I ordered something online from a UK website – will I have to pay extra charges when it arrives?
From 1 January 2021, you may have to pay extra tax when having your online shopping delivered from the UK (this does not include Northern Ireland). This is because the UK has left the European Union (Brexit)and the transition period that was in place ended on 31 December 2020.
Depending on the item’s value and where it was made (place of origin), you may have to pay:
- Value Added Tax (VAT)
- Customs duty
How will I know if I owe these taxes?
If your package is valued at €22 or less (including the transport, insurance and handling costs), you do not have to pay any VAT or customs duty.
However, if your package is valued at €23 or more (including the transport, insurance and handling costs), you have to pay VAT. The standard rate of VAT for most items bought in Ireland is 21%.
If the items were made in the UK and are valued at €150 or more (not including transport, insurance and handling charges), you do not have to pay customs duty.
However, if the items were not made in the UK and are valued at €150 or more (excluding transport, insurance and handling charges), you may have to pay customs duty. The amount of customs duty you pay depends on the type of product you buy.
You should be aware that the value limits are for the whole delivery, not just one item.
How do I pay these charges, and who do I pay them to?
You may have already paid Irish VAT and customs duty during the checkout stage of your online purchase. This is because some UK retailers are registered with Revenue and automatically charge the relevant taxes as part of the purchase. Check your receipt (this is usually sent to you by email) to see if you have already paid Irish VAT or customs duty.
If the UK business is not registered with Revenue, the postal service or courier will send you a bill before delivering your package. This is because the postal service or courier completes all the relevant customs declarations, including where the product is manufactured. You will usually be charged an administration fee for this service, which can be a minimum of €10 to €15.
Are there any other changes to my consumer rights when I buy from the UK?
As a result of Brexit, there are changes to your consumer rights when buying online from businesses in the UK. You will still have consumer rights but they will be set down in UK law and not EU law. It is very important to check the terms and conditions on the seller’s website to find out your rights around:
- Returning the item if you change your mind
- Cancelling the item before it is dispatched
- Complaining if something goes wrong
During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:
- The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
- Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer
You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.