Import duties, VAT and any other taxes for customers in EU and US

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I recently created an online store operating in Botswana (in Africa) and targeting to sell products to customers in the US and EU. Something which I hadnt really given good thought just came to mind, are there taxes to be paid by customers in these regions when they receive goods? If so what options do I have on the issue of those taxes, how do I prepay? what is the best way of handling the different rates (automation maybe)?

I am not getting sales, could this be a concern that is turning away online shoppers? Should I be thinking drop shipping (the plan was to consider drop shipping afters establishing good sales)? If drop-shipping, the question on taxes is still there, what are the tax implications?

Thanks for your response


Shopify Staff
Shopify Staff
498 1 59

Hi Gaolathhe,

If you are selling online to other countries, generally the customers will receive a notification for duty to be paid to their Government, and this usually depends on the order size/ price.. for example in Ireland where I am based I pay duty depending on the country of origin/ the delivery service/ order total. This tax is not paid to the store and they do not assess it in any way.

With drop-shipping, the taxes paid would again depend on the location of the warehouse and the location of the customer.

I would recommend reaching out to your local tax office/ an accountant for more specific information on this to see what may apply based on your location and the locations you are delivering to.


Anne :)