Key Post Importing consumer goods from the UK post Brexit

Brendan Burgess

Founder
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44,150
I know very little about this, so I am drafting this FAQ/Key Post with my understanding of the current situation.

This is for individuals buying personal stuff from the UK. Any questions about imports for business in this thread will be deleted.

Importing cars merits a separate thread.

Any links to good guides or the rules would be most welcome.

I want to identify
1) The right way to do it
2) The practical way of doing it if the UK company won't sell to Ireland
3) What constitutes smuggling and tax evasion
 
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Brendan Burgess

Founder
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44,150
The right way to do it.

A UK company selling to a customer in the Republic of Ireland should not charge VAT.
The Irish customer should pay VAT when they import the item.
There is no customs or import duties. (Is this correct?)



Is there a threshold below which I don't need to pay VAT?
Until 1 July 2021, any goods imported from the UK with a value of €22 or less is exempt from VAT.
From 1 July, there is no threshold.

How do I pay the VAT?
In practice, if a UK company posts me something and does not charge VAT, how do I actually pay it?

From https://www.revenue.ie/en/importing...sonal-use/how-to-pay-your-import-charges.aspx

How to pay your import charges​

  • For goods being imported by post:
    • An Post will communicate directly with you, the importer.
    • The import charges owed may be shown on a customs docket attached to your package.
    • You may be contacted by An Post through a customs charge notification card which may include contacts through SMS or email.
  • For goods being imported by courier:
    • The courier will calculate the amount of charges you owe.
    • Most couriers pay the import charges directly to Revenue on your behalf and recoup the import charges from you.
You must pay these charges to An Post or the courier before they will release your goods to you.

What if An Post or the courier don't charge me anything?
 
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Brendan Burgess

Founder
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44,150
What if the UK company won't deliver to Ireland because of the hassle?

The simplest thing to do is to see if you can buy the item in Ireland or in another EU country. The seller will charge you VAT and you don't need to worry about anything.

They can deliver it to a friend of yours in Northern Ireland and you can collect it from them. They will charge UK VAT on it.

While this is technically incorrect, it seems to me to a practical solution and as you are paying VAT to someone, I don't consider it evasion.

I would consider this ok for an occasional import.
 
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Brendan Burgess

Founder
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44,150
What would constitute smuggling or tax evasion?

Trying to evade paying VAT anywhere would be smuggling.

For example, registering for VAT in Northern Ireland so that the UK company could sell it to you without charging VAT would be evasion. Unless you paid VAT on it bringing it into the Republic.
 
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Brendan Burgess

Founder
Messages
44,150
Other issues

What if I buy something secondhand from an individual on eBay?

What if I buy something on a holiday in the UK?

What if the UK company charges UK VAT will An Post charge me Irish VAT as well?
 
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Leo

Moderator
Messages
12,621
I received an Post's flyer on 'New VAT and customs rules for online shopping' this morning. In it they mention having worked with the major online retailers to ensure that VAT and customs charges are applied at the checkout so that no further action or payment will be required by the recipient. They include a link to their list of retailers, I was somewhat surprised to see that list only includes Marks & Spencers, Sweaty Betty, & L'Occitane!!
 
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