Customs parcel tax: everything you need to know

When you order goods from a country outside the European Union or French overseas departments and territories, customs duties may be payable when your parcel arrives in France.

Find out everything you need to know about customs duties for a parcel so that you can receive and send your goods without unpleasant surprises.

What are customs duties for a parcel?

All imports and exports of goods from one country to another may be subject to the payment of an additional fee known as customs duty or customs fee.

This is an indirect tax that has been introduced to encourage consumers to buy domestic products rather than products from other countries.

Other customs charges

There are other additional costs to consider when receiving a parcel from outside the EU: VAT and handling fees.


Since 1 July 2021, all goods from outside the European Union (EU) are subject to VAT (Value Added Tax) from the first euro.

In France, the standard VAT rate is 20%.

Application fees

The handling fee is charged directly by the transport company. These are the costs associated with handling the formalities for declaring the goods for customs clearance. Carriers are free to set the amount of these fees. In general, they are between 10 and 25 euros per package.

How do I know if I have to pay customs duties on a parcel?

To find out if you have to pay customs duty on a parcel, you need to ask yourself the right questions and check certain things.

Check the origin of your package

First of all, you need to check where your parcel is coming from. If it is sent from an EU country, you do not have to pay any extra charges for receiving your parcel.

However, if your parcel comes from a country outside the EU or French overseas departments and territories, you may have to pay customs duties depending on the value of the imported goods.

The value of imported goods

Customs duties on a parcel containing goods with an overall value of more than €150 are normally payable. The value is to be calculated excluding transport costs.

Check whether customs duties are included in the selling price

Finally, it is possible that the customs charges for your parcel are included directly in the selling price. Take the trouble to read the terms and conditions of sale carefully to find out whether customs duties are to be paid on receipt of the package or are already included.


How are customs duties calculated for a parcel?

The amount of customs duty for a parcel depends on the origin and nature of the imported goods.

No customs duty is payable for parcels that come from an EU member state. However, there are exceptions for tobacco and alcoholic beverages for which indicative thresholds are set.

On the other hand, customs duties on parcels from the French overseas departments and territories and from countries outside the EU are calculated on the basis of the real value of the goods.

There are two forms of taxation: flat-rate taxation and taxation based on the Common Customs Tariff.

Flat rate taxation

Flat rate taxation of 2.5% ad valorem (on the value of the goods) is only applicable if :

  • The imports are not of a commercial nature,
  • The total value of the goods, excluding tax, does not exceed EUR 700 per package,
  • The value of the goods exceeds the applicable exemption thresholds.

The Common Customs Tariff

The Common Customs Tariff (CCT) is used to calculate the amount of customs duty for a parcel where flat rate taxation is not applicable.

The rate of tax, generally between 0 and 20% of the CIF value, varies according to the nature and country of origin of the goods. The CIF value is the value of the goods including delivery and insurance costs.

To give you a clearer idea, here is a brief overview of the rates applicable to some commonly purchased products online:

Goods Taxe de douane
Smartphone,laptop, tablet 0 %
E-cigarette 3,7 %
Musical instrument Entre 3,2 et 4 %
Jewellery 2,5 %
Clothing 12 %
Perfume 0 %


Our tips before buying online

Here are some tips before you buy online:

  • Check the identity of the seller and make sure that the contact details given are accurate and complete,
  • Choose reputable websites and online shops,
  • Only pay for your order using secure payment methods that you know how to use,
  • Never give out your bank details or any other personal information online,
  • Always read comments and reviews posted by other consumers before confirming your purchase to assess the reliability of the seller and the quality of the product,
  • Check the country of shipment in order to anticipate possible customs taxes on your package.


Happy-Post, the carrier for fast delivery of your parcels at the best price

Happy-Post is a carrier specialising in the collection and delivery of parcels in France and throughout the world. By entrusting your shipments to Happy-Post, you free yourself from all the constraints associated with international parcel shipping.

Here are some of the advantages of using Happy-Post to send your parcels:

  • Several delivery options for a tailor-made offer that fits your budget and your needs (drop-off of the parcel at the relay point of your choice or collection at your home by a Chronopost driver, Premium delivery for a fast service, etc.),
  • Real-time tracking of your delivery,
  • Consolidation of several individual parcels into one container with Happy-Post's exclusive MasterColis solution,
  • Competitive rates among the lowest in the market,
  • A reliable and fast delivery service thanks to a powerful network of international partners,
  • etc.

As a trusted partner for retailers and private individuals, Happy-Post guarantees a smooth parcel delivery to simplify your life and give you peace of mind.