Guide to determine Duties and Taxes for shipments imported or exported into France

Published on September 4, 2015 by MariaJoseR

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong / FreeDigitalPhotos

When shipping packages or goods from the United States into France, the biggest unknown is typically the cost associated with the duties and taxes. Every country has different regulations and policies to follow, France is no different. But as a general rule, most goods imported into France are required to pay for:

  • 1) Duties (Ad Valorem Duty)
  • 2) VAT (Value Added Taxes)

  • To determine which one of these two fees is applicable to your shipments, you can follow the following threshold guideline:

  • If a commercial shipment is below €22; no duty and no VAT are collected.
  • If a commercial shipment is between €22 and €150; no duty is collected, but VAT is collected.
  • If a commercial shipment is over €150; both duty and VAT are collected.
  • If you fall in the first bracket, that’s great! You do not have to worry about duties fees. But if you fall under the second bracket it is important to know how these fees are calculated to avoid potential surprises.

    Duties are based on the value of the product plus its freight and insurance (if any). The Duty rates applied to goods imported into France typically range between 0% and 17%. Products, such as: Books, Laptops, Mobile Phones, Digital cameras and Video Game consoles, are Duty free. The table below summarizes the duty rate for the most common commodities:


    Duty Rate

    Laptops 0%
    Mobile  phones 0%
    Digital cameras 0%
    Video Game Consoles 0%
    Shoes 16.8%
    Clothing and Apparel 12%
    Food Products 9%
    Car Parts 0%

    The VAT rate is based on the value of the good, plus the shipping cost, the insurance and the duty amount payable. The French standard rate of VAT is 20%. Although, there are super-reduced rates of 5.5% for agricultural and food products and of 2.1% for medicine.

    1) Product: Shirt, value €25
    –Duties: 0
    –VAT: (25*.20) = €5
    –Total Cost: €30

    2) Product: Mobile Phone, value €300
    –Duties: 0
    –VAT: (300*.20) = €60
    –Total Cost: €360

    3) Product: Shoes, value €180
    –Duties: (180*.168) = €30.24
    –VAT: (180+30.24)*.20 = €42.05
    –Total Cost: €252.29

    Additional Tips:

  • Discounted shipping rates of up to 60% can be obtained via

  • French users can take advantage of services such as to buy or import commodities from the United States

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