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New CTT Rules for Online Shopping

These are the new CTT rules for online shopping outside the EU.

The new community legislation, regarding the application of VAT in e-commerce, will eliminate the exemption of VAT and Customs Franchise on extra-community purchases up to 22 Euros.

We are making these new rules known to all CTT customers registered on our Customs Clearance Portal, or who have recently imported a product by post. The legislation comes into force on July 1, 2021 and, from that day on, all purchases that enter Portugal, regardless of the value of the object and the date it was purchased, will be subject to the payment of VAT and respective customs clearance.

Not everything has changed. Customers will continue to have access to the simplified customs process for extra-community purchases up to 150 Euros. For this, you should opt for online stores that automatically charge the missing VAT, ensuring the respective settlement themselves.

We want to streamline the new process:

We’ve optimized the Customs Clearance Portal. Imports of extra-community online purchases made through CTT, which include the payment of VAT and customs duties (when applicable), will be simpler and more automated. And we will reduce the price of the customs clearance service (from €2 for payment by electronic means). See more information about the new tariff effective from July 1st here.

New rules for importing online purchases made outside the EU

Find out all about the new EU directive and how you can proceed with your extra-community purchases.

As of July 1, 2021, all extra-community electronic purchases will be subject to Value Added Tax (VAT), regardless of the value of the object and the date it was purchased, thus ending the current VAT exemption on extra-community purchases up to 22 euros. 

The customs clearance process will be simpler, involving greater automation, and the price of CTT customs clearance services will be lower.

All these changes are the result of a Community directive, which amended the VAT regime on Intra-Community Transactions and the complementary legislation on the application of VAT tax in e-commerce and come into force simultaneously in all EU countries on 1 July 2021.

New VAT rules on electronic purchases have an impact on the consumer

  • Postal packages/parcels of extra-Community origin containing goods that enter the European Union from 1 July 2021, regardless of the date they were purchased and the value of the goods, will be subject to payment of VAT and/or duties customs
  • On some online sales sites consumers may have the option to pay VAT at the time of purchase
  • VAT and/or customs duties may continue to be paid upon entry into Portugal, and consumers must follow the customs clearance process on the  Customs Clearance Portal .
Main changes to the customs clearance process
  • If you have entered your mobile phone number when purchasing, the purchaser/recipient of the order will be notified by SMS as soon as it leaves the country of origin, so that you can prepare in advance the customs clearance of your object on the Customs Clearance Portal . If you have not provided your contact details at the time of purchase, you will be notified by letter as soon as the order arrives in Portugal to proceed with customs clearance.
  • At the  Customs Clearance Portal, you  must validate existing information and, if necessary, complete missing information or pay any outstanding amounts – all immediately, directly on the portal.
  • After being received in Portugal, and with all import values ​​paid, your order will be presented by CTT to the customs authority. As soon as you obtain an exit permit, it will be placed in distribution and delivered to the destination address.

What are the payment options for VAT and CTT Customs Clearance Service?

As of July 1st, the customs clearance process can start right at the time of purchase. Depending on the online seller, the customer can ensure payment of VAT and the CTT Service right at the time of purchase, facilitating the process of entering Portugal and receiving the order. The customs clearance process and the arrival of the order to the customer depends on what you are asked to pay at the time of online purchase.

  • Purchases on sites that charge, in addition to the value of the good, all import charges (VAT and CTT Service)

    Upon arrival in Portugal, the order is cleared through customs without requiring the intervention of the customer or paying any additional amount.

  • Purchases on sites that only charge the value of the item

    The customer is notified, as soon as the order is shipped from the country of origin, to start the customs clearance process on the Customs Clearance Portal , having to pay the VAT and CTT Service amounts (as well as  any customs duties for orders with a higher value at €150)  directly on the portal. 

  • Purchases on sites that charge the value of the goods and VAT, but do not charge the CTT Service

    Until 12/31/2021, in these situations, there will be no payment for the CTT customs clearance service. Thus, upon arrival in Portugal, the order is cleared through customs without any payment or intervention by the customer/recipient being required.

Be careful, as I was charged an extra €65 when my aunt sent me a second hand horse rug, two magazines and three packets of sweets.

Samantha Gannon

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