Will I have to pay duty on my personal items (household goods, tools, cars) upon arrival in Ireland?
As you may have heard, I recently published a brand new 'Moving to Ireland, FAQ Guide'. To the many of you have downloaded the guide thus far, thank you, I sincerely appreciate your support. To those of you yet to do so, this is a sample question from the guide, and will give you an understanding of the type of information you can expect within.
As things stand currently, there is a pretty good chance that everything you bring to Ireland with you when you move will be exempt from any duty or VAT. However, the exact outcome of any assessment does depend on personal circumstances, and on the type of items that you are sending to Ireland.
When I moved back to Ireland a number of years ago, my shipping company asked me to provide an itemized list of everything that was in the shipment, and the value of each item. This is very tricky to do precisely, and in my case, whether it was the correct thing to do or not, I generalized and categorized everything (e.g. kids clothing, kitchenware), and pulled a value out of my head.
This information was made available to customs in Ireland, and, as they were satisfied that I was making Ireland my permanent home, I did not pay any fees.
It's not always that straightforward though, but with a little bit of thought and planning you can make significant savings on import duty.
In what circumstances might you need to pay import fees?
Not everything that you personally own will be considered exempt from import tax, and there are a number of reasons why that might be the case, all of which are outlined on the Revenue.ie website. For example, tobacco and alcohol products fall into that category, as do tools that are used in your trade.
I have heard from numerous people who have moved back from Australia who wanted to bring their work tools along. In many cases people had to pay fees on these tools, and in many others they did not. I know that some of the luckier ones were able to convince the customs folk that the tools were not used for work purposes (i.e. to earn a living). Unfortunately, customs enforcement is not an exact science, and depending on the inspecting agent, your tools may or may not pass through so easily.
When transferring a car from overseas, there are some further requirements that you must meet to avoid paying VRT (Vehicle Registration Tax) for the car upon arrival in Ireland. The primary requirement is that you have owned and used the vehicle for a period of at least 6 months, outside of Ireland, before your move.
There are other things related to the movement of vehicles that you will need to be aware of, and I suggest you familiarize yourself fully with the details on this page on Revenue.ie.
*note: this is an updated answer to the original provided in version 1 of the FAQ guide. Download the latest here.
customs house pic credit: flickr.com/photos/giuseppemilo