How much import duty do I have to pay
- Marcel Hoebink
- The basis
- 4 Apr 2023
- Edited 27 Dec 2022
- 8 min
- Managing and growing
If you import goods from outside the EU, you usually pay import duties. The amount of these import duties depends on the TARIC code of the product and the country from which you are importing. The EU has concluded trade agreements with several countries. You often pay less import duties when importing from those countries.
Do you want to know how much import duty you have to pay for your product? You can consult various databases for this. We walk you through the steps in the examples below.
When do you pay import duties in the Netherlands?
You only pay import duties in the Netherlands if you import products from countries outside the EU (third countries). You will be exempt from import duties if your shipment from a third country amounts to a maximum of € 150 (excluding transport and insurance costs). Please note: this exemption does not apply to alcoholic products, perfumes and toilet waters, and tobacco and tobacco products.
Are you importing from an EU country? Then you never pay import duties in the Netherlands.
Do you import goods from suppliers outside the EU? Then you will encounter the term 'HS code'. HS codes (Harmonised System codes) are codes that the World Customs Organization (WCO) uses to classify goods. 183 countries are members of the WCO and use uniform HS codes for products. The HS code (in the Netherlands also known as GS code: Geharmoniseerd Systeem) of a product consists of 6 digits and forms the basis for a more extensive product code that differs per country. This means that each country can individually extend the HS code of a product with additional numbers.
TARIC code and commodity code
You usually need a 10-digit code if you import goods from a country outside the EU. The universal HS code of 6 digits is then extended with 4 digits, which may differ per product. In the EU, we call this 10-digit code a TARIC code, or commodity code upon import.
By stating the TARIC code or commodity code in your import declaration, customs can identify the products you import and the amount of import duties you have to pay. The rate of import duties (and other forms of import tax, such as import VAT) is therefore linked to the TARIC code of a product.
Country of origin
Do you import products directly (in Dutch) from a country with which the EU has a trade agreement? And are these products of preferential origin from that treaty country? Then you often pay less or no import duties.
The preferential origin of a product indicates that the product was harvested, farmed, bred, extracted, or caught in the country with which the trade agreement exists. Either that it has been produced in that country from materials originating in the country, or that it has been produced from materials from other countries, but that those materials have been sufficiently processed in the treaty country. Different origin rules apply to each product.
Import duties for your product
You need a TARIC code to find out the import duties for your product. You can look up TARIC codes in the customs tariff database of Dutch Customs or in the European Commission’s Access2Markets database. See the examples below.
In the example below, we walk through the customs tariff and the import duty of:
Long drink glasses made of toughened glass (other than crystal and glass ceramic)
- Visit Customs tariff database (Douane Tarief Voorziening, DTV). For English, select the UK flag in the top-right of your screen.
- In the menu (button top-left of your screen), click on the 'Nomenclature' tab and select 'Query by nomenclature'.
- Section XIII states: ‘Articles of stone, plaster, cement, asbestos, mica or similar materials; ceramic products; glass and glassware (chapter 68 - 70)’
- Click on the yellow folder for 'Section XIII'.
- Then click on the folder 'Chapter 70' – Glass and glassware'.
- Then click on the folder '7013 - Glassware of a kind used for table, kitchen, toilet, office, indoor decoration or similar purposes’.
- Then select the folder: '- other drinking glasses, other than glass ceramic'.
- Finally, select the folder '7013 37: -- other'. This is the 6-digit HS code.
- You will now see the code '7013 37 10 00'. This is the 10-digit TARIC code or commodity code for long drink glasses made of toughened glass.
- Click on the magnifying glass.
- Select the country from which you are importing the goods and click on 'Search'.
In the column 'Measure type' you may find the following descriptions:
Third country duty
‘Third country duty’ applies to products from countries with which the EU does not have a trade agreement, such as China and the United States of America. For the long drink glasses in this example you can see in the column ‘Duty expression’ that the import duty is 11%.
If you import processed agricultural products, you may pay agricultural levies. You can then encounter the following abbreviations in the column ‘Duty expression’: EA (agricultural component), AD S/Z (additional duty on sugar contents), AD F/M (additional duty on flour contents). You pay these levies based on the content of milk fat, milk protein, starch, and sugars.
If you see a ‘tariff preference’ field, you import your product from a country with which the EU has a trade agreement. As a result, you usually pay less or no import duties (see column ‘Duty expression’). In the example of the long drink glasses, depending on the country, an exemption from import duty usually applies. The name of the treaty country is shown in the column ‘Geographical area’.
Note: Some treaty countries are not mentioned by name in the column 'Geographical area'. These countries then belong to a 'group of countries' with which the EU has concluded a trade agreement. By clicking on these group names (such as CARIFORUM, SADC EPA, SAP, European Economic Area, GSP+, OCT, and Central America) you can see which countries are included.
To qualify for tariff preference, the products must be shipped directly from the treaty country. The products must also be of preferential origin in the treaty country. You can demonstrate this with a preferential origin document or declaration (see column ‘Conditions). Examples of this are the EUR.1 certificate, an invoice declaration, or certificate of origin. Which document or declaration you need depends on the treaty country and possibly the value of the shipment.
Customs Union Duty
Do you import products from Türkiye, San Marino, or Andorra? Then you see ‘Customs Union Duty’ for a large number of products. This implies that the EU has a customs union with these countries. This customs union ensures that you do not pay import duties for many products from these countries. Originating from a country means that the product was produced in that country or that the product was previously imported into that country from another country.
Example: originating from Türkiye means that the product was made in Türkiye or that the product was imported into Türkiye from another country. When importing from Türkiye, an ATR certificate ensures exemption from import duties for these products.
(Non-)Preferential Tariff Quota
If you come across the ‘Preferential tariff quota’ field for your import country and product, a reduction in import duties applies to the import of a certain quantity of the product into the EU. In order to be eligible for this, you need an origin document or declaration (see column ‘Conditions’). Once the quantity has been reached, you pay the customs tariff written in the column ‘Third country duty' from that moment on. See column 'Quota order number' for more information about the quota.
If you see a 'Non-preferential tariff quota' field, you will need an additional document to qualify for a reduction in import duties (assuming your import falls within the tariff quota). See the column ‘Conditions’ to find out what type of document you need. This may for example be, import certificates for certain agricultural products or certificates of authenticity for handmade products.
Definitive anti-dumping duty and other measures
The column ‘Measure type' may also list other import taxes. For example, 'definitive anti-dumping duty'. This is an additional import duty on certain products on top of the import duty. The last field in the column is 'VAT (NLBTW)'. You can find the Dutch VAT import rate in the column ‘tariff’.
Measures that do not relate to import duties may also apply. For example 'phytocontrol' (a check on the health of, for example, certain vegetables or fruit). Or 'CITES import control' for (products of) endangered exotic animal and plant species. Which measures apply depend on the product and the country from which you are importing.
There also is a public user manual for the customs tariff database. If you need help, call the Tax Information Line (0800-0543) for assistance.
European Commission’s Access2Markets
In addition to the Customs tariff database, you can also find out the import duties for your products via the Access2Markets website of the European Commission. This is how:
- In the 'Country from' field, select the country from which the goods will be shipped. In the ‘Country to' field, select the country of import (for example, the Netherlands).
- Fill in the 'Product name or HS code' field. It is easiest to enter the HS code because the database does not recognise all product names. The HS code of the long drink glasses in our example is 7013 37. After you have entered the HS code, click on 'search'.
- You will then see code 7013 37 10 for drinking glasses made of toughened glass. Click on this code.
- Here you can find the general import duty (ERGA OMNES/Third country duty), which is stated in the column ‘tariff’: 11%. If you import from a country with which the EU has a trade agreement, you will usually see a reduced duty under the general import duty (Tariff preferences).
- On the left you will find additional information for your imported product, such as:
- Taxes (for instance: import VAT)
- Import regulations (import procedures and product requirements)
- Trade flow statistics
- Rules of origin (applicable only to products that you import from a treaty country. To qualify for tariff preference, your product must comply with the applicable rules of origin).
TARIC code not found
It is not always easy to find the TARIC code of a product. Sometimes the description of the product may not be clear to you. Do you need help determining the code and the import duty? Call the Tax Information Line (0800-0543)
You can also ask your foreign supplier whether they have the HS code of your imported product. This also makes it easier to find out the TARIC code of the product (after all, the first 6 digits of the HS code and the TARIC code correspond).
Binding Tariff Information (BTI)
For products that are difficult to classify and for which you are in doubt about the correctness of the TARIC code, you can request Binding Tariff Information (BTI) (in Dutch) from Dutch Customs. This is a written and binding statement about the TARIC code for your import product. Verbally provided information about TARIC codes via the Tax Information Line or Customs, or via an advisor or forwarding agent, is not binding. If during a check it turns out that you have used an incorrect TARIC code during import and as a result have paid too few import duties, customs can make further inquiries. This also applies to any previous import shipments of your product. With a BTI you can prevent this. A BTI is valid for 3 years throughout the EU from the BTI’s date of issue.
Calculating import duties
Do you have to pay import duties in the Netherlands for your product? You then need to calculate this on the basis of the so-called customs value. The customs value is the value that the imported goods have at the external border of the EU. In addition to the price you pay for the goods, you must also include costs such as transport and insurance costs up to the border (or port) of entry into the EU.
|30,000 pieces toughened glass long drink glasses from China:||€10,000|
|Transport and insurance costs China – EU entry point:||€2,000|
|Import duties due; 11% over customs value:||€1,320|
* Note: There are several ways to determine the customs value. For example, certain costs can be added or subtracted from the customs value. Sometimes import duty is based on the quantity of goods. For example, you pay import duty for wine at an amount per hectolitre. The amount may also vary depending on the type of wine and alcohol content.