Shopping online from a UK business post Brexit - Crowe Ireland

Shopping online from a UK business post Brexit

Shopping online from a UK business post Brexit - Crowe Ireland

From 1 January 2021 the United Kingdom is no longer a member of the European Union and after that date, if you buy goods from the UK for personal use (excluding Northern Ireland), you may have to pay customs, excise duties and VAT.

When you buy online, you have additional protections under EU law. These rights do not apply if you buy from a trader based outside the EU.

From 1 January 2021, you will still have consumer rights when buying online from UK retailers. However, these rights will be set down in UK law and not EU law. The legal guarantees you have under EU law may no longer apply.

You should follow this advice from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) before you buy from a UK retailer:

1. Check the location of the business
Find out where the business is located. Do not rely on the website name, for example .ie, or .eu or that prices are displayed in Euro.
Check the terms and conditions (T&C’s), privacy policy or contact us pages of the website for either:

  • A physical address for the business
  • Information on where orders are shipped from (this should be in the ‘Deliveries’ section under the company’s T&Cs)

2. Check the small print
Read the terms and conditions on the website. Make sure you understand your rights around:

  • Returning the item if you change your mind (and whether the business covers the cost of returns)
  • Cancelling the order before it is dispatched

Before you buy, check if the business has included any Irish VAT or customs charges in the final price. If not, then you may have to cover the costs on delivery of your items – see ‘Taxes and other charges’.

You can use the CCPC's Brexit checklist (pdf) of things to note when shopping online.

Taxes and other charges
You should be aware that from 1 January 2021, you may have to pay taxes and duties such as customs duty and VAT when you buy from a UK business (except Northern Ireland). Whether or not you must pay additional charges depends on the value and origin of the products you bought - see table below.

The EU and UK have agreed a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (pdf) (the Brexit Trade Deal) that covers customs charges when buying goods from the UK. However, the deal only applies to products coming into Ireland that are manufactured or originate in the UK and comply with the rules of origin. This means that you may still have to pay customs duty on some items bought online in the UK and delivered to Ireland.

The Brexit Trade Deal does not impact on VAT. You may have to pay VAT on purchases from the UK from 1 January 2021.
Find out what VAT and import charges you will have to pay before ordering from a UK site. The table below is a guide, however if you are not sure check with the retailer before you buy.

The value limits below are for the whole delivery, not just one item.

VAT and UK Sales to Irish Customers post July 2021

  • The EU €22 exemption on import VAT is being removed from July 1st 2021 and
  • Online marketplaces (such as Amazon) are being made responsible for collecting EU VAT on all orders under €150 from July 1st
 Value limits  Taxes and charges due  More information
 Packages valued €22 or less  You do not have to pay any additional import charges.  Value is based on customs value. This means the cost of the item(s) plus transport, insurance and handling charges.
 Packages valued more than €22  

You have to pay VAT at the same rate that applies if they were bought in Ireland (the standard rate of VAT for most items is currently 21%).

This is the case even if you are charged UK VAT on your purchase. 
 Packages valued more than €150  

You may also have to pay customs duty

  • You may not have to pay customs duty on products that are manufactured or originate in the UK.
  • You may have to pay customs duty if the products are manufactured/originate outside the UK. The rate of duty depends on the category of product.
 Value is based on intrinsic value. This means the cost of the items alone, excluding transport, insurance and handling charges.

Revenue has a list of examples showing how to calculate what you owe on items you buy online from outside of the EU.

If you return the item
If you return an item, you may be able to get a refund of any Customs Duty and VAT you paid.
How you apply for a refund depends on how you paid the charges.

  1. You paid directly to the retailer at point of sale: you will usually apply for and receive these as part of your overall refund from the retailer.
  2. You paid to the postal service or courier company on delivery: you should apply to the postal service or courier company directly for a refund.

Remember to keep proof that you returned the item.

If you or your business needs any assistance with cross border trade, please contact a member of our tax team.

Contact us:

Grayson Buckley, Partner, Tax - Crowe Ireland
Grayson Buckley
Partner, Tax
John Byrne, Partner, Tax - Crowe Ireland
John Byrne
Partner, Tax
Lisa Kinsella, Partner, Tax - Crowe Ireland
Lisa Kinsella
Partner, Tax