Irish Customs Duty on Online Purchases

Customs Charges UK to Ireland

A Brexit Deal has been agreed between the UK and the EU .
At first, we thought (as many others did ) that a deal would mean no worries about customs duty when buying online from the UK .
But we were wrong .

The EU/UK deal only applies to products coming into the EU from the UK that are made in the UK.
This means that there will be Irish customs Duty on some items bought online in the UK and delivered to Ireland.
It also seems that goods originally made in an EU country, exported to the UK, and then sold on to Ireland (or another EU country) will now be subject to import duty.
To be honest – the whole thing seems a mess and many retailers don’t really seem to know exactly what the situation is.


When Do You Have to Pay Duty on Orders From the UK?

No Duty on Orders under €150

First – the good news is that duty will not have to be paid on any orders coming from the UK valued at under €150. ( See further down to find out how the value is calculated).

Online Orders over €150

Customs duty might apply to some items where the product’s country of origin is NOT the UK .
The rate of duty will vary according to the category of product. Many products will have a zero rate of duty. Some products such as trainers made in China for example will have a rate as high as 16.9% rate. See some more examples below.

Examples

These are some real examples checked on Amazon UK on Jan 1st and Jan 2nd 2021

Example 1 – A pair of Nike trainers made in China (we think) ,selling on Amazon UK for £271.66 including UK VAT.
If these were ordered for delivery to Ireland – the basic price would be reduced to £226.38 (ex VAT) .
Duty of 16.9% is added and then Irish VAT on top at 21% – bringing the final price to £320.21 .

Example 2 (On Amazon)

A Bosch food mixer (made in the EU we assume) priced at £279.99 GBP sold by Amazon.
For delivery to Ireland – the basic price was £233.32 (ex VAT) .
Duty of 2.2% and Irish VAT on top of 21% bringing the final price to £288.52


Amazon UK and Import Fees

Amazon is well used to international selling – and on items sold or fulfilled by them – any duty and VAT will be shown as import charges before you pay at checkout. This means that when buying on Amazon UK using Prime – you should not have extra to pay on delivery to Ireland.
The same might not be true for third party sellers on Amazon or for other UK retailers.

Amazon UK shows any duty and import VAT as “The Import Fees Deposit“. This is their estimation of the taxes and duties that may apply.
Amazon states that “you won’t be charged additional fees if the actual Import Fees exceed the Import Fees Deposit we estimated.”
Amazon will pay any VAT and duties on your behalf so you won’t be getting emails or texts from An Post about extra charges.

More About Shopping on Amazon UK After Brexit

Some EU Online Shops That don’t Have Customs Charges


VAT on Online Shopping in the UK


A Brexit trade deal does not alter the fact that there are also changes to VAT on sales from the UK and Ireland from January 2021 .
Basically – UK VAT should not be charged on sales to Ireland , Irish VAT should be charged instead. Big marketplaces like Amazon will do this at checkout – but don’t rely on all other UK retailers to charge the correct VAT. If they don’t – you will probably be hit with a VAT demand on delivery plus admin fees.

If you want to avoid any worries about extra duty or VAT – on delivery here is a website that lists some Irish and EU Online Shopping Sites.

You can read more information about VAT on Online Shopping from the UK in Ireland after Brexit..


Irish Customs Duty Rates After Brexit

The Brexit free trade deal means that Goods “originating” in the UK will not be subject to customs duties in the EU.
But goods which fail to satisfy the relevant preferential county of origin rules will be subject to normal WTO import tariffs (i.e., the Common Customs Tariff of the EU).
Many of these common customs tariffs are 0% on many categories.

Read about Importing Used Cars into Ireland from the UK after Brexit

Country of Origin

The rules for deciding the country of origin of an item can be complex, especially in the case of items made up of parts from different countries.

The retailer is responsible for identifying the country of origin, so it is possible some goods might be incorrectly classed as UK made and no duty will be charged.


Some Examples of Items that can be imported to the EU with 0% Duty

Here are some examples of goods from the UK that we understand can be imported duty-free into Ireland even if the country of origin is not the UK.

  • Computers & Computer Parts
  • Computer Monitors
  • Calculators
  • Printers/Copiers/Faxes
  • Printer Inks & Accessories
  • Phones (Mobile/Non Mobile)
  • Laptops
  • Digital Cameras
  • Storage Drives
  • Games-Consoles
  • Headphones
  • Books
  • Radios
  • Sound recording or Reproducing Equipment (CD players, Turntables)
  • CDs
  • Memory Cards
  • Electric Toy Trains
  • Billiard/Pool Tables
  • Kids Bikes/scooters
  • Wooden Furniture
  • Plastic Furniture
  • Metal Beds
  • Upholstered Seats
  • Vitamins & Pro Vitamins
  • Whey Protein

There are many more items that will not be liable to customs duty. We have tried to just list a few popular things that people would be buying online.

We obtained the above 0% rates by checking the “Third Country” duty rates listed for the product categories on the EU Access to Markets website.
Our understanding is that these are the rates that will be used on goods coming to the EU from the UK that are classed as NOT originating in the UK.

Please use the figures in this article for information. To the best of our knowledge, it is accurate but do not rely on it when shopping. The final decision on customs duty on a parcel will be made by Irish customs staff.

You can search this list yourself to find out the possible duty rates on other products. (It’s slightly complicated and long-winded to find exactly the items what you want.)


Some examples of the possible Rates of Duty on goods imported into Ireland from the UK with a country of origin outside the UK

Note – The retailer is responsible for identifying the product’s country of origin. So it very possible that some goods might be incorrectly classed as UK made and therefore no duty will be charged. (more likely with smaller retailers)

  • Gold/Silver Jewellery 2%
  • Vacuum Cleaners 2.2%
  • Food Mixer 2.2%
  • Upright Freezer 2.2%
  • Dishwasher 2.7%
  • Hairdryer 2.7%
  • Exercise Equipment 2.7%
  • Golf Clubs 2.7%
  • Electric Drills 2.7%
  • Electronic Thermostat 2.7%
  • Spectacles 2.9%
  • Foam Mattresses 3%
  • Sports Bags 3%
  • Guitars 3.2%
  • Accordians 3.2%
  • Drums 3.2%
  • Fishing Rods 3.7%
  • Nails/Screws/Bolts 3.7%
  • Felt Tip Pens 3.7%
  • Paint Brushes 3.7%
  • Quilts (down) 3.7%
  • Costume Jewellery 4%
  • Leather clothing 4%
  • Telescopes 4.2%
  • Stuffed Toys 4.7%
  • Floor Lamp 4.7%
  • Tennis Racquets 4.7%
  • Plastic Suitcase 5.2%
  • Microwave 5%
  • Sewing Machines 5.7%
  • Brassieres 6.5%
  • Baby clothes (cotton) 10.5%
  • Bed Linen 12%
  • Clothing – mostly 12%
  • LED/LCD Televisions 14%
  • Sports Shoes (non leather ) 16.9%
  • Leather soled shoes 17%

Obviously, there are hundreds of possible items – we have just listed a small selection.

Even on those goods where import duty applies – it is important to remember that Only orders with an intrinsic value over €150 will be liable to Irish customs duty.

(Intrinsic Value is the value before delivery charges, handling and insurance.)


If an order is liable for customs duty – it is applied to the total value of the order including delivery charges, insurance and handling charges.

VAT is applied to the total price including duty..


We obtained the above duty rates by using the “Third Country” duty rates listed for the product category on the EU Access to Markets website.
Our understanding is that these will be the rates used on goods coming from the UK that are classed as NOT originating in the UK


If an order is liable for customs duty – it is applied to the total value of the order including delivery charges, insurance and handling charges.

VAT is applied to the total price including duty.

How do Customs Convert Sterling to Euro for Valuation?

Irish Customs use the Sterling to Euro exchange rate 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 .
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.

Admin Charges if You Have to Pay VAT or Duty on Delivery.

An Post says they charge 1% of the value of the parcel, with a maximum charge of €10. (Used to be minimum of €10 but was altered on Jan 11th). But – it looks like they are charging a flat €3.50 per package.

FEDEX – Charge 2.5% of the Taxes and Duties . Min €15.

DHL Express – Charge 2.5% of the Taxes and Duties . Min €14.50.


If you want to avoid any worries about extra duty or VAT – here is a website that lists some Irish and EU shopping websites.

This article does not constitute legal or tax advice and is for information purposes only.

19 thoughts on “Irish Customs Duty on Online Purchases

  1. Absolutely brilliant information, thanks for clarifying alot of misinformation in the Press

  2. Thank you. I have saved entire article for referencing when buying online. Excellent advice.

    • THanks.
      We will be updating it with any changes as and when they happen – so don’t rely on an old copy.

  3. I am a business, previously purchasing from amazon would be vat free, now I pay the “import charges”
    can I claim back this with my vat returns?

  4. Good Article.
    Slightly confused still – do i or do i not have to pay duty on a bicycle purchased from the UK, but not originated from the UK? Possibly originated in loose components from China and assembled in the Uk?

    Thanks

    • Hi – we found something on a cycling website that mentioned at least 50% of the components have to be from UK for it to be classed as UK made
      (That info may or may not be current figures – but it sounds about right.)
      If it’s not classed as originating in the UK (by the retailer) – and it’s over €15 then there will be duty to pay.

  5. What is the extra charges with buying a second hand iphone on eBay uk.
    Thanks

    • Phones coming from outside the EU have no duty charges .
      If ebay are calculating the Irish VAT ok then there should be nothing extra to pay.

  6. Hi I purchase model action figures from uk sites ranging in prices from £150 – £350 plus in prices , country of origin of these figures would be China Hong Kong ,would be interested charges that would now be incurred due to brexit

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