Goods imported into Europe are subject to VAT. In most EU countries VAT has to be paid immediately upon import. Generally speaking, a company importing products from outside the EU is required to pay import duties and VAT once the goods enter the European Union. It can apply for a refund of this VAT at a later stage, a rather inefficient process. That is why, in the Netherlands, payment of VAT may be deferred to a periodic VAT return through fiscal representation. Many European customs brokers and forwarders offer fiscal representation for VAT as a service to their customers. They can obtain permission to defer Import VAT, usually due upon import, to the periodic return they must file for their clients. In concrete terms, the foreign trader is not required to pay VAT when excisable goods arrive in the port. The payment of VAT at import can be postponed until the periodic VAT return, when the amount of VAT can be deducted straight away. In the end, there is no actual payment of VAT. In other EU countries, such as Germany and France, companies are required to pay VAT in the usual way every time a shipment arrives. By taking away these unnecessary transactions upon import, the Netherlands provides an attractive cash-flow advantage.