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Updated : 17/12/2014

shopping

VAT

Pay VAT in the country where you shop

As a private individual shopping in the EU, you should only pay VAT once, in the country where you make your purchase.

You can bring home anything you buy in another EU country, without stopping at the border or making a customs declaration. The only condition is that your purchases must be for your own or your family's personal use, and not intended for resale.

Exception for telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services

From January 1st 2015, VAT on telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services is charged in the country where you live (the country where you are established , have your permanent address or usually live), and not in the country from where you purchase the service. These rules apply to services supplied both within and from outside the EU.

Sample story

Senta, lives in Sweden and purchases eBooks from a Finnish online book seller. The Finnish supplier must charge her Swedish and not Finnish VAT.

Exception for cars

For new cars bought in another EU country, VAT is paid in the country where you register your car, that is, in your country of residence.

A new car means one which has travelled less than 6 000 km, or is less than six months old. This VAT scheme also applies to other new means of transport, such as boats and aircraft.

For used cars and other second-hand vehicles bought from a private person, the VAT will already have been paid by the original buyer in the country of purchase.

You should therefore not pay VAT for a used car bought from a private person, either in the country where you buy it, or the country where you register it.

A 'used car' means one which is more than six months old and has travelled more than 6 000 km.

For new and used cars, you will still need to pay the local fee for registering your car in your country of residence.

Find out more about your rights when you buy a car in another EU country.

Help and advice

Footnote

In this case, the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

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