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Import sales tax

What is the import sales tax?

The import tax - correctly called import sales tax - is due when goods are imported from third countries. Austrian customs levy import sales tax alongside other taxes.

The import sales tax is comparable to the better known sales tax that is incurred for deliveries and services within the EU. When it comes to the import of goods from other countries, the import sales tax is charged, which is a consumption tax according to the law. It is also known as an import tax and is subject to customs regulations.

The background to this tax is that goods abroad are exempt from sales tax, but should not reach the end consumer without this value added tax. Taxation on import prevents this.

Important: It is irrelevant whether the goods are imported by a private person or a company, the import tax applies equally to all.

If goods are imported into Austria, taxes must of course be paid. This type of sales tax is known in technical jargon as import sales tax. However, this tax is not claimed by a tax office, but by the customs administration. The customs value is used as the basis for assessing the amount of this tax. However, this is made up of various amounts.

Everyone who enters Austria and brings goods with them has to declare them. That means, taxes have to be paid for it. There are limit values ​​for this in the European Union, so if you bring goods worth less than 150 euros, you do not have to pay any import sales tax.

However, if goods are imported from outside the EU with a value of more than 22 euros, these goods are subject to import sales tax. Customs are also due if the value of the goods is over 150 euros. Customs and import sales tax are therefore two different values ​​and terms that should not be mixed up. The customs office publishes a valid overview for exchange rates, which can be used to determine the limit values.

The tax must inevitably be paid on all goods brought from a third country. It can be equated with sales tax and this is of course passed on to the customer by the company. It is also worth mentioning that some products, such as medicines, are generally prohibited from being imported into Austria.

What should the tax do?

In the real sense, the import sales tax is intended to replace the taxes from the country of origin and it is intended to prevent goods from being imported tax-free. The amount corresponds to the value added tax, which in Austria is 20 percent.

For individual product groups, such as groceries and books, the applicable reduced tax rate applies.

If you come from abroad and have to pay import sales tax, you may be able to deduct this on your next income tax return, because it can be declared as input tax. For companies, it is possible to offset the import sales tax directly with the next sales tax return.

Keep your eyes open when shopping on the Internet

Anyone who frequently uses the Internet to order certain items should find out in advance where these products come from. If these are companies from England, France, etc., there are no fears that import sales tax will have to be paid retrospectively.

There are also online shops that, for tax reasons, do not send their goods from England but from non-EU countries, for which the recipient then has to pay import sales tax. For this you have to pay a lot of money at a customs office, namely the import sales tax, or additionally the customs, depending on the value of the goods. In addition, there are additional costs such as shipping costs.

Under certain circumstances, a nice amount can come together, because it has to be added to the actual value of the goods. This is a simple formula that Value of goods + shipping + customs duty + 20 percent import sales tax.

The tax is not only interesting for a company, but also when purchases on the Internet are made by private individuals.

Who has to pay the tax?

It doesn't matter who has to pay the import sales tax, because everyone who receives something from a non-EU country must automatically also pay the import sales tax. There is a simple example of this: if you buy an item and have to pay 100 euros for it, you must also expect an amount of 20 euros in import sales tax. That's 20 percent of one hundred, the normal VAT amount. This is then offset against the input tax already paid by an entrepreneur in the course of the UVA. However, not everyone can count on input tax, because private individuals, federal, state and even municipalities do not have the right to an input tax deduction. The group also includes all companies that make use of the small business regulation.

If you want to order on the Internet, everyone should first find out how much they still have to pay in case of doubt. This can be found out from a list that can be viewed under "Import sales taxes". There you will find a detailed list of the tax and amount for which items.

This is how the EUSt calculated

First of all, customs determine a customs value that is higher than the actual value of the goods because it includes foreign taxes as well as shipping costs. A customs duty is calculated from this. The customs value plus the customs amount, plus the transport costs, form a calculation base amount. The EUSt is then 20 percent of the assessment base or, depending on the product group, a lower percentage.

In some cases, the tax can also be circumvented, which is possible when it comes to a gift item that has also been declared as such and which may only be sent to a private person. Furthermore, it must not be delivered regularly and it must be a personal item. Under no circumstances may the recipient pay anything for the shipment and it may not be an exchange transaction.


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