All about customs fees

If you regularly shop abroad, you may have already had to pay customs fees. Depending on the value and type of goods, the carrier may ask you to pay a fee upon delivery. But how do you know when you have to pay customs fees? And how to calculate them? We tell you everything just below! 

What is the purpose of customs duties?

Alalala these customs duties... they are annoying! From the consumer's point of view, they are often perceived as an additional sum to pay, without any real explanation. But do you really know what customs duties are for?

Before we get into the explanation, let's go back to two words: customs duties and customs fees. Although we tend not to differentiate between the two, they do not mean the same thing. 

Customs duties : correspond to a tax revenue, collected by the French customs on behalf of the French state. If you live abroad, it is the customs of your country that collects this sum for its state. For example, the Moroccan customs collects the customs duties for the Moroccan state. 

Customs fees (or application fees) Shipping costs: they correspond to the carrier's fees for the clearance of your package. They are not related to the goods or their value and are, most of the time, fixed. 

So, what are customs duties for? It is a tax on imported goods, used to promote the consumption of domestic products. 

À quoi servent les droits de douane ?​

When do I pay customs fees?

For mainland France : Since July 2021 and the new tax on purchases outside the European Union.You pay customs fees on all your purchases abroad. So from the 1st euro spent on a site outside the EU, you are subject to duties and taxes. 

For Overseas Departments and Territories : The customs are a little different. It is not a question of customs duties but of dock dues. Even if the name changes, the concept is the same. It is a question of favoring the production of the islands in front of the importation from the metropolis or the foreigner. 

In addition, the tax on purchases outside the EU also applies to the DOM-TOM.

For foreign countries : If you live abroad, outside the EU and the DOM-TOM, you almost always pay customs duties when you receive your package. Nevertheless, it is possible that the threshold of exemption of your country is higher than that of France. Thus, in some countries, you only pay customs duties if your goods exceed 800€. 

To know the threshold of exemption, you can get information on the website of your local customs.

How to calculate customs duties? 

The duties and taxes to be paid upon arrival of a package are composed of several elements: 


  • the customs fees (or handling fees) of the carrier. For Colissimo, they are 15€, for Chronopost 21€, for UPS 18€ and for DHL 17,5€.
  • the 20% VAT rate for France. If you live abroad, check the local VAT rate on your government's website. 


Customs duties, the rate of which varies according to the type of merchandise. The average rate is 4 to 15% depending on the nature of your items. In addition, many items are not subject to customs duties upon arrival in France. This is the case for tablets and laptops for example. A television will be taxed at 14%. You will find the most common rates here. 


  • Depending on the country, you may have other applicable taxes. Remember to check with your local customs office. 

Now that you have all the details of the duties and taxes to be paid, all you have to do is make the calculation. Problem: you don't know the customs nomenclature of your item and therefore the applicable duties. 

Also, to avoid having to search everywhere on the internet, here is a tool that will save your life! Go to pour faire toutes vos simulations douanières. 

How to contact customs?

By the way, while we're on the subject, how do we contact customs?

If you have a question about a future purchase or need information, customs can be contacted by phone. A simple internet search will find the phone number of your local customs office. 

If you need to pay customs fees for a delivery, ask the carrier. This will allow you to have direct phone or email contact and settle your charges quickly. 

You are now a customs specialist (or almost!). Nevertheless, if you have any questions about your next purchase, contact Easy Delivery customer service Delivery who will know how to advise you!