Customs collects over €34,000 from ex-US festive shoppers

Significant rise in Vat, duty and penalties paid by passengers at Dublin and Shannon Airports

Duty, Vat and penalties of just over €34,355 on goods to the value of almost €50,000 was collected at Dublin and Shannon Airports from passengers on US flights from the November 1st up to three days before Christmas this year.  Photograph: Kate Geraghty/The Irish Times

Duty, Vat and penalties of just over €34,355 on goods to the value of almost €50,000 was collected at Dublin and Shannon Airports from passengers on US flights from the November 1st up to three days before Christmas this year. Photograph: Kate Geraghty/The Irish Times

 

Tax collected from Christmas shoppers arriving to Dublin and Shannon Airports from the US almost doubled this year, according to the latest figures from the Revenue Commissioners.

Duty, Vat and penalties of just over €34,355 on goods to the value of almost €50,000 was collected from passengers on US flights from the November 1st up to three days before Christmas this year.

Over a longer period last year, from November 1st to December 31st, just over €18,134 was charged to passengers coming from the US on goods worth considerably more – in excess of €104,329.

Differences in the amount of duty gathered occur when passengers exceed their individual allowances for particular goods. Tighter limits are imposed on spirits than on wine or beer.

Tobacco products have different limits depending on whether cigarettes or cigars were bought.

Limits on other goods such as gifts, souvenirs, perfume and clothing have been set at €430 for an adult or €215 for a child under 15 years.

Shopping blitz

The annual Christmas shopping blitz this year resulted in the collection of more cash from passengers with bulging bags coming from the US than at the height of the boom.

In 2007, searches by Customs officers of luggage from US flights at Irish airports in the run up to Christmas resulted in the collection of just over €30,000 in Vat and duty payments.

However, the allowance was lower at that time, with travellers returning from the US allowed to bring home goods worth up to €175 before they had to declare their purchases.

Considerably greater sums were levied on online and other postal purchases made this year. While the figures relate to the entire year and not just the run up to Christmas, customs charges at the country’s main postal centres have exceeded €2 million already this year.

More than half that sum, €1.3 million, came from packages processed at the Portlaoise mail centre, where larger parcels – those over 2kg in weight – are handled.

In the region of 24,560 packages in Portlaoise attracted charges. Most were clothing, followed by mechanical and car or bicycle parts, cosmetics, digital products, sports equipment, novelties or shoes.

Packages under 2kg are processed at the Dublin mail centre, where charges of just under €570,000 were levied on 36,560 parcels. These were mainly mobile phones, tablet computers, cosmetics and electronic products.

The remaining charges were mostly levied on goods checked at the Athlone mail centre, which dealt with 14,000 packages - mainly containing cosmetics, clothing and DVDs.