Guidelines for Shipping to the European Union

Updated by Tony Runyan

Below are some changes within the European Union (EU) that may impact the shipping experience for you and your recipients. 


What’s changing?  

Effective July 1, 2021, EU member states will collect value added tax (VAT) for all goods entering the EU. The VAT ranges from 17% to 27% depending on the EU member state, not including any applicable duties or fees. 


What do you need to do?  

To help prevent your EU-bound shipments from being delayed, held, returned, or abandoned, we recommend the following:

  • Let shoppers know whether VAT, duties, and fees will be paid during the checkout process, or at some point afterwards. In addition, let them know that if VAT is not paid to you or the online marketplace at checkout, these added costs may exceed the merchandise’s value.  
  • Collect the recipient’s phone number or email address at checkout, and include it with every outbound shipment. This contact information helps customs officials resolve issues and collect any owed amounts. 
  • Collect VAT during the checkout process and remit monthly payments to participating EU-member states via the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) electronic portal. This requires contracting with an EU-based tax intermediary, as well as IOSS registration, as described on this official EU page: 
  • Include detailed customs information with every outbound shipment to the EU, to make customs clearance as smooth as possible. This now includes the applicable IOSS number (belonging to either you or your online marketplace), in addition to HS tariff codes, country of origin, customs description, etc. Instructions for including this information will vary depending on your shipping software. 


How did we do?