I'm a resident of Denmark travelling to the UK for a holiday. Here, I will be receiving an item bought online in the US. FedEx has applied the UK VAT of approx 800 USD, whereas the VAT in Denmark would have more likely been around 1000 USD.

When returning to Denmark, will I have to declare it in customs again?

Reading through the customs laws we have, I'm not finding any specific mention of such a scenario, nor have I had any luck finding court precedence. I'm thinking on one side, the EU VAT/customs fee has been paid.

On the other, as a resident of Denmark simply passing through the UK, the true "country of delivery" might be considered Denmark? Paying VAT in the first country where the item enters the EU would for businesses usually be considered illegal, but does the personal use case here alter those circumstances?

So again: When returning to Denmark, will I have to declare it in customs?

  • If you are good in understanding legalese, you can find the answer in Council Directive 2006/112/EC, article 32, 2. paragraph. It might be because of the heat, but I have read it a few times now and honestly don't understand what it is trying to say: 'However, if dispatch or transport of the goods begins in a third territory or third country, both the place of supply by the importer designated or recognised under Article 201 as liable for payment of VAT and the place of any subsequent supply shall be deemed to be within the Member State of importation of the goods.' Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 21:23
  • As bureaucratic legalese goes, that seems pretty straightforward. As I understand it, once the VAT and duty are paid, it is released for free circulation, and no further customs clearance is necessary anywhere in the EU. Now if I can only find a reference that explains this in plain English.... Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 22:57
  • Good God, there it is. Article 32 is all I was searching for yesterday! Anyway, I called the Danish Customs Agency today and they gave me the same answer. Thanks, regardless! Anyway, add this as an answer and I'll mark it as correct - heck, this might become that reference that explains it in plain English ;)
    – ZKA
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 10:53
  • @ZheerMcHammerHusain could you make this an answer? For future users.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 0:05


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