Know your rights 14th January, 2021
Shopping online from the UK after Brexit
I ordered something online from a UK website – will I have to pay extra charges when it arrives?
From 1 January 2021, you may have to pay extra tax when having your online shopping delivered from the UK (this does not include Northern Ireland). This is because the UK has left the European Union (Brexit) and the transition period that was in place ended on 31 December 2020.
Depending on the item’s value and where it was made (place of origin), you may have to pay:
- Value Added Tax (VAT)
- Customs duty
How will I know if I owe these taxes?
If your package is valued at €22 or less (including the transport, insurance and handling costs), you do not have to pay any VAT or customs duty.
However, if your package is valued at €23 or more (including the transport, insurance and handling costs), you have to pay VAT. The standard rate of VAT for most items bought in Ireland is 21%.
If the items were made in the UK and are valued at €150 or more (not including transport, insurance and handling charges), you do not have to pay customs duty.
However, if the items were not made in the UK and are valued at €150 or more (excluding transport, insurance and handling charges), you may have to pay customs duty. The amount of customs duty you pay depends on the type of product you buy.
You should be aware that the value limits are for the whole delivery, not just one item.
How do I pay these charges, and who do I pay them to?
You may have already paid Irish VAT and customs duty during the checkout stage of your online purchase. This is because some UK retailers are registered with Revenue and automatically charge the relevant taxes as part of the purchase. Check your receipt (this is usually sent to you by email) to see if you have already paid Irish VAT or customs duty.
If the UK business is not registered with Revenue, the postal service or courier will send you a bill before delivering your package. This is because the postal service or courier completes all the relevant customs declarations, including where the product is manufactured. You will usually be charged an administration fee for this service, which can be a minimum of €10 to €15.
Are there any other changes to my consumer rights when I buy from the UK?
As a result of Brexit, there are changes to your consumer rights when buying online from businesses in the UK. You will still have consumer rights but they will be set down in UK law and not EU law. It is very important to check the terms and conditions on the seller’s website to find out your rights around:
- Returning the item if you change your mind
- Cancelling the item before it is dispatched
The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR)
I attend a DEIS school and want to go to university. My family are not well off. Is there anything to help me go to college?
The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) helps school-leavers who may not traditionally go on to third-level education access it. Under the HEAR scheme, third-level places are allocated to school-leavers on a reduced points basis. For example, a HEAR student with 356 points might get a place on a course that usually requires 366 points.
Participating colleges also provide extra supports for HEAR students.
When you apply to the Central Applications Office (CAO) for a college place, you must indicate on your CAO application that you wish to be considered for HEAR. To qualify for HEAR, you must meet certain indicators or criteria related to your financial, social and cultural circumstances. For example, your family income must be below a certain limit for your family size. Other factors are taken into account such as having a medical card, attending a school in the DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) programme and living in a disadvantaged area.
You must apply to the CAO by 1 February 2021 and complete your HEAR application by 1 March 2021. Copies of your supporting documents must reach the CAO by 15 March 2021. Late applications are not accepted.
You should start preparing your HEAR application as soon as possible. You will need to gather supporting documents, such as information from the Revenue Commissioners, a statement of income from the Department of Social Protection and whatever other documents are required in your case.
During the COVID-19 pandemic you can contact your local Citizens Information Centre:
• Bray CIC on 0761 07 6780 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm
• Email Bray CIC at firstname.lastname@example.org – anytime
You can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:
- The Citizens
Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to
9am – 8pm
- Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer