General information about charges
When you purchase a product from another country, you sometimes need to pay customs duty, VAT and possibly other taxes and charges.
Importation or acquisition – depends on the country you are buying from
It is called importation when you bring in a product into the EU (Sweden) from a country outside the EU. When the product arrives in Sweden, it must be reported (declared) to Swedish Customs and you have to pay customs duty, VAT and any other taxes and charges. How much you pay in customs duty, VAT and any other taxes and charges depends, among other things, on the value and type of your goods.
When you bring a product into Sweden from a country within the EU, this is classed as acquisition. Goods that you bring with you from another EU country are mainly subject to the principle concerning the free movement of goods within the EU’s single market. This means that you do not need to pay any customs duty, VAT or other taxes or charges for the goods. There are some exceptions to this principle. Exceptions apply to goods with special rules such as prohibitions or restrictions.
Is the country a Member State?
If you are uncertain whether the country that you are trading with is a Member State, you can visit the website of the European Union and consult a list of Member States or search for a specific country.
What taxes and charges may you need to pay?
How much the customs duty will be depends on what type of product it is, what it costs and from which country it originates. Certain products have no customs duty at all while others may have up to 20 per cent in duty. The duty is calculated on the purchase price and shipping cost.
The duty is the same throughout the EU, and the general rule is that you have to pay customs duty if the consignment contains goods with a combined value of more than SEK 1,700.
You must always pay VAT on goods that you buy from countries outside the EU, regardless of the value of the goods.
The VAT is nearly always 25 per cent of the sum obtained by adding together the price of the goods, the freight charge and the customs duty. For foodstuffs, VAT is 12 per cent and for printed matter (e.g. books) it is 6 per cent.
The taxes, known as excise duty, that may be applied when buying a product online are alcohol tax, energy tax (incl. carbon dioxide and sulphur tax) and tobacco tax.
Excise duty must be paid for goods that are imported from a region outside the EU’s fiscal territory.
EU’s excise duty area (information in swedish from the Swedish Tax Agency).
In addition to customs duty, VAT and any other taxes, you may also need to pay the transport company’s charges.
How to calculate the total price of your product
You want to buy some plastic mobile phone cases from China. The total price you see when making the order is SEK 1,800. To get an idea of what you might ultimately pay, you need to account for the following costs:
Shipping and insurance: SEK 50
Customs duty (6.5 %): 1,850 x 6.5 % = SEK 120
VAT (25 %): (1,850 + 120) x 25 % = SEK 493
Total: (1,800 + 50 + 120 + 493) = SEK 2,463
Depending on the company that transports your product, you may also need to pay an import duty declaration fee or administration fee of around SEK 125.
From SEK 1,800 to SEK 2,463
The total price for the mobile phone cases may therefore be SEK 2,463.
- Lagen om tobaksskatt (LTS) (information about the act on taxation of tobacco products in swedish)
- Lagen om alkoholskatt (LAS) (information about the act on taxation of alcohol in swedish)
- Lagen om skatt på energi (LSE) (information about the act on taxation of energy in swedish)
- Lag (1994:1551) om frihet från skatt vid import, m.m. (information about the act on exemption from taxation upon import in swedish)
- Lag (1998:506) om punktskattekontroll av transporter m.m. av alkoholvaror, tobaksvaror och energiprodukter (information about the act on excise duty checks on consignments of alcoholic goods, tobacco products and energy products in swedish)
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