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5 Essential E-Commerce Business Tips You Need to Know When Selling Products in the EU

Jul 27, 2023 | European VAT

Selling products in the EU can be a lucrative opportunity, but it’s not without its challenges. Gladly, we are here to help you. By following these five e-commerce business tips, you can easily navigate the EU market. So don’t miss out—read on to learn more!

5 E-Commerce Business Tips on Selling Products in the EU 

Selling products in the EU can be a rewarding experience for e-commerce businesses. But with great opportunity comes great responsibility, in this case, to understand the ever-changing regulations that govern the EU market.

But don’t let these challenges deter you. With the right approach and knowledge, you can succeed in the EU market and take your business to new heights. In this blog, we will explore five essential financial tips for selling products in the EU. 

Tip #1: Understand the EU Product Rules and Regulations

Before you start selling, you first need to understand the different product rules and regulations that apply to your business. If you are not aware of these, there is no way you can comply with them.

Business isn’t just about gaining revenue but also making sure you are on the good side of legalities since the EU has strict rules on product safety, labelling, packaging, taxes, and other business aspects.

Make sure you research and truly understand all these relevant regulations to comply and avoid any legal issues and potential penalties, especially concerning taxes and reporting obligations, which we will tackle in the following tips.

Tip #2: Understand Value-Added Tax (VAT) and Exemption Threshold

VAT is a consumption tax applied to most goods and services sold within the EU. As a seller, you are responsible for collecting and remitting VAT on your sales if your annual revenue exceeds a certain threshold, which varies from country to country.

But if your annual sales to EU countries are below the threshold, you may be exempt from registering for VAT and filing VAT returns. However, keep in mind that these exemption thresholds may change over time.

Aside from the threshold, the VAT rate can also differ from country to country, so it is essential to understand the rules for each country where you sell.

To ensure your business complies with EU VAT regulations, it is recommended to seek guidance from a tax professional or accountant.

Tip #3: Know When and What to Report

When does your reporting obligation start?

Your reporting obligation upon selling products in the EU typically starts when you reach the threshold for VAT registration in a particular country. Once you reach the threshold, you will need to register for VAT in that country and begin filing VAT returns.

Although it is important to note that even if you are not required to register, you may still be subject to other reporting obligations, such as customs declarations or other regulatory requirements.

Which trade flows must be reported?

In selling products to the EU, you may be subject to trade reporting requirements for certain types of transactions. For example, if you export goods from the EU to a non-EU country, you may be required to file an export declaration with customs authorities.

Similarly, if you are importing goods into the EU from a non-EU country, you may be required to file an import declaration with customs authorities.

What data to report?

Data you need to report can include information such; as the value of the goods being sold, the countries involved, the type of goods being traded, and other details such as the weight and volume of the goods.

In addition, if you are subject to VAT reporting requirements, you will need to report information such as your VAT registration number, the amount of VAT charged on your sales, and the amount of VAT paid on your purchases.

Tip #4: Familiarize Yourself with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

PCI DSS is a set of standards for security that businesses must follow to ensure the safe handling of credit card information.

To comply with PCI DSS, you will need to use secure payment processing tools and maintain strict security protocols for handling credit card information.

Tip #5: Have a Plan for Refunds and Chargebacks

Finally, when selling products in the EU, it is important to have a plan for refunds and chargebacks. EU consumer protection laws give consumers the right to cancel their purchases within a certain period and receive a full refund.

Chargebacks can also occur if a customer disputes a transaction with their bank or credit card issuer.

To minimise the risk of chargebacks, make sure that:

  • Your products and services are of high quality
  • You have a clear and easy-to-understand refund policy
  • You respond promptly to customer complaints and inquiries
  • You have a system in place to handle chargebacks effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I simplify the process of collecting and remitting VAT?

    To simplify the VAT process, you can use an automated VAT compliance tool like OSS or IOSS that will calculate the VAT owed in a single VAT return without the need to file to each EU country. This will save you time and reduce the risk of errors.

  • What are cross-border payment fees, and how can I minimise them? 

    Cross-border payment fees are charged by banks and payment processors for processing payments from one country to another.

    To minimise these fees, you may want to consider using a payment processor that offers lower cross-border payment fees or multiple payment methods to customers to allow them to choose a payment method with lower fees.

  • What are common mistakes to avoid when selling products in the EU?

    Some common mistakes to avoid are:
    1. Failing to comply with VAT regulations
    2. Not reporting what you are obligated to report to the regulatory bodies
    3. Incorrect labelling of products with EU-specific information, and
    4. Not providing clear and accurate information about shipping and handling costs.


As you penetrate the EU market, the e-commerce business tips outlined in this blog can help you navigate the various financial aspects of selling products in the EU. Follow these tips, and you can increase your chances of financial success.

For more tips and advice, consult us at Sterlinx Global.

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