VAT – Trade between Ireland and Great Britain

Importing from Great Britain

For Value-Added Tax (VAT) purposes, imports are goods arriving into the European Union (EU) VAT area. The EU VAT area includes Northern Ireland but excludes Great Britain (GB).

VAT on import

In general, VAT is payable at the point of importation into Ireland or Northern Ireland. However if you are approved to use the deferred payment system, VAT will not be due at this time. The deferred payment system allows you to defer payment of certain import charges. These import charges include Customs Duty and VAT. The payment of these charges can be deferred until the 15th of the month after importation. Imported goods are liable to VAT at the same rate that applies to those goods when sold in Ireland.


All persons registered for VAT and Customs and Excise (C and E) at 11:00pm on 31 December 2020 are automatically entitled to avail of Postponed Accounting. In order to use postponed accounting, you must enter certain codes on your import declarations. You will find further information in Payment of Import Duties for UK Imports.

When you import goods from outside the EU VAT area, the VAT due on the goods is calculated on the total cost of the goods. This includes transport costs, insurance costs and any applicable Customs Duty. You will find further information about how to calculate VAT in the Guide to Import Procedures.

You will have to declare each importation to Revenue using a customs import declaration. The declaration is submitted electronically using Revenue’s Automated Import System (AIS).

If you are a VAT registered trader, you are generally entitled to take credit for VAT paid on goods imported for the purposes of your business. You must claim this credit in your return in the taxable VAT period concerned, subject to the normal restrictions.

In certain circumstances, VAT is not payable on goods imported by a VAT registered trader. For example, import VAT is not payable on goods imported by a VAT registered trader who:

Distance selling

Distance selling of goods from businesses in GB to private consumers in Ireland is very common. Many GB-based companies are registered in Ireland and obliged to charge Irish VAT as a result of exceeding the distance selling threshold.

These companies:

  • have an obligation to register and pay Irish VAT on their supplies to Irish customers
  • and
  • should complete the necessary import declarations in respect of goods which they import into Ireland.

Next: Postponed accounting