Converting currencies and who pays VAT where


  • £ is the Great British Pound (GBP), also known as the Pound Sterling or Sterling. Used in the UK. NOT to be confused with the €.
  • € is the Euro, used in the Eurozone. Not to be confused with the £. Note that not all EU countries use the Euro (The eurozone currently consists of: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France,Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain)
  • $ is the US Dollar (USD). Used in the USA
  • The EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom. If you buy from any of these countries and you are outside the EU you do NOT pay VAT but you DO pay customs and import duties if your parcel is checked and the contents and value are liable for tax. If you live in any of these countries and buy from another one of these countries, you DO pay VAT, at the local rate of the country from which you are buying but you do NOT pay customs or import duties in your own country.
  • The EEA countries are the above + Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein
  • The EFTA countries are the above + Switzerland
  • If you need to convert currency you can use Google. Just type the amount and the two currencies. I tend to type 50 gbp to usd, for example
  • Or you can use a currency converter such as

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

5 thoughts

    1. I usually do it before I leave as we have companies which do not charge commission. In Europe you can use a normal automatic teller machine to take out local currency but I am not sure if US cards allow that.

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