Questions about customs formalities

One of the most frequent questions that our customers send to us when they are interested in shipping products abroad or receiving goods in Barcelona is related to customs. Since there are more and more people that want to create an on-line shop, we want to explain some of the most important points about customs.

When you are eager to ship overseas, it is capital to know customs formalities and fulfil required documents correctly.

What are customs?

Customs are the control points that governments create at the borders in order to ensure security at the time to import or export goods. Because of this, customs are placed at the entry of international goods like airports, train stations, borders and airports.

Maritime shipping meant in 2015 more than a half of the total goods traffic towards the European Union (imports), followed by air transport (almost the 25%) and land transportation (15%). Similar figures correspond to exports.

trámites aduana - documentos aduana

Taxes and customs formalities

At the customs, customs taxes and indirect taxes on imported goods are collected. Customs taxes levy goods imports and exports. In Spain, these taxes range from 0 to 49%.

Generally speaking, indirect taxes do not depend on each taxpayer, but on the goods themselves. In Spain, this tax is called IVA (VAT), slightly different in Canary Islands (IGIC and IPSI in Ceuta and Melilla). There are special taxes on some goods as tobacco, alcohol and fuel, as well as the Community tariff for all the countries that belong to the European Union.

At the borders controls people, goods and animals traffic are controlled. During these controls, special taxes are collected.

Each country sets a different charge depending on the goods.

First of all, we have to identify the origin of the goods and sort them according to TARIC system, an international trading code.

Shipping between private individuals

There are shipments that are levied even when they have no commercial purpose. These goods must pay taxes when its value is more than €45.

Personal belongings are not subjetc to taxes, but the single administrative document (SAD) must be shown. This form is used for customs declarations in most European countries and it is required by customs’ authorities in order to approve the imports, exports and goods collection.

On-line purchases

Each day there are more people keen on developing their own online business, so it is one of the most common topics. On the other hand, when purchasing overseas, online shops are usually located in USA or Asia.

If the shipment’s value is less than or equal to €22, there is no charge. If the purchase is greater than €22 or less than or equal to €150, the VAT (IVA) must be paid and it will be 21% of the total value. Finally, if the purchase is greater than €150 must be paid a 2.5% for the tariff plus the 21% VAT.

In Mail Boxes Etc. we have a private mailboxes service in Barcelona, where you can collect your goods with the best availability.

European Union

documentos para importar - documentos para exportar

In the UE there is a customs union since 1968. That includes Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Turkey. Customs union is not exactly a free commerce union, since the tariff that levies foreign goods are subject to a common tariff. Products that are already inside the UE can move freely. That means that customs rights inside UE members are completely forbidden among themselves.

Foreign imports are levied by a Common Customs Tariff (CCT) and the Integrated Tariff of the European Union (TARIC). CCT was recently reduced.

Sensitive products

There are some goods that require special attention. With these products, we have to be very careful regarding legislation at the destination countries.

These sensitive goods are usually food, dangerous items, weapons, technology to manufacture weapons, fake products, money, animals, plants and cultural heritage.

Biosecurity requirements must be known in order to avoid shipment detentions. Thus, in the European Union, more than 400 tons of drugs were requisitioned during 2015, as well as 40 million fakes, almost a million legal drugs, 4 million toys and 7300 weapons.

MBE Gotic support for customs formalities

Knowing customs formalities and documents required to export is capital for every company that has to sell or purchase foreign goods. This means a hard job for those who are not experts. As a Mail Boxes Etc.’s franchise in Barcelona, we have broad experience helping business and private individuals whit their shipments. At MBE Gotic we can help you fulfil customs requirements so you can ship from Barcelona or collect your goods easily.