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Paying tax on eBay purchases

Many countries and jurisdictions around the world apply some type of tax on consumer purchases, including items bought on eBay. Whether the tax is included in the listing price, added at checkout, charged at the border, or paid directly by the buyer depends on the seller's status, the order price, the item's location, and your shipping address.

Items delivered to a Canadian address

Some items are subject to duties and/or GST when imported into Canada from the United States. Whether or not duty and tax is applicable is dependent on a variety of factors, including item type, value, and the country where it was manufactured. Sellers have no control over this, and as the rules are quite complex, will most often not be able to tell you whether or not duty will apply to the item they are selling. It is the buyer's responsibility to ensure the item can be legally imported into Canada, and, unless arrangements have been made to the contrary in advance, to pay any taxes and duties that might be assessed at the border. 

The manner in which duties and taxes are collected varies:

  • If your item is shipped by mail, you'll need to pay your letter carrier or the post office before your item will be released to you.
  • If your item is shipped by courier, you'll need to pay the courier company directly, or you might be invoiced by a customs broker.
  • If your item is shipped by truck, you will be invoiced by a customs broker, or by the trucking company directly.
  • If your item arrives by courier or truck which has a working relationship with a customs broker, you will typically be invoiced after your item arrives. Otherwise, duties and taxes on your item will be treated as COD by the courier or trucking company.
  • Accepted payment methods will vary.
For more information about importing goods into Canada, visit the Canada Border Services Agency Website which has extensive sections on importing and exporting.

Items delivered to a United States address

Tax laws vary between states, and sales tax may be required to be collected by the seller, collected by eBay, or paid directly by the buyer. If your delivery address is in one of the US states where either the seller or eBay is required to charge sales tax, the tax will be included in the order total at checkout.

If the item's being sent from outside the US, the recipient may have to pay duty and customs processing fees. However, items under $100 which are gifts will generally be cleared without any additional charges.

For items shipped to a US address, the tax responsibility falls into the following three categories:

Marketplace responsibility states

In certain US states, eBay is required to collect and remit sales tax on behalf of sellers. If your shipping address is in one of the marketplace responsibility states, applicable sales tax will be collected by eBay and included in the order total at checkout.

Seller responsibility states

If your shipping address isn't in one of the marketplace responsibility states, but the seller has a responsibility to charge sales tax, eBay provides certain tools to sellers where the applicable taxes may be included at checkout. We recommend you consult your tax advisor.

Buyer responsibility states

If neither eBay nor the seller is required to collect sales tax on your purchase, you may be required to pay taxes directly to the provincial and/or your local tax authority. For more information we recommend that you consult with your tax advisor.

Items delivered overseas

If you're having an order shipped to an address outside of the United States, local consumer tax and/or customs duty may apply. Online marketplaces such as eBay may be responsible for collecting the tax, or the parcel's recipient may need to pay these to clear customs.

While we've included basic information for some countries here, it's only intended as a guide and is by no means exhaustive. For more information, please check the local tax and customs regulations.

Items delivered to the UK – Value Added Tax (VAT)

Starting 1 January 2021, eBay is required to collect VAT on certain orders delivered to UK addresses:

  • Orders up to £135 sent from outside the UK
  • Orders where the item is located in the UK, but the seller is not registered for UK VAT

You'll see the VAT included in your order total at checkout, and you can view and download a tax invoice from the Order details page in your Purchase history - opens in new window or tab.

On orders over £135 imported to the UK, the recipient may need to pay VAT as part of clearing the parcel through customs.

 

Items delivered to EU countries – Value Added Tax (VAT)

If the item is being shipped from outside the EU into an EU country, the recipient may need to pay VAT and customs duty. These may not apply if the order is under a certain value, but the threshold varies between countries.

Starting 1 July 2021, eBay will be required to collect VAT on certain orders delivered to EU addresses.

 

Items delivered to Australia or New Zealand – Goods and Services Tax (GST)

eBay is required to collect GST on orders up to AU $1,000 imported into Australia and on orders up to NZ $1,000 imported into New Zealand. You'll see the GST included in your order total at checkout, and you can view and download a tax invoice from the Order details page in your Purchase history - opens in new window or tab.

GST on purchases valued at over AU $1,000 and NZ $1,000 is generally collected at the Australian or NZ border. The recipient may need to pay GST as part of clearing the package through customs.

 

Items delivered to Norway – Value Added Tax on E-commerce (VOEC)

eBay is required to collect Value Added Tax (VAT) on items up to 3000 NOK imported into Norway. If the sale is within this threshold, the VAT is calculated on the order total (including shipping and any additional costs such as insurance). You'll see the VAT included in your order total at checkout. The seller will receive item plus shipping cost and eBay will remit the VAT to the Norwegian Tax Administration.

eBay does not collect VAT on items with a value above 3000 NOK as this is generally collected at the Norwegian border.

 

Refunded purchases

If you paid tax on your purchase through eBay and you get a refund for your order, you'll also get a refund for the proportionate amount of tax. For example, if you receive a full refund, you'll get the entire tax back. If you receive a 50% partial refund, you'll get 50% of the tax back. Any refunds processed outside eBay's systems are not eligible for a tax refund.

If you paid import taxes or duty as part of clearing your parcel through customs but you then returned the item, please contact the customs authority regarding a refund of the charges.

If additional tax is applicable on your eBay purchase, you'll see this indicated on the listing page and the tax amount will be shown on the checkout page, before you pay.

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