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hidden costs

Buying online? Here's what you'll be charged if you're importing from outside the EU

Online shoppers have been warned to watch out for import duties and dodgy websites.

IF YOU PLAN on buying online anytime soon, beware of the hidden costs of importing, the Revenue Commissioners has warned.

Officials raised €2.1 million in duties and VAT from packages coming into Ireland in 2014, with charges applied to 88,280 parcels.

And as this year’s Christmas rush begins, Revenue has reminded online shoppers that packages shipped from outside the European Union are subject to VAT, if their value is over €22.

The tax is charged on the full cost of the parcel, it cautioned, not just the value above the allowance.

Revenue also warned that customs duties are payable on packages worth over €150, depending on the type of goods and their country of origin.

The duty applies to the full value of the goods, as well as the cost of postage, packaging and insurance.

Gifts from outside the EU are exempt from import duties, however, as long as they are valued at under €45.

“In order to qualify for this relief, the gift must be of an occasional nature and sent from one private individual to another,” the tax collection agency said.

Dodgy websites

Revenue also cautioned online shoppers to avoid disreputable websites that undervalue goods in order to avoid taxes.

“This is illegal and shoppers should be aware that, as the importer of the goods, they are legally responsible for ensuring that the information provided is accurate and that all duties and taxes are paid,” it said.

Some websites may also promise delivery from within the EU, which would eliminate any import charges, but are in fact shipping their products from outside the EU.
Where this is the case, the shopper is liable to the duties and VAT.

Revenue advised online buyers that importing a counterfeit product could result in the loss of both your money and the good itself.

The agency added that it detained over 10,000 such items last year, with sports shoes, handbags, cosmetics and watches among the goods most often seized.

Read: The Irish kings of online ‘mystery shoppers’ now with $20m in their coffers

Read: Privacy watchdog ordered to investigate how Facebook uses your data

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