Shipping within the EU from Germany?

@nicole.faerber This was from the original crowdfunding site.
And now I’m apparently going to pay import tax (140$) + fee (25$) to get my phone.
That is 165$ + 599$ = 764$. This is for Denmark.


Are you sure there are import taxes for a smartphone from the USA?
I think you only have to pay VAT, like for shipping from Germany. The only difference is the 25$ fee.

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VAT (value added tax) is what I should have written. It is still a tax payed when importing :wink:
In Denmark its 25% of the value - what I payed 599$. And on top of that is a 25$ fee. If I told somebody in Denmark I would sell them something and send it from Germany, they would know that we have open borders with free movement of goods in (most of) Europe. And never expect a bill from customs.
Will US citizens have to pay VAT on top of the phone prize?

Yes, but that’s just a difference in declaration.
In Europe, prices are usually declared including taxes, but in the US without.
So, there’s no difference in handling, just in expectation. US citizens knew there will be VAT added on top, and for some Europeans that is unexpected.

If you think about it, shipping worldwide, it makes sense that the priced does not include the VAT, as it differs a lot depending on the destination.


That makes sense. But still if you think about it, why would anybody tell europeans that the phone will ship from Germany? I dont care where my order is shipped from, when there is free shipping. Do they assemble the phone in Germany? No. Then why would any european care about them shipping from Germany. In my opinion it is not good practice to use Germany as a selling point, if that has absolutely no influece on anything.
Just a broke dude, beeing frustrated.

I understand.
If you have a look at the Librem 5 — Promise Delivery Chart, you’ll notice that this is one of the few missed promises, but in progress.
In the source I linked there, Nicole argues that Germany would indeed make sense for you, as the VAT (~ import tax US->Germany) is lower there (19%).

:thinking: If you’re lucky, and they get it going before your batch ships, maybe you’ll have to pay a few bucks less? (19% vs 25%)

If VAT is not payed from the 599$, then why should I choose to pay to Germany. Im broke, 19% or 25% is still money I didn’t expect to pay. And I love the welfarestate in Denmark, so I’d rather pay the last 6% for welfare. I have german family, and should keep politics out of this forum… so i’ll stop here.

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It wouldn’t be your choise. In the eu there is an exeption for small business that they can pay the vat in their home county (e.g. purism reseller in germany) even if the customer (you) is in another eu country. This is to keep the tax overhead acceptable for small businesses. Bigger companies need to pay taxes according to customer location.

In that scenario it would be the purism reseller which would collect the vat from you as they paid it on import. If it comes form the us it is the customs office.

On the declared prices it is as others said.
Most europeans are just so used to the display of “599 inc vat” that they just overlook the missing “incl vat”.
In the eu you would see that only in B2B shops where it is common to display prices excl vat.

My personal opinion is that purism
could have done a better job on making this clear to international buyers. Especially as their team has quiet some European members. But that is never the less just a matter of consumer friendliness.


I will not pay any fee (25$ whatsoever) only vat. They clearly said that they will ship from Germany.

So much speculation… It would be nice, if someone from Germany could simply post here, what he have paid alltogether, when he got his Librem5 finally.
That should not last any longer so long now.

It’s not speculation. The customs office charges you 19%.

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I do not think US customers will pay a cent more than the 599. L5 is not a buy at the local store (in which case there would be tax added). It is mail order. I do not think tax applies.

So Europeans are right complaining. And I want to complain too. The promise was 599 and shipping from Germany. Now we have to pay much more (VAT plus handling the item at the customs office by the courier).

Actually there is something more. The package to us in Europe must have the receipt (or copy of it) on the outside of the parcel. If there is not such receipt the customs (at least in Greece) they ask you to email them the receipt of payment AND the web page from where it was ordered that includes the price paid.

Since such a web page does not exist anymore (the price has gone up) I will have to pay tax based on the higher current price.

Purism should be very careful about this issue.
How to tell them? Anybody from support reading?

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Shipping within the Eu is really welcome because as customer it’s easier deal with purism/courier than customs, so i really hope purism will accomplish this promise too


Your thought would be mostly wrong.

Each US customer will pay their local sales TAX.

For myself this TAX was actually included at checkout which is likely because most payment systems handle this automatically.

I do not know why VAT was not collected at time of purchase as that is outside my scope of knowledge, though I suspect there is good reason for this.

I said mostly wrong as there are some states that do not have a sales tax, though I don’t know for certain how that affects online purchases from out of state as that’s typically a separate tax at the same rate as sales tax. It may be that there are some customers who don’t have any taxes applied because where they live doesn’t tax this kind of purchase but they would be the exception not the rule.


since we are neighbours i am concerned about this as well especially since for me it’s not just one L5 but more.

what are Purisms thoughs on this matter ?

Neighbors? What country?

It is questionable whether you can do that for something backed 2+ years in advance. Perhaps that applies in the US too - but that gets into the nitty gritty of each state or country’s detailed legislation - as to when the tax is calculated and applied.

For example, in some areas of law it depends on when the contract of sale becomes unconditional. If you walk into a store and buy an item, it is obvious that it is unconditional immediately. When you back a “startup project”, potentially even before it has reached its initial funding goal, never mind about shipping a finished product, it is not so clear.

This is a well known issue (rort) when there is an impending tax rise, so governments do care about the details.

In any case it would be challenging for Purism to be on top of the crazy rules and regulations that apply in every different country.


since my country joined the EU i refer to it as just a coun(ty) so it is less important publicly what the exact neighbouring count(ry) it is compared to yours. i just remarked your public declaration that’s all (by the way support knows the details so you aren’t required to publicly make statements regarding your geo-location here on the forums - especially since it could be used against you)

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Hi guys and girls!

As engineer, i can two things: crying and solving* problems.

= First part: Begin the cry =
I am a Hungarian guy, so the VAT for me is 27%, plus the handling fee.
The end result is close the 30%, so when i decided the order, i was happy because i read
the “free worldwide shipping” and “EU shipping from Germany” sentences.
This two sentence is means for me, based on the Schengen aggreement: i can not pay extra
fees, in my case, circa 180 USD.
Because 180 USD in not a joke.

Sad fact, this money is must be pay. So, me or Purism must be pay.

I dont want to pay, the Purism in turn can not pay.
If the Purism is paying instead of all EU customer, then the Purism financial plans will be collapse.
So, what can we do?

= Second part: try solving the problem =
What is the source the problem? The bureaucracy. What can we do? Hack the bureaucracy! :slight_smile:

So… How working the VAT handling? The officer got a package, and see the label on it.
This label says the item description: (smartphone), need custom (yes/no), and the base value of the custom/VAT (in USD).
The “need custom” is axiom, because the Purism is not pay the custom/VAT of course.
So, we can play with the money attribute.
Writing lower walue than the real: is crime. We are not gangsters, so, lying is not a option.
Must write it a correct value. But… How much is the correct value? 600 USD? Really?

The package is not contain 600 USD. The package is contain assemled hardware parts.
What is the cost of these harware parts? One display, two circuit board, one aluminium case,
a battery, cables, and a small set of screws, - this is 600 USD? No. Hell no!

The large part of my 600 USD is payed for the Pusrism developers for salary, and the Purism
firm daily needings: office rent, electricity, water, ergonomic worplace, and hopefully,
time to time a little beer because they deserve. :slight_smile:

So, why want the custom officer i pay VAT for the Purism beer or a developers salaries?
This value is not in the box, - this value will be download from the PureOS mirrors. :slight_smile:
Okay, okay, i known, the package contanis hardware parts contains lot of hard engineering
works, but this working efforts is not printed to the circuit board…
Okay, we are maybe a criminals a bit at this point. I am not a lawyer. :slight_smile:

So, maybe working solutions: the Purism is not send a full assembled phone for me.
Instead, Purism send a phone DIY kit for me, - and in absulote legal, write the
factory costs of the parts to the package value label, and the “DIY kit” to the item description.
If this “only hardware cost” cause a significally lower VAT price for me, then i will happy.

I think, the Librem 5 is a not-to-hard repairable, not-glue designed device.
So, if i have a precision screwdrivers, and an antistatic workplace, i can assembly my phone.

This solution is good for the Purism too, because the assembly work is mine, not for Purism responsibility.
Or, maybe using the Germany reseller, the Purism can deliver from US to Germany a lot of
DIY set, - and this DIY or repair part sets is not a 600 USD per set value, but also a
lower value packages, because this packages not contain a high value mobile phone, just
the sort of naked hardware parts.

I think, this is fully legal.
But i not sure, this is feasible or not?

However, when no method for skip the high VAT, i will pay it, because this device is not a
600 USD value device: The Librem 5 is more-more valuable device for me.

What is the real value of a trustworthy device?
And the truly convergent device?

Because the Librem 5 is these for me. Reliable, trustworthy, and in convergent mode, i able to
do a base desktop functionality, with a legacy Linux software stack, instead of the weak Android apps.

@Purism employee: I want the thank you for you, because you made my dream come true!


(*) I was say solving problems, but this is a lye in this form.
Because the engineers can not solve problems.
Just change/transform the big problem to a little problem(s).
There is no free lunch! :slight_smile:


not sure whether it would work but that may also mitigate ce certification issue. the emitter (radio modules) will be ce’d, and the rest… just components.