Revenue reminds consumers of upcoming VAT rule changes for goods bought from non-EU countries

From 1 July 2021, new VAT rules will come into effect for goods arriving into Ireland from non-European Union (EU) countries.

From 1 July 2021, the current VAT exemption for imported goods with a value of €22 or less will end. From that date all goods arriving into Ireland from non-EU countries, regardless of their value, will be subject to VAT. The applicable VAT rate will be the relevant rate that would apply if the goods were purchased in Ireland. Consumers also need to be aware that the new VAT rules will apply to goods purchased from a non-EU country in advance of 1 July 2021 that subsequently arrive in Ireland for delivery on or after that date.

These new VAT rules, which will apply in all EU Member States, ensure that goods imported from outside the EU no longer have a preferential VAT treatment compared to goods purchased from within the EU, including from Irish retailers.

Ms Maureen Dalton, Principal Officer in Revenue’s Customs Division, emphasised that consumers need to be aware of the additional charges these changes will bring when buying goods online:

“Goods coming from non-EU countries are regarded as imports. This means the goods are subject to customs formalities and are liable to certain taxes and duties. Currently, if the cost of the goods you buy online, including transport, insurance and handling charges, is less than €22 you do not have to pay VAT. From 1 July 2021, VAT will be charged and collected on all goods, regardless of their value.

The rules around Customs Duty and Excise Duty related liabilities remain unchanged. This means that, in addition to paying VAT, if your goods cost more than €150, excluding transport, insurance and handling charges, you will also have to pay Customs Duty. If you buy alcohol or tobacco products online from outside the EU, then VAT, Customs Duty and Excise Duty are all payable, regardless of the value of your purchase.”

Ms Dalton reminded shoppers to be aware that these changes may mean that additional charges can apply once the purchased goods arrive in Ireland for delivery: 

“If you shop online, you need to check whether the advertised price includes all tax and duty costs due before you make your decision to buy the goods concerned. If the supplier is operating a duty paid model, the total price paid for the goods at the time of purchase will generally include Irish VAT and any duties due meaning no further Revenue charges will arise on delivery. However, where this is not the case, the amount of VAT and any duties due will be calculated by Revenue based on the information provided on the customs declaration. This is normally completed by the postal service or parcel operator delivering the goods. The consumer must then pay any additional charges to the postal service or parcel operator before the goods are delivered.”

Further information, including a specific working example on the impact the new VAT rules will have on goods purchased online from outside the EU, is available Buying goods from outside the European Union (EU) including the UK.

Alan McManus

Tax (VAT) Director

01 512 5525

June 2021