French customs: do I have to pay tax or customs duty when I move goods and materials to France?

PUBLISHED: 14:23 25 February 2021 | UPDATED: 13:04 30 April 2021

There are new rules for moving items to France (c) gunnarAssmy - Getty Images

There are new rules for moving items to France (c) gunnarAssmy - Getty Images

Gunnar Assmy

Want to move furniture, household appliances, DIY materials or tools to France? Here are the new post-Brexit rules on French customs duty and tax

With Covid restrictions still preventing Brits from visiting France, the dust has yet to settle on new post-Brexit rules for moving household goods across the border. However, here are the basics of what you need to know.

Firstly, if you are moving permanently to France, you are exempt from customs duties or taxes on your personal belongings. However, there is paperwork, and there are restrictions. Contact a reputable removals firm for more information.

Owners of second homes in France do not benefit from this exemption. However, if the objects you are moving to France have a total value of €430 or less (if you’re travelling by ferry or air) or €300 or less (if you’re travelling by road or train) there are no taxes or customs duties to pay. This includes new and second-hand furniture, household goods and DIY materials.

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If the items you are moving to France have a total value of between the thresholds of €300/€430 and €700, you must make a declaration at French customs and hand over a detailed inventory of what you are carrying and its value. For recently purchased items, you should provide receipts. For older items, you are asked to estimate their value (using eBay/Gumtree for guidance) and Customs will accept or contest your assessment.

You will then be charged French VAT of 20% on the total value above the threshold, plus customs duties of 0-2%, depending on various factors such as what the item is made of. The same applies if the total value exceeds €700, only the customs duty could be as high as 12%. If you can prove that the goods are entirely of British origin, there will be no duty to pay.

There are no taxes or duties to pay on items that you will bring back at the end of your stay, such as clothes, toiletries and power tools.

For more information including customs duty rates on specific items, contact the French customs helpline on 0033 (0)1 72 40 78 50.

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