Relief from the payment of import duties and VAT for goods imported to combat COVID-19
Today (8 April 2020), Revenue confirmed that it has implemented an EU Commission decision that allows goods to combat COVID-19 to be imported, from outside the EU, free of import duties and VAT.
The objective of the measure is to ensure that goods to combat COVID-19 being imported by approved organisations do not incur import duties or VAT. Such organisations include State organisations and charities and businesses importing on their behalf. It also includes organisations approved by Revenue including those regulated by the State and involved in the care, support and treatment of people at risk of COVID-19. To avail of the relief, organisations must use the goods for COVID-19 purposes and make them available to people at risk, free of charge.
Commenting on the scheme, Declan O’Dálaigh, manager of Revenue’s Customs Reliefs Unit explained:
“These tax and duty-free provisions will be of real benefit to the HSE and importers acting on their behalf, and to other organisations and businesses such as nursing homes who import such goods. Depending on the goods, the reductions are significant. For example, for surgical gloves this means a reduction of 25% of the total cost of the gloves because without this decision the customs duty is 2% and the VAT is 23%. Significantly, the change also has a retrospective element in that it applies from 30 January so any business that qualifies for the exemption will be able to get a refund on duty and VAT paid on imports since that date.”
Mr. O’Dálaigh explained that:
“the approval and refund processes for this relief are simple and straightforward. Both the approval application form and refund form are available on the ‘Customs, including Import reliefs for COVID-19 specific products’ section of our website. Both forms can be submitted electronically, and the refund claims will be processed speedily.”
Finally, Mr. O’Dálaigh explained that:
“while the EU Commission decision removed customs duty and VAT charges for imports from outside the EU for goods to combat COVID-19, there is still a requirement to complete the standard customs import documentation for such imports. Further information on the documentation required can be found on the ‘Importing and Exporting’ pages within the ‘Customs Traders and Agents’ section. Alternatively, importers can contact Revenue at Importpolicy@revenue.ie.”