Frequently asked questions about VAT on parcels from China
For mail items with a declared value of less than SEK 1,600, the fee will usually be SEK 75, including VAT. The fee covers PostNord’s costs for providing the VAT declaration.
For mail items with a declared value of SEK 1,600 or more, the current fee of SEK 125, including VAT, will continue to apply. In addition to the cost of the VAT declaration, this also covers the cost of making a customs declaration.
In addition to the fee, VAT, which is usually calculated as 25% of the mail item’s value, including any shipping costs, also has to be paid.
When ordering certain goods, known as restricted goods (e.g. dietary supplements), a customs declaration has to be provided even if the value is less than SEK 1,600, in which case PostNord’s fee is SEK 125.
There is a different regulatory framework for goods sent between private individuals, and this will remain unchanged. The limit for these is currently SEK 500 today, i.e. gifts with a declared value of less than SEK 500 are not subjected to VAT or a fee.
In the media, the discussions about fees have mainly made reference to goods from China, and the absolute majority of all shipments that are subject to a fee originate from China. However, the fee is charged on goods purchased from all third countries, i.e. countries outside the EU Customs Union.
These are not affected. If you make an online purchase from an EU country as a consumer, you pay either Swedish VAT or the VAT in the country where the e-retailer is registered (depending on the e-retailer’s turnover regarding trade with Sweden). Regardless of which of these applies, no VAT or customs declaration is required at the border, and no fee is charged.
Mail items that arrive in Sweden after March 1 require a VAT declaration. There is no possibility of having parallel regulatory frameworks in place that take into account the date an order was placed. Orders that have already been placed may thus be affected, depending on when they arrive in Sweden.
The mail item is stored pending the payment of the VAT and the fee. If the fee is not paid, the item will be returned to the sender. At the same time, the request for payment of VAT and the VAT declaration fee will be canceled. Thus, you do not risk being charged late payment interest or reminder fees, or being issued with a debt collection notice or similar if you choose not to pay.
The party that submits a VAT and/or customs declaration performs a service, which costs money. The costs consist of salaries and taxes, technical equipment, premises for staff, and space for storing mail items pending payment, etc. All this costs money, for which PostNord has to be compensated. In this context, it should be noted that this change entails a reduction of the fee for mail items with a declared value of between approx. SEK 220 (EUR 22) and SEK 1,500.
As mail items are stored pending payment, it is inevitable that it will normally take longer for them to arrive. Mail items without a value, such as normal letters, will be delivered straight away, so there should normally be no delay in delivering such items.
In the case of e-commerce purchases made from outside the EU, the consumer protection in force in the country in which the online store is based applies, or a warranty provided by the vendor. It is therefore always important to carefully examine the conditions that apply, especially when making purchases from outside the EU.
In some cases, for example, the vendor states that there is a 30-day right of withdrawal from the point in time of delivery, i.e. from the day you receive the goods, which would mean that any storage time would not affect this. However, it is the importer’s responsibility to examine the terms and conditions that apply for each individual purchase.
After receiving a notification, you have at least 14 days to pay.
In general, commercial mail items with a declared value of less than SEK 1,500 are subject to payment of VAT, but customs duty does not have to be paid.
In such cases, PostNord’s administrative fee is SEK 75, including VAT. However, for certain goods, such as dietary supplements, there are special rules stating that customs duties have to be paid even if their value is less than SEK 1,600. In such cases, PostNord must submit both a VAT declaration and a customs declaration. The fee for this administrative processing is SEK 125, including VAT.
For certain goods, such as dietary supplements, there are special rules stating that customs duties have to be paid even if their value is less than SEK 1,500. In such cases, PostNord must submit both a VAT declaration and a customs declaration. The fee for this administrative processing is SEK 125, including VAT. More information about which goods are subject to special rules is available on the Swedish Customs Agency website.
A mail item originating outside the EU Customs Union may arrive in Sweden with another EU country stated as the sender, which is known as transiting. A product arriving in Sweden in this way has not been subjected to customs clearance in accordance with current EU law upon arrival in the EU, but instead has customs duties applied when it arrives at the country of destination. In such cases, PostNord has to handle the product as if it had come directly from outside the EU Customs Union, and submit a VAT declaration, as well as a customs declaration when required by the regulations.
However, if your product originated in an EU country or if the mail item has already been properly subjected to customs clearance on arrival in the EU, an error has occurred and you should contact our customer service.
There are different services for letters in the international flows. When PostNord receives mail items transported as letters, these can, for example, be express letters, registered letters or unregistered regular letters. The unregistered letters are the cheapest to send, but this also means they lack traceability. When an unregistered mail item arrives in Sweden, it usually does not have a unique barcode, which results in it not being traceable. However, mail items from certain e-commerce platforms do have a barcode, which make them seem like they are traceable. PostNord does not use this barcode, as it does not comply with international standards for barcodes and, above all, is not guaranteed to be unique.
In order to be able to handle such imported mail items, PostNord must therefore give these a new item ID. If you require better traceability, you should use mail services that are traceable, when available, such as express or registered letters.
If you have received a letter or text message to your cell phone about paying a declaration fee, and you are certain that you have not ordered anything, there is no need to pay the fee. Please note however, in some cases and due to current legislation, gifts will be subjected to VAT and therefore you might receive a notification for a gift that has been sent to you. You can read more about receiving gifts at the website of the Swedish Customs.
Without payment, the consignment will be returned to the sender after the retention period and the fee will be canceled.