Online shopping has become such an integral part of our shopping routines that we can no longer live without it! Navigating the world of online shopping and importing internationally to Portugal can definitely be a challenging task, especially if you’re buying from outside of Europe.
On this blog post, we aim to provide you with a comprehensive guide that may help you understand importation procedures and grasping the nuances of online shopping in Portugal.
Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, Savvy Cat Realty aims to equip you with all the knowledge you need to make informed decisions when buying goods from abroad and exploring the vast realm of online shopping.
So, let's dive right in and discover the ins and outs of importing and online buying in Portugal!
Portugal's Import Rules
Portugal, being a member of the European Union, doesn't impose import taxes on items shipped within the EU. However, ordering goods from countries outside the European Union, you may be subjected to custom taxes.
When it comes to personal packages shipped from outside of the Europe Union, those with a total value (including both content and shipping costs) of less than 45 Euros are exempt from taxes. However, if the total value exceeds 45 Euros, customs taxes will apply, irrespective of whether the package is a gift or not.
For commercial-to-personal packages, they are exempted from taxes up to a value of 150 Euros. Beyond this threshold, import taxes become applicable.
It's important to keep in mind that the process of a package getting stuck in customs can be uncertain. Nowadays, with stricter control measures in place, there is a higher likelihood of larger and heavier packages being detained for inspection. Therefore, it's essential to be aware of the potential risks and factors that might affect the smooth delivery of your package.
How Import Taxes Work
In Portugal, import taxes comprise various types, and it's important to be aware of them.
The Value-Added Tax (VAT) is a constant factor, set at 23%, which is applied to most imports.
Additionally, when importing goods, you will be required to pay an administrative fee known as "despacho aduaneiro," which covers the processing of your package by the customs department. In the unfortunate event that your package gets detained in customs for an extended period, there might also be a storage fee imposed.
Different types of products are subject to various rates of import taxes.
For example, certain items like books and mobile phones are exempt from import duties. However, most apparel items are subject to an import tax ranging from 12 to 16 percent, in addition to the Value-Added Tax (VAT).
Furthermore, when receiving your packages through the Portuguese National Post Office (CTT), you will need to pay administrative fees based on the package's value. For packages valued up to 25 Euros, the administrative fee is set at 5 euros, while for those valued above 25 Euros, the fee increases to 12 euros.
It's important to note that other courier services such as DHL and FedEx might have substantially higher administrative fees. Therefore, exercising caution in choosing your preferred delivery service is advised.
Is there Amazon in Portugal?
Many of our clients frequently ask about shopping on Amazon while residing in Portugal, and it's definitely an important one to address for those who rely on it for their shopping needs.
Even though Amazon doesn't have a dedicated platform in Portugal, Portuguese residents can easily use Amazon Spain, which proves to be a viable alternative. Amazon Spain supports multiple languages, including English, and provides efficient delivery services.
While not all sellers ship directly to Portugal, most do. So, customers can access a wide range of products from different sellers. Moreover, users have the option to subscribe to Amazon Prime, which offers good benefits like free shipping and access to streaming services.
Ordering from countries outside the European Union can be challenging due to the potential import taxes. However, within the European Union, Amazon has platforms in Germany, France, and Italy. When ordering from within the EU, you can avoid import taxes on items purchased from another EU country.
Furthermore, it's crucial to exercise caution when ordering from Amazon UK due to Brexit-related implications, as this may lead to potential import taxes.
Triangular Operations: A Way Around
Many companies have found workarounds to save their clients money on online shopping. One popular method is called "triangular operations".
Here's how it works: Instead of directly shipping products from a non-European Union country (like China) to Portugal, the item is first sent to a country within the EU that offers more favorable import fees. From there, it is subsequently forwarded to Portugal, benefiting from the lower tax rates of the initial EU country. By going through this process, additional taxes are avoided, as the product is already considered part of the European Union.
While smaller businesses might not be familiar with this approach, it is widely utilized by business-oriented sellers, large stores, and companies. It serves as an excellent means to reduce import taxes when ordering items from abroad, especially from a business standpoint. This tactic allows businesses to optimize cost efficiency and enhance their competitiveness in the market, providing significant savings for clients and customers alike.
Customs procedures in Portugal have significantly improved over time, yet ordering items from non-European Union countries continues to pose certain risks. To minimize complications, it is generally recommended to choose express shipping options with customs clearance or explore triangular operations, which can lead to cost savings and smoother processing.
For those traveling back to Portugal from their home country, an alternative option is to carry the items in their luggage. This approach is often simpler and more straightforward, as customs clearance at the airport is generally more streamlined compared to shipping processes.
Navigating the process of importing goods to Portugal can indeed feel like a complex maze. However, with careful consideration and a solid understanding of the available options, it can be managed effectively. Staying informed about the latest customs regulations and seeking reliable shipping methods will ensure a more hassle-free experience and help you make the most of your international purchases.
We also have a Youtube video about this subject, you can check it out below! Subscribe to our channel for more informative videos about living in Portugal.