When is VAT payable on importation?

Value-Added Tax (VAT) is payable at the point of importation into the State.

Imported goods are liable to VAT at the same rate as applies to similar goods sold within the State. For example, goods which are zero-rated on sale within the State are zero-rated at importation.

There are exceptions to this general rule in relation to certain works of art, collectors’ items and antiques. A complete list of these goods can be found in Schedule 5 of the VAT Consolidation Act, 2010.

VAT and Customs Duty is payable at the point of importation. However, in practice, most traders have a deferred payment account. In such cases, the amount due is not debited from a trader's TAN account until the 15th of the month following importation.

VAT registered traders who import goods may use postponed accounting arrangements. This enables VAT registered traders to account for VAT on imports on their VAT3 Return. Please see the page on 'Postponed accounting' in this section for further information.

How is the VAT liability on imported goods calculated?

The value of imported goods for the purpose of VAT is their value for Customs purposes increased by:

  • the amount of any Customs Duty, Anti-dumping Duty and Excise Duty (excluding VAT) payable in relation to their importation
  • any transport, handling and insurance costs between the place of introduction into the European Union (EU) and the State
  • onward transportation costs to the place of final destination, if known, at the time of importation.

Input credit in your VAT return for VAT on imported goods

A VAT registered trader is entitled to take credit for VAT paid on goods imported for the purposes of their business. You must claim this credit in your return in the taxable VAT period concerned, subject to the normal restrictions.

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