Purchases outside the European Union: understand everything about the new tax


Since July 1, 2021, a new regulation has been put in place for purchases made outside the European Union and bound for metropolitan France or an EU country. 

Indeed, you now pay 20% more for your purchases when they come from foreign platforms. 

What is this tax? 

First of all, and to get straight to the point: It is the French VAT which is 20%. We all pay it every day in our daily purchases: shopping at the supermarket, gasoline, online shopping... When buying in France, it is always integrated in the final selling price. However, this is not the case when you make an online purchase outside the European Union. 


Until now, online sales platforms such as Aliexpress or Wish did not collect French VAT at the time of sale. On the other hand, the items whose value exceeded the European threshold of 22€ were subject to this VAT. This amount was "potentially" claimed from the customer upon delivery. 


However, the majority of sellers managed to bypass this threshold by splitting shipments or under-declaring items. To make up for this shortfall and to restore fairness to European traders who pay VAT, the European Union is adopting this new rule.  

How does it actually work? 

You will have to pay VAT on your purchases made on foreign platforms like Alibaba from the first euro spent. Just like you do today when you buy on any e-commerce registered in France or in the EU. 

If the VAT is not charged by the online sales site, it will be charged by the carrier at the time of delivery. Consequently, you will have to pay the VAT + the handling fees of the carrier. Also, if your purchases exceed 150€, you will have to pay customs fees on top of all that.

A case in point: 

  • You buy a pair of shoes for 10€ on Aliexpress. Previously you only paid 10€. From July 1st, you pay 10€ + 20% VAT if the site is registered with the European tax authorities. If the site is not registered, you will have to pay this fee when the package is delivered. In this case, you will pay 10€ + 20% VAT + 2 to 5€ for the carrier's handling fee. 

Our tips for not paying tax

The most obvious: buy in the European Union. 

Many sites offer delivery in France and allow you to access almost all the items you could dream of. 

Moreover, it also works if you live abroad (outside the EU) and you use the Easy Delivery forwarding service. Your items will all be delivered to our warehouse in France and can be shipped back to you anywhere in the world. You will only pay customs duties once, when the package arrives in the destination country. 

The good plan : to be delivered in the United States

The deductible threshold in the United States is much higher than in France. It is currently $800. 

In other words, if your merchandise does not exceed this amount, you will not have to pay customs upon arrival in the United States. When you order in the United States, you can have your purchases delivered to the Easy Delivery US warehouse. We then reship your packages worldwide. Please note that you will still have to pay customs fees upon arrival in your country. 

How to pay taxes when buying outside the European Union?

If you still want to order on foreign sites, here are the steps to follow to pay the fees: 

  • If the seller is registered with the European tax authorities, VAT will automatically be added to the total amount of your purchases. 
  • On the contrary, if the seller is not registered, you will have to pay the fees to the letter carrier or the deliveryman of your package. If you are not at home, you can go to a post office, a branch or pay online. 
  • If you use a forwarding service such as Easy Deliverywe will advance the costs for you. Please note that not all services offer this option! 

From July 1st, 2021, remember to check the status of your purchases abroad to avoid unpleasant surprises!