Customs charges when shipping goods to Ireland

Customs charges when shipping goods to Ireland
Hugh Corcoran
Hugh CorcoranAn Post Ireland

Posted: Wed 22nd Nov 2023

Like any other country, Ireland has its own set of customs rules and regulations that apply to imported goods. These charges are imposed to protect the local economy, make sure businesses and consumers obey regulations, and collect revenue for the government.

If you're planning to ship goods to Ireland, it's essential that you understand the charges involved. If your customer doesn't pay what they owe, they could face delays, additional charges, and even potential legal issues.

In this blog, we explore the customs charges in Ireland, giving you the knowledge you need to navigate the process smoothly and efficiently.

What are customs charges?

Customs charges are fees (import taxes) applied whenever you bring goods into a country. They are set by the government, and can vary depending on the type of goods involved, how much they're worth, and where they're going.

They are usually collected by customs officials at the border or a port. The amount is calculated based on the customs regulations and the tariff rates that apply. As an importer, you're responsible for understanding these charges and communicating them to your customers to avoid delays.

How do customs charges work in Ireland?

Because Ireland is a member of the European Union (EU), you typically don't pay customs charges on goods you import from other EU countries (although there are some exceptions).

The UK is different, however. Because the UK left the EU in 2021, you now have to pay certain duties and taxes on any goods you bring into Ireland from the UK (or any other non-EU country, for that matter).

What exactly you pay depends on the value of the goods and the specific duties and taxes that apply. The Irish Revenue is responsible for assessing and collecting these charges. The duties and taxes charged include the following:

Customs duty

Customs duty is normally calculated as a percentage of the value of the goods. This value is made up of the price paid for the goods, plus shipping, packaging and insurance costs. The percentage used varies depending on the type of goods, and the country of origin (such as the UK).

However, customs duty can also be based on other elements, such as the goods' weight, number or specific ingredients.

Excise duty

Excise duty is charged on all alcohol, tobacco and oil products. You pay it on top of any customs duty that applies. The amount charged is worked out as follows:

  • Wines and spirits: Based on the volume of alcohol, and whether wine is still or sparkling

  • Cigarettes: Based on a percentage of the recommended retail price, combined with a quantity charge

  • Other tobacco products: Based on the net weight

  • Oil: Based on the type of oil (light oil, heavy oil, liquefied petroleum gas or substitute fuel), and charged per 1,000 litres

You can find information on the current excise duty rates at the Revenue website.


VAT is charged at the point of importation (the point at which the goods enter the country), at the same rate that applies to similar goods sold in Ireland. For VAT purposes, the value of the imported goods is the same as the value used for customs purposes, plus:

  • the amount of any customs duty, anti-dumping duty and excise duty (not including VAT) that applies to the importing of the goods

  • any transport, handling and insurance costs between the place the goods entered the EU and Ireland

  • the cost of transporting the goods to their final destination (if known), at the time they're imported

You can find a detailed list of VAT rates on the Revenue website.

Anti-dumping duty

Imposed by the European Commission, anti-dumping duty protects EU industry from the damage that might be caused by low-priced goods being dumped on the EU market. It's normally charged as a percentage of the value of the goods plus shipping, packaging and insurance.

Countervailing duty

Similar to anti-dumping duty, countervailing duty applies to goods that have benefited from government subsidies in their country of origin or export. As a result, they can be imported into the EU at prices substantially lower than their normal value.

Countervailing duty is usually charged as a percentage of the value of the goods plus shipping, packaging and insurance.

How are customs duty and VAT calculated in Ireland?

In Ireland, customs duty and VAT are calculated based on the following.

Commodity code

The commodity code used for imports is a 10-digit number that corresponds to a description of the goods being imported. Every product has a single commodity code which determines the correct rate of duty.

You can find information about commodity codes in TARIC, a database managed by the European Commission and used by all EU Member States.

This database allows you to search for a commodity code by submitting a description or part description of the product in question. You can also input a tariff code and find information on the duty rate, the product’s description or any restrictions that may apply to the product.

An Post has an online tool you can use to find the right TARIC code for your goods.

Tariff rate

Once you've classified your goods according to the commodity code, you next need to determine the tariff rate. This is a percentage of your goods' value, set by Revenue's customs authorities.

The tariff rate varies depending on factors such as the country of origin and the type of goods you're importing. To find the specific tariff rate for your goods, you can visit the Tariff Classification section of the Revenue website.

To calculate the customs duty you must pay, you multiply the value of the goods by the tariff rate. For example, if your goods are valued at €100 and the tariff rate is 5%, you would pay customs duty of €5.

VAT rate

The standard rate of VAT in Ireland is currently 23%. To work out the VAT, you add the customs duty amount to the value of the item and multiply the total by the VAT rate.

For example, if the goods are valued at €100 and the customs duty due is €5, the VAT would be €25.30 (€105 x 23%).

How are customs charges paid?

Once your customer has worked out the customs duty, VAT and any other charges for your goods entering Ireland, the final step is to pay them.

To pay these import taxes, they'll complete a customs declaration form and submit it to Revenue. On the form, they'll provide details about the imported goods, such as their description, quantity, value and country of origin.

After completing the customs declaration, they submit it, along with the necessary payment, to Revenue. If you're sending goods through the post, your customer will be able to pay the charges through An Post, the national postal service.

It's important to know that if you're shipping goods through a courier company, they may calculate and pay the customs charges on your behalf. You should confirm this with your chosen courier company beforehand.


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Hugh Corcoran
Hugh CorcoranAn Post Ireland

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