On­line shop­ping

Gorey Guardian - - NEWS -

I want to do some of my Christ­mas shop­ping on Amer­i­can web­sites. What are the rules about VAT and cus­toms du­ties when shop­ping out­side the EU?

In gen­eral, when goods are im­ported into Ire­land from a coun­try out­side of the EU, they are li­able for im­port charges. These in­clude VAT, cus­toms duty and ex­cise or other du­ties where rel­e­vant. You are im­port­ing goods if you buy items on­line from abroad or from a mail or­der cat­a­logue. You are also im­port­ing goods if you get a gift sent from abroad. In some cases, you can get relief from im­port charges.

If some­one sends you a gift from out­side the EU, and it is val­ued less than €45, you do not have to pay cus­toms duty or VAT. To qual­ify for this relief, the gift must be of an oc­ca­sional na­ture and sent from one pri­vate in­di­vid­ual to another.

You don’t have to pay VAT on cer­tain goods from out­side the EU if they are val­ued less than €22. The value is cal­cu­lated as the full value of the item, plus postage and du­ties. This is also the value that is used to cal­cu­late VAT, if it is payable. If you buy goods from out­side the EU val­ued at more than €150, you will have to pay cus­toms duty as well. Cus­toms duty is nor­mally cal­cu­lated as a per­cent­age of the full value of the goods in­clud­ing the cost of postage, pack­ag­ing and in­sur­ance. VAT, cus­toms duty and ex­cise duty are al­ways charged on ex­cis­able prod­ucts (such as al­co­hol, to­bacco and per­fume) from out­side the EU, what­ever their value.

All pack­ages re­ceived from out­side of the EU re­quire a cus­toms dec­la­ra­tion, which is usu­ally com­pleted by the sender. The dec­la­ra­tion should in­clude a de­scrip­tion of the goods, the value of the goods and whether they are gifts or com­mer­cial items.

Some web­sites of­fer to un­der­value your goods to avoid im­port charges. This is il­le­gal. You, as the im­porter of the goods, are re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing that the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided is ac­cu­rate and that all du­ties and taxes are paid. Some web­sites may also prom­ise de­liv­ery from within the EU, which would elim­i­nate any im­port charges, but they are in fact ship­ping their prod­ucts from out­side the EU. If this is the case, you are li­able for du­ties and VAT.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion is avail­able from the Ci­ti­zens In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre be­low.

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