Customs Duties and Taxes in Germany:

Essential Information for Businesses and Individuals Involved in Import and Export

Understanding customs duties and taxes in Germany is crucial for any business and individuals involved in international trade. This article provides a detailed insight into the customs and tax systems in Germany, their key components, and their impact on trade.

What are Customs Duties and Taxes?

Customs duties are charges levied on goods transported across international borders. Taxes, on the other hand, are levies imposed by a government on income, consumption, or property. In Germany, both are used to regulate trade and generate revenue for the state.

The Customs System in Germany

Import Duties: When importing goods into Germany, various customs duties are levied depending on the type of goods and their country of origin.


Export Duties: Generally, no customs duties are charged for exporting goods from Germany, but exceptions may apply.


Customs Tariffs: The amount of duties depends on the customs tariff, which is based on the type of goods and their value.

Value Added Tax (VAT) in Germany

General VAT: In Germany, the regular VAT rate is 19%. A reduced rate of 7% applies to certain goods and services.


VAT on Imports: When importing goods into the EU, VAT must be paid in the country of import.

Special Levies and Taxes

Excise Taxes: In Germany, excise taxes are imposed on specific goods like alcohol, tobacco, or energy products.


Eco Tax: A tax on energy products intended to contribute to environmental protection.

Customs and Tax Exemptions

Allowances: For certain goods, there are allowances up to which no customs duties or taxes are applicable.


Customs Exemptions: Certain goods may be exempt from customs duties under specific conditions.

Customs Duties and Taxes
Customs Duties and Taxes




















The customs duties can be seen in the customs tariff via the HS code. The HS code is used by the customs authorities to quickly classify the goods. The customs duties depend on the type of goods, the place of departure and the time provisions.  Certain quotas are also possible. As far as taxes are concerned, the import turnover tax is the most important. 


The main difference between customs duties and taxes is that customs duties are only levied on certain goods in a certain quantity at different rates of duty. Taxes, on the other hand, are levied on almost all goods and must be paid by the importer before the Shipment leaves customs. It is also worth mentioning the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which can have different rates of duty. 


The Incoterms on the commercial invoice provide information on who has to pay the duties and taxes in addition to the freight costs.


To avoid miscalculations by the customs office, it is advisable to indicate the exact and detailed value of the goods on the commercial invoice with a description of the goods including insurance costs as well as the HS code.


Should you decide to import freight shipments through us, we will determine the exact duties with the customs office and invoice you according to the time and effort involved. You will receive a detailed receipt from the customs office.


If you frequently import goods with a higher value, it is possible to have a so-called deferral approved by the customs office. In this way, you avoid having to pay the import duties immediately.


Any additional costs such as warehousing etc. will only be charged to you if incurred and at cost. 


All duties/taxes depend on the HS code and are charged per effort (based on the final customs decision/receipt).


For further information see link (enter customs tariff code and country of departure):


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