Buying goods online for personal use

Buying goods from outside the European Union (EU), including the UK


From 1 January 2021,  the United Kingdom (UK) is no longer a member of the European Union (EU). If you buy goods from the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) from 1 January 2021, you may incur charges that are outlined in this page.

If you buy goods for personal use from outside the EU, you may have to pay:

  • Customs Duty
  • Excise Duty
  • Anti-Dumping Duty
  • Countervailing Duty
  • Value-Added Tax (VAT).


From 1 July 2021, import VAT is payable on all goods entering the EU, irrespective of their value. The VAT relief for consignments of €22 or less was removed from 1 July 2021. VAT will always be collected, irrespective of the amount due. If you ordered goods valued at €22 or less before 1 July 2021, that arrive after that date, you may have to pay VAT.

Relief from Customs Duty on goods bought from outside the EU

If your goods have an intrinsic value (the value of the goods alone excluding transport, insurance and handling charges) of more than €150 you will have to pay Customs Duty.

These monetary limits apply to the whole consignment, not just one item. You must pay the above duties where applicable.

How to calculate what you owe when buying goods online from outside the EU

Customs Duty

The customs value on which Customs Duty is calculated is the cost of the goods plus:

  • transport (including postage)
  • any insurance
  • and
  • any handling charges

to deliver the goods to the EU.

The rate of Customs Duty that applies depends on the goods you import. You can find all the rates in the TARIC database.

Excise Duty

Excise Duty is payable on alcohol and tobacco products and is separate from Customs Duty. Different rates of Excise Duty apply to different goods. Please see Alcohol Products Tax and Tobacco Products Tax for further information.

Anti-Dumping Duty and Countervailing Duty

These are extra import duties imposed on goods in addition to the normal duties that apply. The purpose of these charges is to prevent cheap imports from countries with lower material and labour costs damaging EU industry. You can check if your goods are affected by Anti-Dumping or Countervailing duties in the TARIC database.


VAT is payable on goods at the rate that would apply if they were bought in Ireland. The value of the goods for calculating the VAT is the customs value (described above) plus:

  • any duty or other tax (excluding VAT) payable
  • and
  • any transport, insurance or handling costs after the goods arrive in the EU.

The following examples show how to calculate what you owe on goods when you buy online from outside of the EU. These examples are not exhaustive. However, they provide a range of goods and duty rates. The method of calculation can be applied to any goods. Some websites may include duty and tax in their prices.

Next: Buying goods from a European Union (EU) country