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Customs charges stopping you from shopping online? Let’s set the record straight

By January 19, 2024 No Comments
Custom Charges

Ah, the age-old tangle of customs charges, a true spanner in the works for many an online shopper. In Ireland, like in many places, customs charges can indeed be a bit of a puzzle, but let’s unravel this knot.

When you’re buying goods online from outside the EU (which now includes the UK post-Brexit), you might need to pay customs duty, import VAT, and sometimes an excise duty. Here’s how it generally plays out:

1. Customs Duty:

This is charged on goods valued over €150. The rate depends on the type of goods you’re importing. It’s a bit like ordering a fancy dish at a restaurant and finding there’s an extra charge for the sauce.

2. Import VAT: This one’s applied on goods over €22. Think of it as the service charge at a restaurant. It’s calculated on the total cost to import the goods – including the cost of the goods, postage, packaging, and insurance, plus any duty you owe.

3. Excise Duty: This is specific to certain goods like alcohol or tobacco. It’s like that extra tax you pay on a luxury item, just because it’s a bit indulgent.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting: Since 1 July 2021, the EU introduced the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) for purchases up to €150. If the seller is registered for IOSS, they’ll charge you VAT at the point of sale, and you won’t have to pay anything extra when the goods arrive in Ireland. It’s a bit like paying for your entire meal upfront, tip included.

But, if the seller isn’t IOSS-registered, you might be asked to pay VAT and possibly customs duty when the goods arrive in Ireland. It’s like having an unexpected dessert added to your bill.

A little heads-up: even if you’re not paying customs duty or VAT, you might still face handling fees from the courier or postal service. It’s like a delivery charge, really.

So, when shopping online, it’s wise to check whether the seller is IOSS-registered to avoid surprises. And remember, rules can change and exceptions do apply, so it’s always best to check the latest from the Revenue Commissioners or a trusty legal beagle for the most up-to-date advice.

Now, don’t let those charges catch you off guard – forewarned is forearmed!

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