ARE YOU RETURNING TO BELGIUM WITH GOODS FROM A EUROPEAN MEMBER STATE?

  • What can I bring into Belgium from a European member state (1)?

    You will not pay any excise duties in Belgium if you, as a private person, purchased the excise goods for your own use in another Member State of the EU, and if you transport them yourself. This applies only to goods for which the excise duties have already been paid in the Member State of purchase.  ‘For your own use’ means that the goods will be used or consumed by you or your household.

    In all other cases the Customs authorities will consider the goods to have been brought in for commercial purposes and excise duties will be due in Belgium.

    In order to decide whether the goods brought into Belgium by a private individual are indeed intended for personal use, the European Union has established a number of criteria available to the administration:

    • the commercial status of the interested party and the reasons for travelling;

    • the place of storage of the products;

    • the mode of transport;

    • any document related to the products;

    • the nature of those products and their quantities according to the following indicative limits ( table (PDF, 519.91 KB)).

    These criteria are only indicative levels that draw the attention of Customs to the fact that excise goods transported by a private person could have a commercial character. In that case, the private person pays the excise duties in Belgium.

    The Customs authorities will decide whether the goods are used for commercial purpose or not, based only on tangible elements (that corroborate their decision).


    (1) The Member States of the EU are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

    During the Brexit transitional period, the rules for European Member States temporarily apply to traffic with the United Kingdom. At the time of publication, this exception will cease to apply on 1 January 2021.

    The territories with special tax status include the Channel Islands (Guernsey, Jersey, etc.), the Canary Islands (Gran Canaria, Tenerife, etc.), the overseas departments (French Guiana, Réunion, Guadeloupe and Martinique), the Aland Islands and Mount Athos... Exemptions for imports from a territory with special tax status of the EU are limited to those granted to travellers coming from non-EU countries.

  • What can I buy in tax-free shops when I travel to or from a European country?
    • When you buy in tax-free shops your purchases always include excise duties and VAT. Therefore, your purchases are not at all tax-free.

    • When you travel to a territory with a special tax status, the same rules apply as for non-EU countries.