Brexit: What happens after 31 December 2020

As of 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom (UK) is no longer a member of the European Union (EU).  Regardless of the outcome of the negotiations reached at the end of 2020, businesses that move goods to, from or through Great Britain (UK excluding Northern Ireland) are required to complete customs formalities.

In addition, individuals who buy goods online for personal use from Great Britain will have to consider if they must pay duty and tax on them.

We have outlined below important changes to note for businesses and individuals from 1 January 2021 and links to helpful information resources.

Businesses preparing for Brexit

Businesses that did not fully complete their preparations for Brexit, would have been immediately impacted on 1 January 2021. To limit this impact, businesses should have taken the following key steps:

  • register with Revenue for customs by getting an Economic Operators Registration Identification (EORI) number,
  • have the facility to make customs declarations or have arrangements in place for a customs agent to do so,
  • be familiar with and talk to the other key players in the supply chain,
  • know the origin and Commodity Code of the goods or products,
  • talk to the person who transports the goods to make sure they have the new information they need, and
  • consider alternative routes to EU markets.

Revenue supports

Revenue has a dedicated Brexit hub with information about trade facilitation and customs procedures for trade with the UK after the transition period. This includes detailed information for businesses trading with Great Britain (UK without Northern Ireland) and for businesses trading with Northern Ireland.

Revenue held a series of live streamed Brexit information sessions on 5 and 6 October 2020 as part of their trader engagement programme. These sessions provided important information to help businesses to get ready for trading with Great Britain from 1 January 2021. The recordings are available here.

Revenue also released further guidance, information and online tools in relation to Customs procedures for transport companies and their drivers. Revenue’s new Customs Roll-on Roll-off (RoRo) Service is intended to minimise delays, as much as possible, for goods coming into and moving out of Irish ports that involve Great Britain. Transport companies and truck drivers can:

  • create a Pre-Boarding Notification (PBN) before the goods start their journey and in advance of moving to the departure port,
  • check their PBN status – a status of ‘good to proceed to check-in’ is required before moving to the departure port,
  • check their Customs Channel prior to disembarking a ferry in Ireland to see whether their vehicle can ‘Exit the Port’ or is required to ‘Call to customs’, and
  • self-check-in at the relevant Customs terminal where a vehicle has received a ‘Call to Customs’ prior to disembarking.

If you have any Brexit Customs queries not answered on the Revenue’s Brexit hub, email

Institute supports

The Institute has a dedicated Brexit Analysis webpage with information about the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in the area of customs and tax. The page is updated regularly and contains links to helpful Revenue and Government resources. It also comprises of useful content on Brexit, including our complimentary Brexit Update Webinar in July, articles from the Irish Tax Review and Institute submissions and representations.

We will continue to represent the needs of businesses to Government and update members on the latest Brexit developments in TaxFax.

Other resources

The Government published the Brexit Readiness Action Plan. It provides clear, concise advice on the steps businesses need to take to prepare for the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. The Government also has a dedicated getting Ireland ready for Brexit webpage.

The Government also announced two programmes to assist businesses prepare for new customs and trading arrangements. These are:

  • Ready for Customs: Enterprise Ireland is providing grants of up to €9,000 to businesses, per eligible employee hired, or redeployed within the business, to a dedicated customs role. Funding for these grants was made available under the €20 million Brexit Fund in the July Jobs Stimulus.
  • Clear Customs Online 2020: Skillnet Ireland is offering free online customs training to support the customs intermediary sector and businesses that move goods frequently to, from, or through Great Britain.

Brexit considerations for individuals

From 1 January 2021, if you buy goods online (or by mail order) from Great Britain (UK without Northern Ireland), receive gifts from the Great Britain, travel to Ireland from Great Britain with goods purchased there or import a vehicle from the UK, you may have to pay duty and tax on them. In addition, if you transfer your residence or business from Great Britain to Ireland, you may have to pay customs charges.

Revenue has prepared a Brexit for individuals page outlining the impact it may have on individuals. The Government also have a page dedicated to Brexit and you.

Buying goods online (or by mail order) from Great Britain (UK without Northern Ireland)

This area of Brexit is likely to have a major impact from 1 January 2021 on individuals. When you buy goods from outside the EU, you may have to pay duty and tax. You, as the buyer, are responsible for the accuracy of the customs declaration and for paying the relevant duty and tax. As some websites don’t include these in their prices, be aware that additional charges may apply.

If your goods (whole delivery) have:

  • a customs value (includes cost of goods, transport, insurance and handling charges) of €22 or less, you will not have to pay Customs Duty or VAT;
  • a customs value of more than €22, you will have to pay VAT;
  • an intrinsic value (value of the goods alone) of more than €150, you will have to pay Customs Duty.

You must pay the above duties, where applicable, and VAT on all alcohol, tobacco, perfumes, and toilet waters products, regardless of their value.

When you’re paying for your good(s) and the total price includes any Customs Duty and VAT due, there’ll be no further import charges. If the total price excludes these charges, you must pay them to either An Post or the courier.

For goods being imported by post: For goods being imported by courier:
  • An Post will calculate the amount owed.
  • The courier will calculate the amount owed.
  • They will attach a customs docket to the package with details of the amount of import charges owed.
  • Most couriers pay the import charges directly to Revenue on behalf of the individual and recoup the import charges from them.
Delays in the delivery of goods

Where there is a delay following the good(s) arrival in Ireland, you should contact the courier or An Post for an update.

If the goods are selected for a Customs intervention, Customs will write to you with more information and contact details of the mail centre.

You can find out more about Brexit and buying goods online for personal use after the UK leaves the EU on Revenue’s Brexit information hub.