Customs duties and the VAT in transportation – what do you need to know?

By law, transport services are subject to taxation. Transporting goods, especially internationally, also involves additional costs. We explain how customs duties and VAT on transport are calculated.

Customs duties in the transport of goods

Customs duties or charges are levied by countries on goods when they are taken outside of (export duty), brought into (import duty) or transported across those countries (transit duty). This kind of taxation protects domestic markets from goods brought from abroad and encourages selling such goods in those countries.

Poland belongs to the Customs Union, along with other EU Member States. The agreement specifies that:

  • a common definition of customs value applies,
  • duties at internal borders between the Member States have been abolished,
  • tariffs on goods brought from outside the EU are the same across the European Union,
  • the rules of origin for goods brought from outside the EU are the same across the European Union.

You can use the TARIC database, the integrated Tariff of the European Union to check customs duties on specific goods imported from non-EU countries.

The VAT in the transport of goods

The VAT Act specifies the following types of transport:

  • domestic (within Poland) – VAT 23%;
  • intra-Community (between EU Member States) – VAT 23%;
  • international (originating in an EU country and ending in a third country or vice versa, with the route going through Poland) – VAT 0%;
  • fully outside of Poland – not subject to taxation in Poland.

For the transport of goods, the place of supply is the place where the recipient of the service has its registered office.

However, the laws make two exceptions:

  • if the buyer is a Polish VAT payer, but the service is provided outside the European Union, the venue where services are rendered is the territory outside the EU;
  • if the service of transporting goods is performed for a taxpayer from a non-EU country, but the transport happens fully domestically, the venue where the services are rendered is the domestic territory.