Black Friday Warning! Irish shoppers warned about how buying online goods could result in being hit with big tax bill

Revenue reminded shoppers that they should be aware about unanticipated charges

Online shoppers believing they have bagged a bargain could be in for a shock when they are hit a big tax bill.

Revenue reminded shoppers that they should be aware that while the price of goods advertised online can seem attractively low, this may be because tax and duty has not been included.

Where the shopper buys the goods at the advertised price, they may then be liable for additional unanticipated charges when the goods arrive in Ireland.

Maureen Dalton, Principal Officer in Revenue’s Customs Division stressed that online shoppers should be alert to the additional charges that can apply once the goods they buy arrive in the country.

She said: “Almost all goods arriving from non-EU countries will be liable to tax and duty, and so online shoppers should make sure to check whether the advertised price includes this additional cost before they make their decision to buy the goods concerned.”

She said that this reminder is particularly timely in the run up to one of the busiest times of the year for ordering gifts and goods online.

Last year, Revenue officers in postal depots around the country applied charges to more than 92,000 parcels and packets. The average charge per parcel was €67.60.

Ms Dalton added: “If goods have a customs value, including cost, transport, insurance and handling charges, of more than €22 you will have to pay VAT.

“If your goods alone cost more than €150 you will have to pay Customs Duty plus VAT.

“This means, for example, that an item of clothing bought online from the US, at an equivalent cost of €175, could cost an additional €76.08 in Customs Duty, insurance and handling fees.

“When you buy alcohol and tobacco products online from outside the EU, VAT, Customs Duty along with Excise Duty, are payable, regardless of the value of your purchase.

“And while almost all goods arriving from non-EU countries will be liable to tax and duty, sometimes goods arriving from another EU Member State can also be liable to additional charges, such as Excise Duty and VAT.

“For example, the Excise Duty and VAT on an average case of 12 bottles of wine, originating in another EU country, could add up to €61.78 to your purchase price.”

Ms Dalton also said shoppers should be aware that counterfeit goods are seized by Revenue at the point of importation.

In 2018, Revenue seized counterfeit goods worth in excess of €3 million. Fake clothing, runners, handbags and mobile devices are among the counterfeit goods most commonly seized by Revenue.

She added: “Some deals really are just too good to be true and what looks like an good decision to buy, can ultimately be an expensive, or even dangerous, decision.”