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Why you should not pay more for goods in other EU countries

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Why you should not pay more for goods in other EU countries


Alex from Liège in Belgium asks: “I live in Belgium and want to go to Germany to buy household appliances and a new car. As a Belgian resident, are they allowed to charge me more? What about the VAT?

The answer is from Sarah Pfleger, Europe Direct communication officer: “As an EU national, you cannot be charged a higher price than local residents when buying products or services anywhere in the EU. For example, tourist attractions often charge visitors a higher price than local residents. This is unlawful discrimination and you should not accept it.

However, some price differences are justified, such as higher shipping costs for delivering items to foreign countries.

As a private individual shopping in the EU, you should only pay VAT once, in the country where you make your purchase.

You can bring home anything you buy in another EU country, without stopping at the border or making a customs declaration. The only condition is that your purchases must be for your own or for your family’s personal use, and not intended for resale.

Since January 1, 2015, VAT on telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services is charged in the country where you live (the country where you are established , have your permanent address or usually live), and not in the country from where you purchase the service. These rules apply to services supplied both within and from outside the EU.

For new cars bought in another EU country, VAT is paid in the country where you register your car, that is, in your country of residence”.

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