How to determine Duties and Taxes for shipments imported / exported into GERMANY

Published on September 4, 2015 by MariaJoseR
Germany duties and taxes

Image courtesy of Noppasinw / FreeDigitalPhotos

When shipping packages or goods from the United States into Germany, the biggest unknown is typically the cost associated with the duties and taxes. Every country has different regulations and policies to follow, Germany is no different. But as a general rule, most goods imported into Germany 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 Euros; no duty and no VAT are collected.
  • If a commercial shipment is between 22 Euros and 150 Euros; no duty is collected, but VAT is collected.
  • If a commercial shipment is over 150 Euros; both duty and VAT are collected.

  • If you fall in the first bracket, that’s great! You do not have to worry about Duties or VAT fees. But if you fall under the second or third bracket it is important to know how these fees are calculated to avoid potential surprises.

    Duties are based on the value of the shipment plus the cost of the insurance (if any). The Duty rates applied to goods imported into Germany typically range between 0% and 17%. Products, such as: Laptops, Mobile Phones, Digital cameras and Video Game consoles, are Duty free. Other products such as: Clothing and apparels, shoes have a Duty rate of 8%. 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 8%
    Clothing and Apparel 8%
    Toys 0%

    The VAT rate is based on the value of the shipment, the insurance cost plus the duty amount payable. The German standard rate of VAT is 19%. Although, there is a reduced rate of 7% for certain goods such as food products and books. Goods exempt from the VAT include health-care, education, insurance, newspaper or periodical subscriptions.

    Other taxes and customs fees
    Excise duty is payable on tobacco and alcohol products, coffee, and hydrocarbon oils.


    1) Product: book, value 20 Euros:
    –Duties: 0
    –VAT: 0

    2) Product: Computer, value 75 Euros:
    –Duties: 0
    –VAT: (75*.19) = 14.25 Euros

    3) Product: Shoes, value 160 Euros:
    –Duties: (160 *.08)=12.8 Euros
    –VAT: (160 + 12.8)*.19 = 32.83 Euros

    Additional Tips:

  • Discounted shipping rates of up to 60% can be obtained via
  • German users can take advantage of services such as to buy or import commodities from the United States
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *