Do I need to pay VAT or Duty for acquisitions from China?

What exactly is import sales tax?

No more “China bargains” from the net: Duty free allowance should fall in 2021. The Ministry of Finance announces the abolition of the EUR 22 exemption limit on July 1, 2021. “China bargains” will then be at least 20 percent more expensive, as announced by the Ministry of Finance, the Post Office and the Austrian Trade Association.

This tax, which is often confused with customs duties, applies to all shipments from non-EU countries – including China. The amount of this tax is 19% (DE) 20% (AT), so it is exactly as high as the VAT that we pay on purchases within the EU.

VAT or Duty for acquisitions from China until July 1, 2021

The current regulation until July 1, 2021 on products that do not cost more than 22 euros including postage can be imported into Austria duty-free. From 22 euros and up to 150 euros import sales tax (20 percent) will be charged. If the value exceeds 150 euros, the tariff rate provided for the respective product group also applies, which in turn can differ depending on the country of origin. No customs fees are charged for smartphones.

VAT or Duty for acquisitions from China after July 1, 2021

The new regulation (from July 2021) exemption limit of 22 euros will be abolished. From then on, import sales tax must be paid for each shipment. Above this threshold, customs fees may still be charged.

For more information on import costs check out the WKO site here.

Other VAT, or Import duties?

In addition to the import duty, import sales tax is levied on imports (assessment basis: duty-paid value of the goods plus any consumption taxes). The standard tax rate for value added tax (and thus also the import sales tax) is 13%, the reduced tax rate 9% depending if you are in Germany or another EU country.