Important reminder for online shoppers

Today, (20/11/2023), Revenue issued a timely reminder to online shoppers that, where the price of goods advertised online seems attractively low, this may be because tax and duty has not been included in the price advertised, or because the goods may be counterfeit.

Customs duties and import VAT charges do not apply when ordering goods from Ireland or other EU countries online, however, almost all goods arriving from non-EU countries will be liable to import tax and duties. Consumers also need to remember that parcel operators typically charge a separate administration fee. Where the price advertised is not inclusive of these costs, additional charges may apply once the goods arrive in Ireland.

Speaking about the additional charges which may arise when buying goods online from non-EU countries Ms. Maureen Dalton, Head of Revenue’s South East Frontier Management Branch, advised:

“All goods will be liable to VAT, whilst goods with a customs value of more than €150 will be liable to both Customs Duty and VAT. This means, for example, that an item of clothing bought online from the US or UK, at an equivalent cost of €250, could cost in the region of €97 extra for Customs Duty, VAT, insurance, and handling fees.

Before deciding to buy goods online, shoppers should therefore check whether the advertised price includes any taxes, duties or administrative fees applicable. This will ensure that they are not faced with unexpected charges on delivery.

Consumers should also be aware that a ‘.ie’ domain name does not necessarily mean that the seller is based in Ireland. Shoppers can check where a business is based by reading through the ‘About’, ‘Contact us’ and ‘Terms and Conditions’ sections of its website.”

Consumers should also be aware that counterfeit goods are seized by Revenue at the point of importation.  During the course of 2022, Revenue seized counterfeit goods worth almost €5.8 million.

Commenting on the risks associated with counterfeit goods, Ms. Dalton cautioned:

“Imitation brand clothing, runners, handbags and mobile devices are among the counterfeit goods most commonly seized by Revenue. Some of these goods are not subject to regulation in the country where they are made and are often of a poor quality, which fails to conform with accepted safety standards.

Shoppers should therefore take care when purchasing goods online, both from a health and safety perspective, and from the perspective of making sure that they don’t suffer a financial loss when the goods they purchase are seized because they are counterfeit.”

Summarising her advice to consumers, Ms Dalton concluded:

“When shopping online, shoppers should be mindful that some deals are too good to be true, and what looks like a good decision to buy can ultimately be an expensive, or even dangerous one.” 

Further information on tax and duty charges that may arise on goods bought online for personal use can be found on the Revenue website, which is accessible here. Additionally, if any businesses or members of the public have information regarding the smuggling or sale of counterfeit goods, they can contact Revenue in confidence on free phone number 1800 295 295

ENDS [20/11/2023]