Relief from Customs Duty and Value-Added Tax (VAT)

Updated on April 28, 2022

Certain items imported from outside the European Union are exempt from customs duty, VAT, or both (EU). This section contains information on the types of relief available, as well as the rules and processes that apply.

Permanent importation of samples

You can import samples of items from outside the European Union (EU) for trade promotion purposes without paying customs duty or VAT (VAT). To qualify for this relief, your items must meet the following criteria:

Only be used as samples; have no value; and be used to gain orders for the things they represent.
The samples may be deemed permanently unusable at the request of Revenue. Torn, punctured, or irreversibly marked samples are possible.

Procedure at importation

A letter from the supplier certifying that your items are solely to be used as samples in order to solicit orders for the type of goods they represent is required.

The sender of the products should do the following:

Attach the above-mentioned letter to the parcel’s outside and label it ‘customs documentation.’
Give the postal service or courier handling the package information about the goods. The following items should be included in this information on the goods:
a precise description of a commodity code and its value
‘Samples for trade promotion purposes: exemption from import duties sought’ should be written on the parcel.
Using Revenue’s Automated Import System, the courier or postal service carrying the shipment can use this information to submit an electronic customs declaration (AIS).

They should include the following information on this customs declaration:

Declare the items as samples for the purpose of trade promotion and enter code C30 in D/E 1/11.

Further information

If you require further information, contact the Authorisations and Reliefs Unit

Importation of goods for charitable and humanitarian organisations

Certain items from outside the European Union (EU) can be imported by charitable and humanitarian organisations without paying customs duty or VAT (VAT).

The following items may be included in the goods:

Food, medicine, clothing, and bedclothes are examples of basic essentials for those in need. The items must be provided free of charge in order to qualify for VAT exemption.
Items sent for free by a person or organisation based outside the European Union. These items must be utilised for fund-raising at charity events on occasion in order to help persons in need.
A person or an organisation based outside of the EU sends free equipment and office supplies. These items must be utilised strictly to address the organization’s or charity’s operational needs or to further the organization’s or charity’s goals.
Alcohol and tobacco goods, as well as motor vehicles other than ambulances, are not eligible for exemption.

Procedure at importation

You’ll need evidence to back up your petition for relief.

If you’re importing basic needs for those in need, you’ll require an importer’s declaration. This declaration should confirm that the commodities are intended for free distribution to those in need.

If you want to import:

You will need a letter confirming that the goods are sent free of charge with no commercial intent and one of the following, as appropriate: goods for fund-raising at occasional charity events for the benefit of people in need or equipment or office materials for use by your charity or organisation You will need a letter confirming that the goods are sent free of charge with no commercial intent and one of the following, as appropriate:

a declaration by the importer indicating that the products are to be used to satisfy their operating needs or to carry out their philanthropic purposes, or a declaration by the importer declaring that the items are to be used for fund-raising at periodic charity events for the benefit of persons in need.
Attach the above-mentioned documents to the outside of the package and label them as “customs paperwork.”

If you’re shipping your products, the declaration on the package should read: ‘Goods for charitable purposes: exemption from import duties claimed.’

If you’re importing products by a method other than the postal service, such as a courier, you should:

Use Revenue’s new Automated Import System (AIS) to create an electronic customs declaration and input code C20 in D/E 1/11.
You may not transfer, lend, or hire out these items unless Revenue has been notified and the import duties have been paid. You may, however, lend or rent the goods to organisations that are eligible for the relief. Before making any transfer, you must notify Revenue.

Further information

Please contact the Authorisations and Reliefs Unit if you require any additional information.

Permanent importation of goods for examination, analysis or test purposes

You can import items from outside the European Union (EU) for investigation, analysis, or testing without paying Customs Duty or VAT.

The examination, analysis, or tests must include the following:

to determine the goods’ composition, quality, or other technical attributes, and for the purpose of gathering information or conducting research

What rules apply to the relief?

During the examination, analysis, or testing, the commodities must be totally consumed or destroyed. Where they are not, Revenue can arrange, under their supervision, that the remaining products are: fully destroyed or rendered worthless, given to the State without cost, or exported outside the EU, where this is permissible under particular circumstances.
You must pay Customs Duty and VAT on any products that remain after the examination, analysis, or tests are completed. You can get approval from your Revenue office to convert any remaining products to garbage or scrap. Revenue may agree to levy Customs Duty and VAT at the rate in effect at the time of conversion for the waste or scrap.

How to apply for relief

Before you import your items, you should submit an application to the Authorisation and Reliefs Unit for approval. You should include the following in your application:

Describe the products you want to import and the types of testing, investigations, and analyses you’ll be conducting.
Your Revenue office will set up a meeting with the Authorisation and Reliefs Unit. We will discuss the following topics at this meeting:

Depending on the sort of items involved, the types of records you’ll need to retain and the timeframe for conducting exams, analyses, or tests will differ.
If Revenue is satisfied that your application is in order, we will send you a letter of authorisation containing a unique rceferene number.

Procedure at importation

The sender of the products should do the following:

Attach the above-mentioned letter of authorization to the outside of the package and label it “customs paperwork.”
Give the postal service or courier handling the package information about the goods. The following items should be included in this information on the goods:
a precise description of a commodity code and its value
‘Goods for examination, analysis, or test purposes: exemption from import duties claimed’ should be written on the parcel.
Using Revenue’s Automated Import System, the courier or postal service carrying the shipment can use this information to submit an electronic customs declaration (AIS).

They should include the following information on this customs declaration:

In D/E 1/11, enter code C33 and the authorisation number from your letter of authorisation, and in D/E 2/3, enter code 1D09 and the authorisation number from your letter of permission.

Further information

Please contact the Authorisations and Reliefs Unit if you require any additional information.