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How much do the customs charge for entering the EU with a packaged and sealed netbook? (maybe it will be a smartphone). Am I better off limiting the price to a certain threshold? (when it gets expensive).

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There is no common rule across the EU. It depends what country you import to. They will charge you the full VAT % of the country in Question - provided that the items cost is below a certain level. There is a standard VAT of minimum 15%, but it's hard to set one rule for the whole EU, see here.

The duty for importing electronic goods into the EU is limited by the cost of the item: - Up to a value of €430 for air and sea travelers - Up to value of €300 for other travelers

  • +1 even if I would argue those are quite detailed common rules ;-) Note that goods under the € 430 allowance are also exempt from VAT, not only customs duty (which is also more-or-less harmonized EU-wide). – Relaxed Apr 24 '14 at 7:43
  • @Annoyed only way EU VAT is harmonised is in that it's bloody high across the EU :( Rates still range from around 15 to around 25%. – jwenting Apr 24 '14 at 9:47
  • @jwenting The number of categories and a lot of other fine points (what can be exempted, etc.) are also harmonized, only the rates themselves can vary somewhat within this framework. – Relaxed Apr 24 '14 at 9:51
  • @Annoyed not quite, the lists of which products fall within which categories are not harmonised. E.g. in the Netherlands drinking water falls under the high rate, AFAIK in no other country is that the case and in several it may even be untaxed. – jwenting Apr 24 '14 at 9:53
  • @jwenting Hum, I see how my comment might have been unclear but I didn't mean that the categories had to be exactly the same (because they indeed don't have to, which is why I first wrote about the number of categories). The point is that there are many many rules about it and only a few parameters that can be changed (even less than it seems at first, if you consider the fact that some national rules have been “grandfathered in” by ad hoc agreements but couldn't be reintroduced today). – Relaxed Apr 24 '14 at 10:14
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Depending on how you are entering a the EU you are exempt from taxes if the total value of goods is below a certain threshold:

(€ 300 if you are arriving on board a private ocean-going pleasure craft or private aircraft, € 430 in other cases)

source

If the total value of the goods you are bringing are above these threshold there are three taxes applicable, which differ per member state.

  1. Import duty
  2. Excise duty
  3. VAT

There is a handy online calculator

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