Online purchases

If you order goods from a foreign online store, your parcel may be subject to declaration and taxation in case the country of departure of the goods is outside the European Union.
  • If you order goods from an online store of a country outside the European Union, i.e. third country, you will have to complete a customs declaration and pay value added tax. If the value of the goods exceeds 150 euros, you will have to pay customs duty, and if the consignment contains excise goods (alcohol or tobacco products), you will also have to pay excise duty.
  • Consignments ordered from online stores of other European Union countries are in general not subject to taxation (with the exemption of excise goods), but it must be remembered that sending certain type of goods in parcels is prohibited.

When ordering goods from the internet, please read the terms of sale and delivery of the online store. Find out the country from which the goods will be delivered. Some online stores may be located in Europe, but the goods are actually delivered from outside the European Union.

If the country of departure is outside the European Union, the consignment must be declared at customs, regardless of the location of the online store. The country of departure of the consignment is important in terms of the need for customs clearance.

The process does not end with placing an order, therefore, we recommend to keep the ordering documents until receiving the parcel.

What to consider when ordering goods online

Prohibited goods and goods requiring a special permit

Ordering medicinal products, tobacco products, meat and dairy products, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, weapons and weapon parts is prohibited.

More about prohibited goods and goods requiring a special permit (in Estonian)

When ordering goods through an online store, there is always a certain risk, since the goods must meet the product safety requirements of the European Union and may turn out to be counterfeit or of poor quality. Electronic products intended for Asian market often do not comply with the requirements set by the European Union.

Important to know

  • Delivery of tobacco products or related products to Estonia by cross-border distance selling is prohibited (§ 31² of the Tobacco Act) and if the prohibition is violated, the Tax and Customs Board may initiate misdemeanour proceedings.
  • Cross-border distance selling is trading tobacco products in case the consumer is located in Estonia at the time of ordering the product from the retailer and the retailer is located in another Member State or in a third country.
  • Consignments containing tobacco products arriving to Estonia through distance selling are not delivered to the customer and the goods are confiscated and destroyed.

Benefits from online stores

Several online stores grant various benefits when purchasing goods, these are named differently, for example:

  • trial price – if the goods item is purchased for the first time;

  • loyalty credit– in general, a certain percentage of the goods price ordered, and usually it may be found also in the list of use conditions of the online store;

  • rewards – bonus points created by sales volume/ advertising work of the buyer (the buyer shares the information with his/her friends on the Internet, the friends purchase the same items from the same online store).

On importation of goods and paying import duties, it is important to make a distinction which benefits may be deducted from the customs value of the goods (taxable goods value) and which not.

The customs value of goods may not be confused with the price of goods!

As concerns the customs value, it is important that the discount is related to the goods to be imported. Besides this, discounts can be considered only when the application and amounts thereof are prescribed by the sales contract.

If a loyalty credit or a trial price may be considered in some respects to be related to a particular item imported, then the so-called "reward" or a compensation/premium is not.

To sum up, if an online store provides benefits to you, then you may deduct such amounts from the customs value of goods only when you can produce evidence that a beneficial price applied to the particular goods to be imported (a discount) is in question. As evidence the customs authorities accept a service contract wherewith you complied on entering the customer programme of the online store and where there is definitely provided the amount of discount distributed to you. Besides this, the amount of discount must be fixed on the invoice. The points received from distributing the information are not considered as a discount related to the goods imported.

Declaring consignments

More information about declaring consignments and paying taxes can be found at the page “Declaration of postal parcels”.

What to consider when ordering goods online

Goods from another Member State of the European Union can generally be sent to Estonia via a postal and courier service provider without restrictions. With the exemption of alcohol, which is subject to quantitative restrictions.

Prohibited goods and goods requiring a special permit

Special requirements have been established for sending certain goods (e.g. medicinal products etc.) to Estonia or from Estonia to another Member State. Sending certain goods is prohibited.

More about prohibited goods and goods requiring a special permit (in Estonian).

Important to know

  • Delivery of tobacco products or related products to Estonia by cross-border distance selling is prohibited (§ 31² of the Tobacco Act) and if the prohibition is violated, the Tax and Customs Board may initiate misdemeanour proceedings.
  • Cross-border distance selling is trading tobacco products in case the consumer is located in Estonia at the time of ordering the product from the retailer and the retailer is located in another Member State or in a third country.
  • Consignments containing tobacco products arriving to Estonia through distance selling are not delivered to the customer and the goods are confiscated and destroyed.

Buying alcohol from an online store (e-shop)

Excise duty is paid on alcohol received in Estonia through distance sale (e.g. purchase from an e-shop) either by

  • the recipient of the alcohol (natural person), or
  • the tax representative, if the consignor (distance seller) has appointed one in Estonia.

Before the distance seller dispatches the excise goods to Estonia, the recipient (natural person) responsible for payment of excise duty has to submit a security to guarantee the payment of excise duty (pay the excise duty in advance).

To do this, the person has to submit the excise duty return of distance sale and pay the calculated excise duty amount to the prepayment account in the e-MTA. In case the distance seller has appointed a tax representative, the tax representative has the obligation to pay excise duty.

You can find the data of tax representatives on the page Tax representatives of non-residents.


Submitting the return for declaring distance sale

The return can be submitted in the e-MTA.
Please find more information in the guide for filling in the return of distance sale:

In case of questions, do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail aktsiisid@emta.ee or phone +372 676 1477.

Additional information

You can find the details for paying the excise duty calculated with the return and the reference number of your prepayment account on the page Payment of taxes

Example
Paul orders electronic equipment from the USA for a total value of 300 euros (incl. shipping) for resale. As the value of ordered electronic equipment exceeds 150 euros, the goods must be declared and customs duty and value added tax have to be paid. Paul declares the ordered goods in the e-MTA and pays the customs duty of 5.10 euros (customs duty rate for electronic equipment was 1.7% according to the Estonian Master Tariff System) and the value added tax of 61.02 euros (305.1 x 0.2).

Paul manages to sell the equipment in Estonia for a total price of 420 euros. As buyers had little interest in these devices, he does not wish to engage in further sales of electronic equipment. Paul received a total income of 53.88 euros (420–300–5.10–61.02), which he declares on the natural person’s income tax return line 6.3.

Last updated: 06.12.2021

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