Sunday 16 June 2019

Retailers call for probe into ads on social media

Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Irish lobby group Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) has called on the Advertising Standards Association of Ireland (ASAI) to investigate the promotion of goods on social media platforms and websites by retailers which it believes are not applying VAT to goods.

According to Lorraine Higgins, chief executive of REI, the issue relates to ads promoting goods for sale by businesses predominately operating outside the EU.

Under Irish revenue law these businesses are deemed to be distance sellers and are bound to pay VAT in this country once they reach a threshold of €35,000 in sales per financial year.

"While many of these businesses are aggressively marketing on social media websites and are selling well in excess of this amount it is clear that in many cases these goods are being sold excluding VAT (23pc) and duties (5pc) which amounts to false advertising of the products price. Therefore their legal obligations are not being met," Higgins said.

She said she was requesting an investigation of "all online marketplaces and distance sellers who are unfairly advertising their goods and products in a manner that flouts our tax and safety laws in the interests of fairness and parity of standards".

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