Regular readers of our news wall will know all about the advantages of online shopping, particularly when voucher codes are applied. However, it seems that every silver lining also has a cloud – and if you are ordering items online you must be careful not to fall into the tax trap.
That’s because Ireland and the Post Office are clamping down on imports – and you could pay a sizeable tax on your goods unless you’re careful.
Ordered a DVD box-set or another item from an online store? You may be stung with sizeable charges that make the purchase more expensive than it would have been on the high street.
Take for example the case of Aoife. She ordered an NCIS DVD from Play.com, only to find that when it was delivered she was asked to pay an additional €18.18 to receive it. That’s because Play.com, as well as other major online retailers, including HMV and Zavvi, base themselves from the Channel Islands – which are outside the European Union. As such, deliveries from there could be subject to VAT and importation tax.
What was even more disconcerting for Aoife was that the postman informed her that the sorting office is now actively looking for Play.com wrappers as a fast way to raise income.
What are the rules? *
If you’re unfamiliar with import and taxation rules in Ireland, here is a quick summary for personal items.
You can buy most items online or via mail order from outside the EU, up to a value of €22 without incurring any VAT charges. Goods up to a value of €150 also avoid customs duty as long as the value is clearly marked on the packaging. However, VAT and import duty will be charged on imports of tobacco, tobacco products, alcohol products and perfumes that cost less than €22.
All other online items that cost more than €22 face VAT charges – and if your online purchase costs more than €150 you’ll face both VAT and customs duty. This will usually be charged by the company that delivers the parcel – and there is likely to be an additional administrative charge too.
How can you avoid the charges?
The best way to avoid being stung is to read carefully where shipments will be made from – there are certainly plenty of online retailers that will ship from within the EU, such as Amazon Ireland. Check out the terms and conditions as methods of delivery may vary from company to company.
If you’re likely to face a charge however, then weigh up whether it’s worth paying. Chances are that if you apply a voucher code on your item you may still find it is cheaper online than buying on the high street.
* See here for full details on Citizeninformation.ie
Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash