PN 1179 - Relief from Customs Duty and VAT on gift consignments and consignments of negligible value imported from outside the European Union (EU)

Guide to Reliefs available for the receipt from non-EU countries of:

  • Consignments containing items of Negligible Value, and
  • Gifts

1. Introduction

When goods are imported into, or received in Ireland, from a country outside the European Union (EU) they are liable to import charges (Customs Duty, Anti-Dumping, Countervailing and Excise Duties where applicable and VAT) at the point of importation. However, in certain cases relief from import charges arises because :

This Guide outlines the relief available, how it may be obtained and the procedures which apply in order to obtain it.

It is important to note that there are separate reliefs available for travellers who wish to import goods with them on return from abroad and these differ from those described below. Full details of reliefs for travellers are set out in the Information leaflet for Travellers arriving in Ireland from non-EC Countries who are importing goods purchased for personal use.

2. Non-collection of Small Amounts of Import Charges

Where the customs duty on a consignment of goods amounts to less than €10 it will not be collected. Similarly, VAT liability amounting to less than or equal to €6 will not be collected. No similar rule applies in the case of excise duty which will always be collected if the goods are liable to excise duty.

3. Consignments of Negligible Value

Consignments not exceeding an intrinsic value of €150 may be imported without payment of Customs Duty. (Intrinsic value is the value of the goods alone, and does not include insurance and freight).  Consignments not exceeding a total customs value of €22 may be imported without payment of VAT. (Customs value is the value of the goods plus insurance and freight (which includes postage costs (CIF value)). However, it should be noted in particular that there is no relief (from Customs Duty, VAT or Excise duty) under this negligible value provision for importations of tobacco, tobacco products, alcohol products, perfumes or toilet waters irrespective of their value.

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4. Gift Consignments

4.1 General

Relief from payment of Customs Duty and VAT is allowed on gifts consigned to an individual living in Ireland, from outside of the EU, provided the Customs value (this is the value of the goods plus insurance and freight (which includes postage) costs (CIF value)) of the goods does not exceed €45. (In the case of tobacco products, alcohol products, perfumes or toilet waters the relief is confined to Customs Duty only, and only provided a quantitative limit is not exceeded - see: 4.3. Gift Relief).

4.2 Conditions

Relief from payment of Customs Duty and VAT is allowed on gift consignments from outside of the EU. Where the following conditions are met:

  1. The customs value of the gift does not exceed €45.
  2. The gift is correctly declared (see: 5. Procedure at Importation).
  3. It has been sent from a private person abroad to another private person within the EU
  4. The gift is for the personal or family use of a private individual in Ireland.
  5. There is no commercial or trade element i.e. the goods have not been paid for.
  6. Alcohol, tobacco products, perfumes or toilet waters are within the allowances set out in 4.3. Gift Relief (no relief from VAT or Excise Duty). Anything over those allowances is liable to charges.
  7. The gift is of an occasional nature only, such as a birthday or anniversary.

4.3 Gift relief – quantitative restriction on gifts of Tobacco Products, Alcohol Products, Perfume and Toilet Waters

Relief from Customs Duty only (i.e. no excise duty relief and no VAT relief) is allowed on gift consignments of alcohol products, tobacco products, perfumes or toilet waters. However, to qualify for relief, such consignments must comply with the conditions set out in 4.2. Conditions and be within the following allowances:

Quantitative restriction on gifts of Tobacco Products, Alcohol Products, Perfume and Toilet Waters
Type of Goods Allowances
Tobacco Products
  • 50 cigarettes; or
  • 25 cigarillos (cigars with a maximum individual weight of 3 gms); or
  • 10 cigars; or
  • 50 gms of tobacco; or
  • a proportional assortment of the different products.
Alcohol Products
  • 1 litre of distilled beverages and spirits over 22% volume; or
  • 1 litre of fortified or sparkling wine, and some liqueurs of 22% volume or less; and
  • 2 litres of still wines.
Perfume and toilet waters
  • 50 gms of perfume; or
  • 0.25 litres of toilet water.

Reminder: It is important to be aware that there is no relief from VAT or Excise duty on the above products, irrespective of their value.

4.4 More than one item in a "gift" consignment

Where a consignment consists of two or more items of an aggregate value exceeding €45, relief will still be given for those items the total value of which does not exceed this amount. However, it is important to understand that the value of an individual item cannot be split up.

4.5 Flat rate of Customs Duty for gifts

Where the intrinsic value of a gift consignment does not exceed €700, a flat rate of 2.5% customs duty may be applied rather than the rates of Customs Duty normally applicable to the individual items. (Note: This flat rate applies to Customs Duty only, not to VAT or excise duty). In calculating whether or not the €700 limit is exceeded the following should be excluded:

  • the value of any individual item(s) which qualify under the €45 gift relief allowance;
  • the value of any items where the rate of duty applicable to the item is "free" or zero and
  • the value of tobacco products.

Where the €700 limit is exceeded the "normal" rates of Customs Duty apply to the individual items in the consignment (subject to exclusion of any items qualifying under the €45 gift relief provision). The table below provides a number of illustrative examples:

Illustrative examples
No. and Value of Items Duties payable on importation
One item valued at €45 Relief granted on total amount.
One item valued at €55 Customs Duty (normal rate or 2.5% flat rate) and VAT payable on total amount.
Five items valued at €10 each Four items relieved in full. One item subject to Customs Duty (normal rate or 2.5% flat rate) and VAT on its full value (in this case, €10).
One item valued at €710 Customs Duty at the normal rate and VAT payable on the full Customs value amount at the normal rate of duty.

4.6 Conditions applicable to the flat-rate of duty for gifts

  • The flat rate of duty is only applicable where the importations are not of a commercial nature.
  • A flat rate assessment should not be applied to tobacco products or to goods for which the rate of duty is "free" or zero, and such goods should be excluded when calculating whether the €700 limit has been exceeded.
  •  The importer may opt to have the goods charged at the relevant tariff rate(s) applicable to the individual items (although in practice this is unlikely to arise as the 2.5% rate will normally be more beneficial to the importer). 

5. Procedure at Importation

Gift

The Customs Declaration Form on the relative parcel, if sent by post, should be marked "Gift" or "Present" in addition to giving the details normally required.

If imported using a Customs Entry (SAD) or on the AEP (Automated Entry Processing) system, the goods should be declared as a gift at importation on the Customs Entry.

Code C08 should be entered in box 37 (b) of the SAD or on the AEP System in order to avail of the relief from Customs Duty and VAT in respect of gifts not exceeding €45 in value.

Where the dutiable element of the consignment is not greater than €700 in value, and the importer wishes to avail of the flat rate of duty, code 1C1 should be entered in box 37 (b) of the SAD or on the AEP System.

Consignments of Negligible Value

The Customs Declaration Form on the relative parcel, if sent by post, should be marked "Negligible Value" and state the value of the goods in question, in addition to giving the details normally required.

If imported using a SAD or on the AEP System, the goods should be declared as a consignment of negligible value. Code C07 should be entered in box 37 (b) of the SAD or on the AEP System in order to avail of the relief from Customs Duty and VAT that applies to consignments of negligible value.

6. How Various Types of Duty, Chargeable at Importation, are Calculated

The rate and type of duty charged will depend on the type of goods being imported and will include one or more of the following:

Duty Types
Type of Duty Description
Customs Duty This is normally charged as a percentage of the customs value. The percentage varies depending on the type of goods and their country of origin. Duty is charged on the price paid for the goods plus insurance and freight (which includes postage) costs. Further information on rates of duty can be obtained from TARICExternal link or by e-mailing tarclass@revenue.ie
Excise Duty This is charged on alcohol and tobacco products and is in addition to Customs Duty. The Excise Duty on wines and spirits depends on the volume of alcohol and whether wine is still or sparkling. Excise Duty on cigarettes is based on a percentage of the recommended retail price combined with a quantity charge whilst that on other tobacco products is based on the net weight. Information on the current rates of Excise Duty is available in Schedule of Excise Duties.
Value Added Tax VAT at the point of importation is charged at the same rate that applies to similar goods sold in this country. The value of the goods for the purpose of calculating the amount of VAT payable at import is their value for customs purposes, described above, increased by the amount of any duty or other tax (but not including VAT) payable. Where customs duty is payable, but not collected because amount is less than €10 (as described in 2. Non-collection of Small Amounts of Import Charges), this amount will be included in the value of the goods for the purpose of calculating the amount of VAT payable at import. Further information can be obtained from your Local Revenue Office. Alternatively, a detailed list of VAT rates is available.

7. Further Information

Further information may be obtained from:
Corporate Affairs and Customs Division,
Customs Procedures Branch,
Government Offices,
Nenagh,
Co. Tipperary.
E-mail: customsreliefs@revenue.ie

January 2014

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