Ireland - Country Commercial Guide
Customs Regulations
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The documents required for shipments include items such as the commercial invoice, bill of landing or airway bill, packing list, insurance documents, and when required, special certificates of origin, sanitation, and ownership. A copy of the commercial invoice should accompany the shipment to avoid delays in customs clearance.  It is worth noting that imprecise descriptions are a common reason for goods being held without customs clearance, meaning that a clear description of the goods is essential and should be worded in such a way as to describe the goods to an individual who may not necessarily have an understanding of a particular industry or article.  A clear description of goods should satisfy three basic questions as to what the product is, for what is it used, and of what it is made.  No special form of invoice is required, but all the details needed to establish the true value of the goods should be given.  At least two additional copies of the invoice should be sent to the consignees to facilitate customs clearance.  U.S. exporters should check out Irish Customs Import Procedures (PDF) for full details.

The Union Customs Code (UCC) was adopted in 2013 and its substantive provisions apply from 1 May 2016.  It replaces the Community Customs Code (CCC).  In addition to the UCC, the European Commission has published delegated and implementing regulations on the actual procedural changes.  These are included in Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446, Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/341 and the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447.

There are several changes in the revised customs policy, which also require an integrated IT system from the customs authorities.  In April 2016, the European Commission published an implementing decision (2016/578) on the work program relating to the development and deployment of the electronic systems of the UCC.  In March 2018, the EC published a proposal (EU) No 2018/0040 for a draft regulation amending Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 to prolong the transitional use of means other than the electronic data-processing techniques provided for in the Union Customs Code.  The EC continues to evaluate the timeline by which the EU-wide integration of the customs IT system can be implemented.

Customs Valuation

Most customs duties and value added tax are expressed as a percentage of the value of goods being declared for importation.  Thus, it is necessary to dispose of a standard set of rules for establishing the goods’ value, which will then serve for calculating the customs duty.

Given the magnitude of EU imports every year, it is important that the value of such commerce is accurately measured for the purposes of economic and commercial policy analysis; application of commercial policy measures; proper collection of import duties and taxes; and import and export statistics.

These objectives are met using a single instrument: the rules on customs value.  In addition, the European Union applies an internationally accepted concept of “customs value.”  The value of imported goods is one of three elements of taxation that provides the basis for assessment of the customs debt, which is the technical term for the amount of duty that has to be paid, the other elements being the origin of the goods and the customs tariff.