5 things you should know when shopping online from abroad

Are you unsure how much your purchase will cost in customs and taxes when you shop online from abroad? From 1 January 2024, the authorities have introduced new customs rules. These are things you should know before shopping online from foreign stores.

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1. What rules apply for duties on imports to Norway?

On 1 January 2024, the authorities abolished the NOK 350 limit. This means that you have to pay import duties from the first kroner on the vast majority of your purchases from abroad.

The new rules largely mean that foreign online shops will collect the value added tax (VAT) immediately when you shop and pay for the goods.

In this way, you don't have to think about import customs clearance, because the online store pays the taxes directly to the Norwegian Tax Agency. This applies to online shops that are registered in VOEC (read more about what it is further down the page).

If you shop from a VOEC-registered online store, you will see the total price when you shop.

At the same time that the Storting is abolishing duty-free trade, Posten has developed new, digital customs clearance services. These are specially adapted to online shopping and the purchase of goods of low value from abroad, and mean that the prices for customs clearance for private customers will be much lower than before. The new prices can be found further down on this page.

2. What do I have to pay in customs and taxes when I shop online from abroad?

What you have to pay depends on several factors, such as the value and type of the item.

It’s important to note that if you purchase food items from abroad, you must pay VAT on food and beverages regardless of value, even under NOK 350. Additionally, some goods may be subject to customs duties and special taxes, such as a sugar tax. Food items include food, sweets, soft drinks, health food or other dietary supplements, protein powder, spices, or tea.

If you’re planning to buy something from abroad and are wondering how much you’ll have to pay, the customs calculator is a useful tool.

Another factor that determines the fees is whether the online shop/marketplace is registered in VOEC.

3. What is VOEC?

VOEC is an acronym for “VAT on E-commerce”.

Is the online store VOEC registered? Search and see the overview at the Tax Agency.

When a foreign online shop is VOEC-registered, it will collect VAT in the same way as a Norwegian online shop, and you will see the total price of the goods you buy. Your parcel also passes the border faster because Posten does not have to charge you with VAT, additional customs duty or customs clearance fees.

For you as a customer, this means that the online store calculates VAT directly when you order the goods, so that you pay this directly to the online store, together with shipping and any other costs. The scheme applies to goods with a value of less than 3,000 kroner per item.

This means that you can buy as many items as you want and have them sent in the same shipment, as long as each item has a value under 3,000 kroner and is for private use.

Read more about: VOEC at Norwegian Customs

4. Can I shop for all types of goods in a store that is VOEC registered?

No, you can not. These goods are not covered by the scheme:

  • foodstuffs (e.g. food, drink, dietary supplements, vitamins)
  • goods with restrictions (e.g. medicines, weapons, alcohol, tobacco)
  • goods with excise duties (e.g. sugar, beverage packaging, lubricating oils, white goods with greenhouse gas)

This type of goods will still be cleared in the usual way, and you will have to pay import duties regardless of the value of the shipment. You will also have to pay a customs clearance fee to the carrier (for example, Posten).

Read more about: Customs rules for private imports

5. Which goods are subject to customs duties, so I have to pay fees?

For shipments where fees have not been claimed in advance by the online store (through VOEC), Posten must handle customs and collect import duties from you.

Read more: Frequently asked questions about customs

Posten is digitizing and streamlining customs processes so that you as a customer can receive your goods as quickly, cheaply and easily as possible in accordance with the authorities’ regulations.

Here’s how the customs process works from January 1, 2024:

  • Goods valued up to 3000 kroner where VAT is paid in a foreign online store (VOEC scheme): No customs.
  • Foodstuffs, special tax goods and restricted goods regardless of value, as well as goods valued over 3000 kroner: Customs fee 270 kroner (effective from 01.12.2023).
  • Other goods valued between 0 and 3000 kroner will be cleared based on the value of the contents of the shipment. Posten is lowering the prices for performing the customs clearance.
    • Value of goods 0–500 kroner: 45 kroner
    • Value of goods 500–3000 kroner: 75 kroner

I have paid double VAT, what do I do?

If you have paid value added tax to the online store, but are still required to pay VAT from Posten, you must contact the online store you shopped from.

The reason for the double taxation lies with the foreign online store. Therefore, it is the person who is responsible for correcting and refunding VAT which you paid in connection with the purchase.

Do you need an English receipt that the fees have been paid? You can find this at www.posten.no/import or see the link further down the page.

Enter the shipment number under "Payment of import duties" and search for the parcel. You can choose a Norwegian or English version of the receipt after the fees have been paid.