VAT rates in the EU

Camilla Jacobsen
by Camilla Jacobsen 02/06/2021

If you sell goods to consumers in other EU countries, it is your responsibility to know which VAT rate applies. here's an overview of VAT rates in the EU here.

VAT rates in the EU

When you sell goods in the EU, VAT must be charged. However, it is up to the individual EU countries to set their VAT rates, so the VAT also differs from country to country.

Gain knowledge and insight about e-commerce in Europe 2020.

VAT rates in EU countries

To give an overview, we have made compiled a table here, so you can see the rates that apply to the individual EU countries:

Country Standard rate Reduced rate Super-reduced rate Parking rate
Austria 20% 10/13% - 13%
Belgium 21% 6/12% - 12%
Bulgaria 20% 9% - -
Cyprus 19% 5/9% - -
Czechia 21% 10/15% - -
Germany 19% 7% - -
Denmark 25% - - -
Estonia 20% 9% - -
Greece 24% 6/13% - -
Spain 21% 10% 4% -
Finland 24% 10/14% - -
France 20% 5,5/10% 2,1% -
Croatia 25% 5/13% - -
Hungary 27% 5/18% - -
Ireland 23% 9/13,5% 4,8% 13,5%
Italy 22% 5/10% 4% -
Lithuania 21% 5/9% - -
Luxembourg 17% 8% 3% 14%
Latvia 21% 12/5% - -
Malta 18% 5/7% - -
Netherlands 21% 9% - -
Poland 23% 5/8% - -
Portugal 23% 6/13% - 13%
Rumania 19% 5/9% - -
Sweden 25% 6/12% - -
Slovenia 22% 9,5% - -
Slovakia 20% 10% - -

Normal rate

All EU member states apply a standard rate for VAT, which is set individually by each state. However, it must not be less than 15%. The standard rate is a fixed rate that applies to most goods and services.

Reduced rate

Each EU country can choose to work with differentiated VAT rates, which means that the countries may apply one or two reduced rates on specific goods and services (however, this does not apply to electronically delivered services). As the table above shows, Denmark is the only EU country that does not apply reduced rates. The reduced rates must be at least 5%.

The goods and services are reduced from country to country. For example, Germany has a general reduced VAT on all food (7%), while Croatia, for example, has a reduced rate only on dairy products (5%).

List of deliveries of goods and services that can be charged at reduced rates:

  • Foodstuffs (including beverages other than alcohol), feed, animals, seeds, plants, ingredients used in the preparation of foodstuffs, and feed or products used in addition to, or in place of food and feed
  • Water supply
  • Pharmaceutical products used in healthcare, disease prevention, and medical and veterinary treatment
  • Medical devices, aids, and other devices used to reduce or treat disabilities, for the personal use of disabled persons - including the repair of such goods, as well as child seats for cars
  • Carriage of persons and their luggage
  • Delivery (including lending to libraries) of books, journals and newspapers, on either physical or electronic media or both. Does not apply to publications that are exclusively, or mainly advertising as well as material that consists exclusively or mainly of video content or audible music
  • Admission to performances, theaters, fairs, circuses, amusement parks, concerts, museums, zoos, cinemas, exhibitions, and similar cultural events
  • Radio and television reception
  • Services provided by, or royalties to, authors, composers, and performers
  • Delivery, construction, renovation, and conversion of housing as part of a social policy
  • Renovation and repair of private homes. Does not apply to materials that make up a significant part of the value of the service provided
  • Window cleaning and cleaning in private households
  • Supplies of goods and services normally intended for use in agricultural production, excluding capital goods such as machinery and buildings
  • Stays in hotels, including holiday stays and rental of pitches on campsites and pitches for caravans
  • Restaurant and catering services
  • Admission to sporting events
  • Access to use of sports facilities
  • Delivery of goods and services from charities
  • Funeral services and cremation, as well as delivery of goods in that connection
  • Medical treatment, dental treatment, and thermotherapy
  • Services related to street cleaning, waste disposal, and treatment
  • Minor repairs of bicycles, shoes and leather goods, clothing and linen
  • Home care: for instance, home help and care for children, the elderly, the sick or the disabled
  • Hairdressing business

Special rates

There are several special rates that some EU countries are allowed to apply to certain deliveries. Countries that were applying special rates on 1 January 1991 are the countries that are allowed to make use of the rates today.

The explanation for this is that the special rates were originally intended as a transitional arrangement to ensure a smooth transition to the EU VAT rules, which entered into force with the internal market on 1 January 1993 - after which the intention was that they should gradually be phased out.

Super-reduced rate

In some EU countries, super-reduced rates of less than 5% are applied to the sale of a limited list of goods and services. You can find more information from the authorities of the individual countries.

Parking rate

Parking rate is used by some EU countries on certain supplies of goods and services that are not mentioned in the list above. Countries using the parking rate may still apply reduced rates in these cases, as long as the rate is not below 12%.

New EU VAT rules for e-commerce

From 1 July 2021, a common EU distance-selling limit of EUR 10,000 will be introduced, covering the distance selling of goods and electronic services to private consumers in the EU. This new distance-selling limit applies to all sales you make in other EU countries. For example, if you sell for EUR 3,000 to Swedish consumers and EUR 5,000 to Finnish consumers, your sales are below the distance limit, so you charge the VAT rate your country has set and report and pay VAT to your local tax authorities. If, on the other hand, you sell for EUR 7,000 to German consumers and EUR 8,000 to Italian consumers, your sales exceed the distance-sales limit - and you must report and pay VAT in Germany and Italy according to the VAT rate that applies in the two countries.

Read more about the new EU VAT rules for e-commerce.

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