Revenue warns online shoppers

In the run-up to Christmas the Revenue Commissioners have offered some timely advice for online shoppers who may be tempted by the apparent bargains on offer online.

The trend towards online purchasing – particularly online wine shopping – has been particularly strong in Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands and Spain mostly thanks to the price and the convenience factor as an alternative to traditional retailers.

But if the price of the goods advertised online seems low, this may be because tax and duty have not been accounted for, suggests Revenue.

“However, once your goods arrive in the State, you’re liable for the additional charges and non-payment can result in your goods being seized.”

During 2016 Revenue officers in postal depots around the country applied charges averaging €28.70 to more than 76,000 packages and Revenue is reminding online shoppers to be conscious of the additional charges that can apply once their purchases arrive in the country.

Almost all goods arriving from non-EU countries will be liable to tax and duty.

If goods have a customs value (including cost, transport, insurance and handling charges) of more than €22, consumers have to pay VAT.

If goods cost more than €150, consumers will have to pay Customs Duty and VAT.

“This means, for example, that a branded mobile phone bought online from the US could cost an additional €250 in Customs Duty, insurance, VAT and handling fees,” states Revenue, adding, “When you buy alcohol and tobacco products online, the above duties, along with Excise Duty, are payable, regardless of the value of your purchase.”

And Revenue has also pointed out that online goods arriving from another EU Member State can also be liable to additional charges.

“While a case of wine for sale online at €60 might look like a great deal, if the price is low, tax and duty have probably not been paid and Revenue may seize the wine on arrival.

“Excise Duty and VAT on an average case of 12 bottles of wine originating in another EU country could add up to €60 to your purchase, bringing the price you actually pay to €120.

“Some deals really are just too good to be true” concludes Revenue, “and what looks like an attractive offer can ultimately be an expensive or even dangerous mistake.”


If businesses or members of the public have any information regarding the smuggling or sale of illicit alcohol, tobacco products or counterfeit goods they can contact Revenue in confidence on free phone number 1800 295 295.



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