Revenue warns online shoppers of price increase due to VAT change

Products bought for less than €22 from outside EU will be subject to VAT from July 1st

Revenue has issued a warning to online shoppers about an upcoming tax change that will make it more expensive to buy smaller items from outside the European Union.

From the beginning of July, an exemption that waived VAT payments on non-EU purchases under €22 will end. Goods bought online from outside the EU, including from Britain, will be subject to the same VAT rates applicable if the product had been bought within the trading bloc.

The new rules will apply to all goods delivered from outside the European Union after July 1st, even if the transaction occurred online before then.

The Europe-wide VAT changes are being introduced after the European Commission sought to end preferential treatment for non-EU imports over purchases made within the EU.

Under existing rules, if the goods purchased in a transaction are worth more than €150, including packaging and delivery, shoppers are expected to pay customs fees, Revenue said.

Maureen Dalton, a principal officer in Revenue's Customs division, warned shoppers that their online purchases may not be delivered until all VAT and other taxes have been paid.

“If you shop online, you need to check whether the advertised price includes all tax and duty costs due before you make your decision to buy the goods concerned,” she said.

“If the supplier is operating a duty paid model, the total price paid for the goods at the time of purchase will generally include Irish VAT and any duties due, meaning no further Revenue charges will arise. However... the consumer must then pay any additional charges to the postal service or parcel operator before the goods are delivered.”

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