Thursday, 27 January 2022
Department of Finance
Customs and Excise
172. To ask the Minister for Finance when the decision was made that An Post would recoup VAT charges (details supplied); if this service was tendered to other service providers; the rationale behind these additional costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4003/22]
I am advised by Revenue that across the European Union, electronic Customs import declarations are now required for all consignments coming from non-EU countries including those coming through the postal system regardless of the value of the goods being sent. This includes consignments coming from the UK. The requirement for electronic import declarations for postal consignments came into force on the 1 July 2021. This is an EU requirement across all Member States and is necessary to protect public health, to ensure food safety and product standards and to protect EU businesses from unfair international competition thus preserving jobs for European workers including Irish workers.
Consignments from outside the EU cannot be delivered to the importer without the submission of an electronic Customs declaration and the payment of any taxes and duties due. The importer may complete these procedures themselves but generally, private individual importers appoint a representative such as a courier company or a postal operator to complete these Customs procedures on their behalf. It is this representative who becomes liable for the Customs debt at the point of import.
These representatives do not act on behalf of, nor do they collect the relevant taxes and duties on behalf of Revenue, but rather they act on the behalf of the importer and assist the importer in the clearance of their goods imported from outside the European Union. As this is a commercial arrangement between the importer and the representative, the matter of a tender process doesn’t arise.
The rate of Customs Duty which is owed is dependent on the origin and type of goods contained within the consignment. The rate of VAT applied is the rate which would be applied for the supply of similar goods in Ireland.