AN POST has warned consumers that they may have to pay customs charges on packages received from the UK.
The sender must also provide electronic customs information for each parcel, following customs changes that took effect in the summer.
The post office company here is launching a customer information campaign to advise people on the new European Union Customs Rules for parcels originating from non-EU countries, including Britain.
It warned that customs charges may also apply, and these fees must be paid by customers before An Post is allowed to deliver their items.
The changes came into effect on July 1, but many are expected to be unaware of them ahead of the busy pre-Christmas buying season.
An Post said more than 90pc of all parcels enter Ireland and go straight out on delivery.
Most of the large non-EU retailers, including British brands such as M&S, River Island and Boots, have worked with An Post to provide what it said was a clear “duty paid” facility at the online checkout.
This prompts customers to pay all Vat and customs charges up front so these parcels can be delivered straightaway.
But An Post warned: “More problematic are parcels which come in via other postal services such as Royal Mail because the senders, typically a small business or individual personal customers, are unaware of the new complex data and tax requirements.”
An Post said it has limited ways of advising personal customers or small businesses posting parcels to Ireland from outside the EU on the required customs data and the new list of prohibited items.
EU Customs rules now restrict a range of goods and substances from being posted into the EU from non-EU countries and the rules dictate that these items must be returned to sender.
These include certain medicines, foodstuff and plants.
“Despite these issues not being of our making or within our direct control, An Post is making every effort to communicate directly with non-EU customers, trade organisations and SME representatives in order to get the message out, particularly in Britain,” An Post said.
It said it has developed a range of process solutions to facilitate parcels through customs and on to delivery, and it is working closely with Royal Mail and other postal services to help inform their customers.
It wants to ensure there are ‘duty-paid’ solutions on sellers’ website so people pay all charges at the online check-out.
An Post said gifts below the value of €45 (including postage) from non-EU countries require electronic customs data, but do not require any customs or VAT to be paid.
Gifts over €45 are charged a customs fee, paid by the receiver.
When sending an item to a non-EU country, consumers were advised to use An Post’s Click & Post facility or to fill out forms in their post office to capture all the necessary electronic data.
“Insufficient data can result in the application of additional charges by the international postal carrier, payable by the addressee,” An Post warned.
More information is available at Anpost.com/customs.