Import charges on postal packages

Sir, – Just before Christmas, we received a parcel via An Post from Canada that was a gift from our son and his partner, its declared value was $100 Canadian and postage cost $69.62. The Irish Revenue valued it at €119.40 and charged VAT of €27.46 on the total which includes the postage cost. With the An Post fee of €3.50, we were charged a total of €30.96 before it could be delivered. While I understand the requirement to have customs charges, I feel that in the case of gifts in this value range what we now have is an effective tax on the Irish diaspora who live and work outside the EU. A sizeable number of the Irish living abroad (outside the EU in this case) have been unable to return home for the last two years and instead want to mark Christmas with a small gift, as in this case. What then happens is that the Minister for Finance levies a VAT charge on this consignment, which is basically a gift of emotional rather than material value. Maybe it might be more accurate to call it what it is: a diaspora or emigration tax! – Yours, etc,