Customs Manual on Import VAT

Revenue eBrief No. 130/21

Customs Manual on Import VAT

The Customs Manual on Import VAT has been updated in relation to:

  • Changes arising due to the introduction of new eCommerce rules effective from 1 July 2021
  • Additional links to further information
  • New AIS codes.

Additional paragraphs have been added on:

  • eCommerce procedures from 1st July 2021 (Paragraph 4.1)
  • Traders importing  merchandise in their baggage (Paragraph 4.2)
  • Motor Vehicles (Paragraph 5.6).

Obsolete material in relation to administrative procedures has been removed, and improvements to the design layout and readability have been made throughout.


4.1 eCommerce

From 1 July 2021, all consignments regardless of their value are subject to VAT at the point of importation. The type of declaration used to release eCommerce consignments into free circulation is dependent on the value and the type of carrier used. The Customs Declarant shall notify the importer of any debt and generally this must be paid to the declarant before they deliver the consignment to the importer. However, importers should ensure the conditions of the commercial arrangement they have entered into as some retailers and platforms will collect the relevant VAT at the point of sale and satisfy the debt at the point of import on the importers behalf. In addition, from 1 July 2021 3rd Country retailers, platforms and electronic interfaces may utilise the Import One Stop Shop to ensure the collection of the relevant VAT debt and ensure its payment to Revenue on behalf of the importer.

Details on the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS), including information about registering for the IOSS, can be found here. Further information for the eCommerce business model (Traders) can be found here.

For further information on the importation of goods for personal use please see the dedicated section of the Revenue website here.

From 1 January 2021 Postponed accounting is the only method of postponing the payment of VAT. Instructions as to the operation of ‘Postponed Accounting’ can be found on here.

4.2 Merchandise in Baggage

Merchandise in baggage means commercial consignments imported by passengers in their own (accompanied) baggage. Where the value of the goods is less than €260, they may be cleared without a Customs Declaration on payment of any Customs duty and/or Import VAT applicable, a receipt on Form C&E 305 being issued. In the case of a VAT registered person only the Customs Duty need be collected, provided an invoice is produced and the importer’s VAT registration number is declared; (any Import VAT should be accounted for in the trader’s next VAT3 return).

From 1 January 2021, Postponed accounting is the only method of postponing the payment of import VAT. Instructions as to the operation of ‘Postponed Accounting’ can be found on our weblink here.

Goods exceeding €1,000 in value must always be entered on a Customs Declaration and any Customs duty or Import VAT paid before the goods are released. All transactions, irrespective of value or registered status, must be recorded in the MIB Register. See Section 11.6 of the Manual on the Control and Examination of Baggage for further information.