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Import VAT Europe

The advantages of importing goods into Europe through the Netherlands

The advantage to importing goods into Europe via the Netherlands:

  • There is a VAT hub in the Netherlands, which exempts you from local registration in other EU countries. If goods are shipped directly to, example Germany, and for sold to a German client, you will have to register in Germany and file VAT declarations.
  • No (import) VAT is to be paid at customs if goods imported via the Netherlands. ,You can store goods in the Netherlands and therefore have a shorter response time for orders.
  • VAT on expenses made in other EU countries can be claimed via the Netherlands.

The Netherlands allows import VAT to be reverse charged to the periodical VAT return with the article 23 permit. This results into a cash-flow benefit as it can take up to 6 months before the VAT is refunded. Germany, France, Spain, for example, do not provide this mechanism.

In general, import duties are payable upon import. However, it is possible to import goods temporarily, under customs supervision, if your company is planning to export goods to non-EU countries and only storing goods in the Netherlands. This prevents import duties, which are non-refundable.

Most sales to customers in the Netherlands are subject to VAT. The applicable rate is dependent on the type of goods that are sold.

If your company does not have a Permanent Establishment in the Netherlands, then the applicable VAT may be reverse charged to the Dutch customer and no VAT is added on the invoice. Please note that this is only possible if the customer has a valid VAT number in the Netherlands.

When invoicing and shipping goods to Business to business customers in other EU countries, the VAT is reverse charged to the customer. Please note that the customer must have a valid VAT number in the country to which the goods have been shipped. Otherwise VAT will have to be charged on the invoice.

When applying the reverse charge mechanism, the VAT numbers of the customers must be provided to the Dutch Tax Authorities. Additional EC-sales listings have to be filed to provide this information. Business to consumer sales in the EU are always subject to VAT. In general Dutch VAT is applicable, however, if the VAT thresholds are met, local VAT is to be charged on the invoice. ABC will have to register in the respective country and file VAT declarations. If the total sales of goods to customers in EU countries is higher than EUR 1.5 million (2015 threshold), statistics filings have to be filed. This because the EU would like to track the flow of goods within the EU. Goods exported to non-EU countries are, in general, not subject to EU VAT, as they are brought into the EU on a temporary basis to finally be exported and thus preventing import duties.

Depending on local legislation of the non-EU country, VAT may be applicable locally.

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Jan. 4, 2016  |  Share this post: