Amazon Import Fees Deposit
Amazon is the largest online retailer in Europe and thousands of people in Ireland shop online at Amazon UK every day.
Since January 1st, some Irish shoppers will be seeing an extra item at checkout on Amazon called an Import Fees Deposit . This will be a combination of Irish VAT and any customs duties that are due.
Didn’t the Brexit Deal Rule out Import Duties on EU-UK Trade ?
NO: Even though a trade deal was agreed between the EU and UK (Dec 24th) – It did not rule out the possibility of import duties on some items. Read on to find out why.
A Summary of what the deal means for online sales from the UK to Ireland :-
- There is no customs duty on products made in the UK and delivered to Ireland or any other EU country.
- Customs Duty may be charged on some categories of goods coming from the UK with a “country of origin*” outside the UK – but only IF the order is more than €150.(More here on Customs Duty)
- Orders with a value below €150 (before postage charges) will NOT be liable to Irish customs duty regardless of the product’s country of origin.
- UK VAT should not be charged on any orders delivered to Ireland from the UK. However, Irish VAT will apply to orders over €22.
If retailers are doing things correctly – this should mean a price reduction on items under €22 IF UK VAT is being charged by the seller.
- *Country of origin rules are complex. See here .
For example, something made in the UK with only materials produced in either the EU or UK will be classed as UK origin. However, something made in the UK with, for example, 51% or more of materials from China – might not be treated as UK origin, depending on the type of product. Something made in the EU and sold to the UK may also be liable to duty if it is sold back to the EU !
Amazon Import Fees Deposit Explained
Items Sold By Amazon
Amazon UK will deduct the UK VAT and then show any Irish import VAT and duties as “The Import Fees Deposit” at checkout.
Amazon states that “you won’t be charged additional fees if the actual Import Fees exceed the Import Fees Deposit we estimated.”
Amazon UK will pay any Irish import VAT and duties on your behalf. This means that you won’t be getting emails or texts from An Post or couriers demanding extra charges on delivery
If the actual Import VAT and Duty charged by customs turn out to be less than the Import Fees Deposit collected by Amazon, then you’ll automatically be refunded the difference by Amazon and you’ll receive a notification e-mail confirming the amount of the refund.
More here on Which Products Are Liable to Customs Duty
Items Sold by Third Party Sellers and Fulfilled By Amazon
Some of the third party sellers are doing things correctly – and you should see UK VAT removed and any relevant duty and Irish VAT will be shown at checkout as “import fees”.
However, there are seems to be a lot of third-party sellers on Amazon who are not UK VAT registered – so they can’t deduct the UK VAT because they are not charging it in the first place. Items from these sellers will be more expensive for Irish delivery because Irish import VAT will be charged. Prior to Brexit that wouldn’t be the case.
Items sold and Dispatched by Third Party Sellers
It looks like many of the third party sellers on Amazon that organise their own deliveries might not be charging the correct import VAT or import duty that is applicable for orders coming to Ireland. (Especially the sellers based outside Europe) .
If you order anything over €22 from these sellers you should probably expect to be asked to pay 21% VAT on delivery plus an admin fee which could be around €15 with some couriers.
If you order anything over €150 from these sellers – you may be liable for import VAT and you might also be liable for import duty on arrival.
(This might not be true for 100% of third party sellers.)
If you don’t want the hassle and possible delays caused by this – you might want to avoid these type of sellers for now .
However – if it wasn’t made clear when you bought the item that you would be liable for import taxes on delivery – you can raise a complaint with Amazon and ask for a refund of the duty/tax. Amazon asks sellers to deliver orders with no extra fees. Based on what we have seen – we feel any such claim is very ikely to be found in the buyer’s favour.
If you don’t want the worry of extra duty – then maybe check Amazon Germany for the same items.? But there is no free delivery to Ireland for anyone and delivery charges start at €5 and are weight related.
More about Using Amazon.DE in Ireland
You could even check Amazon Japan ! It can also be viewed in English and many items can be delivered to Ireland . ( Probably best to stick to items sold by Amazon.)
More here about Import Duty Rates on goods sold to Ireland from the UK
Many Amazon UK Orders Under €22 Are Now Cheaper For Irish Shoppers
This section only applies to items SOLD by or Fulfilled By Amazon
VAT Exemption on Imports
Since Jan 1st 2021 , any package delivered from the UK to Ireland that has a value less than €22 (including delivery charges) , is exempt from Irish import VAT.
This means that on packages under €22 that are liable for UK VAT – Irish shoppers using Amazon UK should see a 20% price reduction on many orders. Books are VAT free in both countries and will not change.
To take full advantage of this it would be a good time to sign up for Amazon Prime. You get 30 days free and can cancel at any time. Students can get 6 months free !
You can click here to get a free 30 Day Trial of Amazon Prime
VAT on Delivery Charges For Non-Prime Members
If you are not an Amazon Prime member you will also pay Irish VAT on the £6 delivery charge. Even if your order is over £20 and qualifies for free delivery. The Irish VAT has to be applied on the €6 delivery charge. Amazon then deducts the €6 at the end as a “promotion”. So – non-Prime members will see an extra £1.26 in “import fees” at checkout on all orders – which is the Irish VAT on the £6 delivery. (This VAT charge would have happened before Brexit too)
€22 Euro Cut off Point
As mentioned earlier – postal sales to Ireland under €22 are exempt from import VAT until July 2021.
Revenue’s rules mean that €22 Euro is treated as £19.95 GBP for all of January 2021 . (see the end of the page for the method of calculation.)
£19.95 excluding UK VAT, works out as £23.94 inclusive of UK VAT .
Amazon are probably not using the exact same exchange rate as Revenue – so we have found that it’s safer to use £23.20 as the cut-off figure.
Therefore , Irish customers with Prime should see a 20% final price reduction at checkout on single Amazon items priced under £23.20.
Some Examples of Amazon UK Price Reductions After Brexit
We have checked the pricing on Amazon UK and were able to order an Amazon Echo Dot for £16.66 for delivery to Ireland in early Jan
This was priced at £19.99 for delivery in the UK . (Prime Member)
Ordering Multiple low Priced Items –
If you order 2 different items, each priced at £19.99 – and they show at Amazon checkout as coming in one delivery – then Irish VAT will be charged by Amazon on both items because the total “package” is over €22.
However, on the same order of 2 items costing £19.99 each, if on checkout the order is showing as needing 2 deliveries (maybe because of low stock availability on 1) – then Amazon will not charge Irish VAT on the whole order even though it is over the VAT threshold.
The VAT threshold is per “package” not per order. We have tested this out on Amazon UK – and that is how it worked (on 1st Jan).
More examples of Amazon prices including Customs Duty can be found here
Irish Returns to Amazon After Brexit
Amazon continue to accept eligible returns from Ireland since Brexit.
Nothing has changed regarding returns from Ireland since Brexit – even though some newspapers seem to think it has.
If the reason for return is the result of an error (e.g. if the item is defective/damaged/incorrect), any postage costs incurred for the return will be paid by Amazon.
Otherwise, (I.e – you just decide you don’t want it) – any postage costs incurred for the return will be payable by the person returning the goods.
This does NOT apply to returns of Shoes, Clothing, Jewellery & Watches – postage costs will be refunded for those.
Note – this policy has not changed since 2020 and is the same policy for UK customers.
More Changes to VAT in July 2021
These import VAT related price reductions will only last until July 2021 because Ireland (EU) is abolishing the import VAT exemption on low value parcels. From July 1st 2021 Irish VAT will be charged on all UK and other non EU orders delivered to Ireland. The retailers are supposed to charge the VAT at checkout from July – so we expect to see more confusion with lots of non EU sellers come July 2021. For sellers on Amazon – the Irish VAT will be taken care of by Amazon on orders under €150. So we expect to see more small non EU retailers moving on to Amazon or similar marketplaces.
Import Duty on Irish Orders at Amazon UK
Even though there was a Brexit deal – it does not rule out customs duty on all items. If a product delivered to Ireland from the UK was not made in the UK – then it could be liable for duty. Any orders with an intrinsic value of €150 or less will NOT be considered for customs duty. Regardless of what is in the order.
More here about Import Duty Rates on goods sold to Ireland from the UK
For example – a pair of trainers made in China selling on Amazon UK for £271.66 including UK VAT.
If these were delivered to Ireland – the basic price would reduce to £226.38 (ex VAT) .
Duty would be 16.9% and Irish VAT on top of 21% showing as £93.83 Import fees Deposit.
This will bring the final price to £320.21 .
A Bosch food mixer priced at £279.99 GBP sold by Amazon.
Ordered for delivery to Ireland .
Checkout Price = £233.32 (This is the UK price less UK VAT) .
Import Fees Deposit of £55.20 .(Made up of Duty of 2.2% and 21% Irish VAT)
Bringing the final price to £288.52
These were actual prices checked Jan 1st and 2nd 2021
The good news is that Amazon works out the duty and VAT for you to pay at checkout. It is an estimate – but a very accurate one. Amazon will pay the import fees on your behalf – so no further charges will be asked for in Ireland by An Post or couriers. If the estimate turns out to be higher than the actual import fees than Amazon will refund you the difference.
BUT – as mentioned earlier , some third-party sellers on Amazon might not include duty or VAT in their charges – so it is probably best to avoid them on orders over €150 and to make sure there is something showing in the “Import Fees Deposit” on orders under €150 and over €22.
If you do order off a seller on Amazon and end up getting a demand for customs charges from An Post – you should raise a complaint with Amazon and request a refund of the extra charges you had to pay.
Our tip is to try and order only those items that are “sold by Amazon” or “Fulfilled by Amazon”. That way, you should avoid any surprise VAT or duty charges on delivery with admin fees added by couriers.
More here about Import Duty Rates on goods sold to Ireland from the UK
Amazon Prime in Ireland
If you aren’t already an Amazon Prime member – this could be a good time to join and take advantage of even cheaper prices on Amazon UK. Irish customers still get free priority delivery to Ireland on all Prime eligible items.
Get a Free 30 day Trial of Amazon Prime Here
Six Months Free Amazon Prime for Students Here
Tip : Always remember to pay in Pounds on Amazon UK – NOT Euros – it will work out cheaper. Read more about Amazon Currency Conversion Rates here.
How Much is €22 in Pounds?
Irish Customs use the Sterling to Euro rate of exchange quoted by the Irish Central Bank on the second last Wednesday of each month – for the whole of the following calendar month.
For example – The quoted exchange rate on Wed 23rd December 2020 was £0.9070 . Using that rate – €22 was worth £19.95 GBP .
This rate will be used for all orders arriving from the UK in January 2021 .
Therefore – any order of less than £19.95 (including delivery charges) should NOT be liable to VAT. (UK or Irish).
The amount used for the duty threshold is €150 – which works out as £136 when using the above exchange rate. So – if your order is under £136 in January 2021 you should not be charged duty. Amazon might use different exchange rates – so it could be in the region of £136.
We can’t guarantee that Amazon UK or other retailers will be using exactly the same exchange rate when working out Irish VAT – but this is the rate that customs will use if VAT or duty is due on delivery.
You can see the exchange rates used here on Revenue.ie
Amazon Germany is an Option
Shoppers in Ireland have the option of using Amazon Germany if they have any problems with ordering on the UK site in 2021. Just be aware that all electrical items will be sold with a “European” plug ( 2 pins) – so you will need adapters. Also – there is no option of free delivery to Ireland.
We have written already about Amazon Germany’s Delivery Charges to Ireland
Amazon Japan is also worth looking at – they allow viewing in English and many items can be shipped to Ireland.
This is a link to the Amazon Japan site in English.
It is probably best to stick to items sold by Amazon.Jp
This is a link to the Amazon Japan Global Store – where all orders are guaranteed to have any import charges shown at checkout.
Don’t be put off by the prices showing as thousands of Yen – a thousand Yen is equal to around 8 Euro.
A few items we looked at were showing delivery to Ireland in less than 2 weeks. You might find some interesting things on there that can’t be found online here or in the UK. Japanese brands such as Sony , Panasonic, Canon , Nintendo might be cheaper on Amazon Japan even after any import fees are added.
MoneyguideIreland.com has written this article based on the information available to us. We believe it to be accurate but you should closely check the charges at checkout when shopping at any non Irish online retailer.