Administrative Import processes in Europe (France)

Hello everybody,

I ve fund others topics but no quite real answers about administrative import processes.

Likewise, I didn’t have very clear answers at the customs. A private individual who imports a machine from USA is not a common case. They advise to contact the shipping company to know more about customs duty and taxes.

Does others members on the topics know things about that?

Does Glowforge team knows which shipping company will be chosen to deliver in Europe?

I m dreaming about glowforge projects everyday but I hope that import processes and inaffordable additionnal costs won’t kill all that.

Thanks for everybody who can help me.



Hi, I’m not French, but I think it will be pretty much the same as in any other European country. You will have to pay VAT (20% of Glowforge + shipping price) and maybe some import tax.

Try to search “France import VAT” and you will probably find detailed info. Also it should be possible to find somewhere what is import tax for laser cutting machine.

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I’m surprised that Customs weren’t able to provide you with better details when you contacted them. Surely they are the ones who will calculate and collect the import duty and tax?

Before I placed my order, I spoke to New Zealand Customs and they told me that I must register as a TSW Client before importing anything valued over $1,000 into the country, and calculated the three fees that I would have to pay (duty, GST and IETF) based on the unit cost and unit+shipping cost.

If Customs really can’t help you (though you may have just spoken to somebody inexperienced) you could call some French freight companies, tell them you are importing a machine and ask what you would have to do and pay if you used them for freight.

Edit: it’s probably more important to find out what import requirements exist other than the various taxes - for example, do you have to register as an importer, does the equipment need to meet any particular standards etc. Unless your financial situation is extremely tight, you will be able to find money for the taxes somewhere. Registering as an importer after the machine arrives and customs are trying to ship it out or misappropriate it may be more difficult.

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I will be importing the Glowforge into Denmark. I’m not too concerned about the actual process, I know that the delivery company will take care of that. However what bothers me is that the referrals will be subtracted after shipping has been done for all referrals.

Glowforge price: $1895
Shipping to DK: $560,5
Import taxes: $637

If referrals (with 10 referrals) where subtracted from listed price when shipping:
Glowforge price: $895
Shipping to DK: $560,5
Import taxes: $387
Notice that the Shipping + Import tax is ~$50 more than actual product :slight_smile:

That is a $250 difference on the import taxes :frowning:

Another way to look at it is your referrals cover all but $200 of the shipping + import tax.



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Please forgive my ignorance, but what are referrals?

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I have just discovered what referrals are!

The curse of the internet has struck me again. I must learn to engage brain before hitting send button.


I always do my best proof reading just after I hit send :no_mouth:


Hi, I’ve got the same question here, I’m really affraid that after what we can call a long wait, I have to “repay” my glowforge only to let her finally arrive home.
If we pay the Taxes in France (coucou Marc !), is there any change we can get the american taxes refund ?

Shouldn’t have been any taxes from the U.S. or from Washington State. There were significant shipping fees. No taxes on my purchase here in the states.


Only taxed if in Washington State, 8.5% :grin:

The US does not have a VAT. Alcohol, tobacco and a couple other things have a federal excise tax levied on them, but the glowforge is not taxed directly.

US residents are supposed to pay their state’s sales tax (and county and city if applicable) on the glowforge when they file their income tax returns. Glowforge will collect that tax only for units delivered to an address in Washington state. For the other forty-nine states, district of Columbia and the six US territories, taxes on purchases originating outside of their state are paid on the honor system. Our tax laws are still based on people moving around using horse drawn wagons. Not, that I’m complaining, just observing.

All that said, Americans are notoriously awful at geography and there is no guarantee the person doing the paperwork won’t think France is just south of Spokane.


I’m late to the party, but I have just been looking this up (I live in France) so I thought I’d share my findings:
There is a calculator for French customs import taxes:

The administrative info for this is indeed completely unfathomable, it took me hours to find what seems to be the right category of goods (code 8456900000 - Machines capable of cutting using light, plasma, water jets, etc. The main category is called “Nuclear reactors :smiley: , boilers, machines, devices and mechanical equipment” so that’s a nice wide definition!!)
The tax rate for this category is 3.5%, and you pay Tax + VAT + Transporter admin fees based on the Item price + transport fees + insurance.
Basically, I’ll need to pay another 600+ € for my basic :glowforge: with no air filter. :persevere:


Sounds about right. We have a similar system in the Netherlands. Anything bought from outside the European Union will be taxed and feed. And yes that includes the shipping cost and insurance.

I collect high end collectibles and I will more often then not ask the seller/shipper from outside the EU to quote a package for €50 or less. Even if it contains a $1000 collectible. Most of the time time it will arrive unharmed and without an import fee. But even then customs sometimes open up a package to inspect the contents and BAM you get to pay a fee for that too and they look up the item price online. Even if I would’ve paid much less than retail I’ll get slammed for that retail price.

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Hey @kcalmejane! I’m in France too, near Aix-en-Provence. Whereabouts are you?
Thanks for the import fee info. I was expecting to pay about €400 for a basic sans filter… ughhh. Well a least I still have some time to save! :expressionless:

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:wave: Hello, I’m up in the North East, north of Metz near the border with Luxembourg and Belgium.

True, at least it helps to get an idea beforehand, nothing like the shock of suddenly finding out when your GF is on the way.

Ouch, I hope they don’t find the retail price of the GF online, seeing as it’s pretty much doubled since we pre-ordered… :crossed_fingers:

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Hello! I’m from France, I’ve got a UPS delivery today, but I don’t think it’s the big package with the glowforge, it’s says 14lbs on the ups tracker. I payed for it the taxes yesterday, it was 65€. Does anyone actually received is glowforge in France and knows the taxes amount?! Is it normal to received one box and not the two other?

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I believe we will get a total of three boxes. That price you paid sounds like the proofgrade materials. Exciting! Where in France are you?


In the US it is normal to receive the box of proofgrade materials separate (and usually first) from the two-box glowforge delivery. They ship from different states.