Customs | 2. March 2021

Customs Regulation: New small-value regulation from 1 July 2021

The global mail order business is currently flourishing. For companies that source their goods from non-EU countries or ship them there, it is important to get familiar with the provisions of the new customs regulation and to align their processes accordingly - otherwise they run the risk of losing customers. In particular, the lowering of the threshold value for import duties requires special attention here. by

Thresholds for import duties to be lowered

From 1 July 2021, new customs regulations will apply throughout the EU, which will affect cross-border e-commerce in particular. One of these regulations concerns the so-called import duties – a collective term for all duties that are incurred when goods are imported into the respective customs territory. These include customs duties, agricultural levies, import turnover tax, but also excise duties (including energy, tobacco, alcohol and coffee taxes). These import duties are regulated in the Union Customs Code (UCC).

The previous regulation (Section 23 (1) of the Customs Ordinance) provides for the following value limits for the levying of import duties:

  • No levy on the import of consignments whose value in kind does not exceed 150 euros and the duties amount to less than 1 euro,
  • in the case of travel, less than 3 euros,
  • otherwise less than 5 euros.

Currently, goods are therefore still tax-free when imported into Germany,

  • if they have an actual value of up to 26.30 € (full tax rate 19 %)
  • or up to €71.35 (reduced tax rate 7%).

From 1 July 2021, however, these thresholds will change dramatically. After that, goods imported into Germany will only be tax-free

  • up to an actual value of goods of € 5.25 (full tax rate 19 %)
  • or 14.25 € (reduced tax rate 7 %).

This means that for all goods with a higher value than the threshold values mentioned, either the margins of the sellers will be reduced by the import duties to be paid or the goods will become more expensive for the consumers by the import duties to be paid. Consumers will have to decide whether to accept the higher import duties (e.g. if they buy goods in China) or whether they prefer to buy from intra-European traders. This effect is intended by the legislators, as the new customs regulation is intended to end the preferential treatment of non-European traders and to create fair competition between domestic and foreign mail-order traders.

Sellers must make costs transparent

For sellers, one of the consequences of the new regulations is that they have to calculate and show the total costs for consumers during the purchase process, even if they deliver their goods “delivery duty paid”. However, many are not in a position to do this. They therefore risk annoying and losing customers because of non-transparent costs. eClear offers individual concepts and suitable solutions here, with which all costs incurred by the consumer (customs, import VAT, fees, etc.) are calculated and shown during the purchasing process. The customs declaration for the import also takes place automatically, without effort and risk for the seller or consumer. All this is possible not only when importing goods to Germany or the 27 EU countries, but also when importing goods to CH, UK, NO, IS and TK. If you have any questions about customs clearance and trade compliance, please contact Andreas Weidner, Vice President Customs.


Andreas Weidner
Andreas Weidner
Vice President Customs
Andreas Weidner is Vice President Customs and Product Owner of eClear's customs solutions. He has many years of experience in leading global transport, customs and trade compliance organisations. In his previous position, he was Global Director Customs & Trade Compliance at Marquardt, where he and his global team contributed significantly to worldwide growth and internationalisation by successfully building and managing the import and export compliance process.
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