further details can be found on the European Commission site.