Why do I have to pay Duty and Tax?
You may not have been expecting to receive a Duty and Tax Invoice so we’ve put together some Frequently Asked Questions to help you understand what these charges include. If you have any further questions, please contact Customer Service on 0820 123 800 (Service 0,12 €/min. + call cost).
What is Duty and Tax?
Customs duties and VAT (and any other type of tax) are known as duty and tax, which is collected by customs when importing goods into the European Union.
Duties and Taxes are outlined in the customs declaration, which is completed by FedEx on behalf of the importer in accordance with customs regulations.
Duties and taxes are the same regardless of the country/territory of entry in the European Union. They are partly repaid to the overall budget of the European Union, which sets rates according to World Trade Organization (WTO) directives.
Value-Added Tax (VAT) is a consumption tax that also applies to imported products. VAT rates in the European Union are determined by each country/territory and set according to EU directives.
The amount of duties and taxes on a shipment is calculated based on the following factors: Product value/Transportation costs/Trade agreements/Country/Territory of manufacture/Product use/Harmonized System (HS) code.
What is a Duty and Tax invoice?
Duties and taxes that have been declared to customs are paid by FedEx on behalf of the importer. They are then rebilled straight away according to the terms of the transportation agreement.
What is the clearance administration charge?
FedEx pays the Duty and Tax charges on your behalf to ensure we can deliver your shipment as quickly as possible. This incurs an administration fee of 2.5% of the combined Duties and Taxes or 12.50 € (whichever is greater, VAT on administration fees excluded).
Is there an alternative to being billed by FedEx for duty and tax?
There is an alternative that allows you to avoid paying VAT on import: VAT deferment.
If European businesses that are VAT registered in France import goods that are intended for the European market and cleared through French customs, the VAT deferment can be applied on import.
This mechanism allows businesses to declare and deduct VAT on their turnover declaration (CA3 monthly or quarterly VAT return) and therefore avoid paying VAT when goods are imported and then apply for a refund.
When your VAT deferment request has been approved by Customs (the territorially competent Economic Action Center), please inform FedEx so we can make a note of your new situation.
You will be notified of the amount of VAT on your customs declaration but only customs duties will be paid in advance by FedEx and appear on a Duty and Tax invoice.
Why didn’t you tell me I was going to be charged?
Why didn’t FedEx Express advise me of this at the time of delivery?
Where possible, we will contact you in advance with an estimated cost of Duties and Taxes prior to your shipment being assessed by French Customs. However, this is not always possible and we are often not aware of the charges levied until after we have delivered your package.
What if I have already paid Duty and Tax?
I paid Tax when I purchased this item
Goods purchased from outside of France may be subject to tax charges from the originating country/territory and the shipper may charge you for this. If this is the case, French Customs import charges will still be levied when the goods enter France, as this is a separate charge.
I pre-paid Duty and Tax charges before delivery
At the time of import, you may be charged an estimated figure. This is calculated prior to an assessment of your shipment by French Customs. If the estimate is lower than the final charge you will be required to pay the difference, and if it is higher we will refund the difference.
If the amount of your invoice is different to the amount you pre-paid, please call Customer Service on 0820 123 800 (Service 0,12 €/min. + call cost).
I believe the shipper paid for all charges relating to this shipment
Duty and Tax charges are not assessed until the shipment enters the France. If your shipper has advised they have paid FedEx for these charges, this usually relates to the payment they have made for transportation charges and not Duty or Tax.
I don’t think this shipment should incur Duties and Taxes
I am a temporary visitor to France
You will need to pay the import charges but may be entitled to claim the charges back when you leave France. This depends on the individual circumstances of your package. Please contact Customer Service on 0820 123 800 (Service 0,12 €/min. + call cost) for further information.
I purchased my goods online
The prices advertised on websites outside of the EU often do not include French Duty. This can make products appear cheaper when compared to French prices. For more information and advice visit the French Customs dedicated website.
The shipment is a gift
Items up to 45.00 € in value that meet the following French Customs criteria are not liable for import charges: The shipment must be sent directly from person to person.
- The sender must be a private individual and the consignee must take delivery at a private address.
- The gift must be sent free of charge and be of an ‘occasional nature’.
- The word “gift” must be marked on the Air Waybill and commercial invoice.
- All items must be itemised with their own full description and value.
Please note that items containing alcohol and tobacco will incur Excise Duty. Items containing food may need to have additional documentation and be subject to further checks which could result with additional charges.
The shipment contains samples
Samples can be imported to France without Duty or Tax charges as long as they meet the following French Customs conditions:
- Can only be used as samples.
- Are of a negligible value.
- Intended to obtain orders for the type of goods represented.
The commercial invoice and any other paperwork provided with the shipment must declare this information. This will enable French Customs to make the appropriate entry.
My goods are second hand
French Customs assess Duty and Tax liability regardless of age or previous ownership. If you purchase antiques or original artwork there is a reduced rate of VAT where goods meet the correct criteria.
What if I no longer want the shipment?
How do I reject the shipment?
To be classed as a rejected import, your shipment must comply with the following French Customs criteria: the goods are defective, were damaged before clearing French Customs or do not comply with the suppliers terms and conditions of contract.
- All claims must be made before the goods are returned or destroyed.
- All claims must be made within 12 months of the original entry to French Customs.
You will need to pay any Duties and Taxes to FedEx, and process a claim directly with French Customs to reject your shipment.
Where can I find more information?
More information about Duties and Taxes
Contact French Customs National Advice Service on 0811 20 44 44 or visit the French Customs website.
More information about Internet orders and remote purchases
Visit the French Customs dedicated website.
I have a general invoice or account enquiry
Click here to submit your details online or contact Customer Service on 0820 123 800 (Service 0,12 €/min. + call cost).
How to Pay
Please email a remittance advice to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 01 49 39 61 77.
Bank: BNP Paribas
IBAN: FR76 3000 4024 1400 0102 9666 568
Account number: 30004 02414 00010296665 68
IMPORTANT! Please include your invoice number when making the payment.
Call Customer Service on 0820 123 800 (Service 0,12 €/min. + call cost) with your invoice number available.
Make your cheque payable to:
and send to:
91764 Palaiseau Cedex
Please include a completed payment slip or remittance form.
All information is correct at time publication and FedEx accept no responsibility for information relating to third party contact details changing without prior notice. French Customs make the final decision on all imports. Terms and conditions regarding your FedEx invoice are available by clicking here.