If you live in the EU and bought cheap goods from China or anywhere outside the EU you may have been surprised when you didn’t have to pay customs duties or VAT on the product.
To be honest, the extra payment required by An Post/a third party carrier to pay for more expensive goods is probably what surprised most people buying from outside the European Union. That can be €10 to €15 or more.
Well, from July 1st you may have to pay that fee regardless of how much the goods you bought are. If you’re looking for a cheap phone case, or book or whatever from the UK you better do it ASAP because if it’s delivered here (Ireland or elsewhere in the EU) after July 1st you’ll end up paying extra.
The Irish Revenue website has a page explaining how it works and it’s not pretty.
From 1 July 2021, import VAT will be payable on all goods entering the EU, irrespective of their value. VAT will always be collected, irrespective of the amount due. If you order goods valued at €22 or less before 1 July 2021, that arrive after that date, you may have to pay VAT.
The revenue.ie page does not mention that non-EU sellers can charge VAT at point-of-sale. A paragraph on this page explains how this works:
The EU has therefore agreed to scrap the import VAT exempt threshold. Instead, it will require EU and non-EU sellers to charge VAT at the point of sale for consignments of €150 or below. This will create a more efficient ‘Green Channel’, with quick and easy customs clearance. Note – the delivery agent may still act as the import VAT collector (see below).
Sellers will charge VAT at the rate of their customer’s EU country of residence at the point-of-sale on the website. Sellers can use the delivery address of the customer to determine the country VAT rate. No VAT is due at the point of import in this case.
This already happens for digital sales, such as those for games and software.
I suspect this change to the VAT rate will also apply to UK magazine subscriptions since periodicals are charged(PDF) 9% VAT in Ireland while they are 0% in the UK. If that’s the case it’s not worth it (An Post will charge €10 to deliver a magazine worth let’s say €6.) unless the seller is registered in the EU and charges VAT on the subscription.
Libraries Ireland recently switched from the RBDigital app that my wife loved to an app called Libby. She reads magazines on a very old iPad so she made the reluctant switch to Libby.
It was a nightmare. By accident she selected the county library rather than the city library and we couldn’t see where to change library. I reinstalled it as that seemed to be the easiest way of fixing that issue.
Once into the app she entered her details and attempted to read a magazine. Unfortunately it was so slow it was frustrating. I realise this iPad is old, but the RBDigital app was quick and responsive on the device. The Libby app is not. Pages load slowly, the whole device lags when Libby is running. Downloading magazines is very slow.
We had the same experience on a Kindle Fire Android tablet, but it was marginally faster. From snail’s pace to sloth’s pace. What the hell is the app written in? Some high level framework that needs the latest hardware to run it?
Then I saw you can use their website, libbyapp.com instead. Firefox on the Android tablet, and Chrome on the iPad were a lot more responsive. While it was still slow to load magazines it was usable. Libby even makes it easy to add a new device.
Their website works just fine in Chrome on my ageing iPad, and the immersive view of Firefox on the Android tablet looks even better so I must see about putting Firefox on the iPad too.
This is a gravestone in the graveyard of St. James’s Church in Durrus, Sheep’s Head as pictured in 2014. Ted died well before his time at a young age and I have no idea who he was but to judge by his final message he must have been an interesting character.
For more energy statistics take a look at the transport page on the SEAI website.
The amount of petrol consumed in Ireland reduced by more than half between 2007 and 2018 as a result of the shift to diesel cars. The increase in diesel use for private cars was offset by lower diesel use in freight. Diesel use was 12% higher in 2018 than 2007.
Renewable transport fuels have grown from a low base to over 3% of transport final energy use in 2018. This is almost all from biofuels blended with petrol and diesel. Electricity remained at just 0.1% of transport final energy demand in 2018. Most of this was from Luas and DART, but electric vehicles are growing strongly from a low base.
These are the locations of cameras recording the volume of traffic on the road. It’s been interesting looking at some of the roads around Cork during the last year. Here are a few charts of traffic on the N20 between Blarney and Cork.
The Covid-19 Lockdown bit in March. Schools closed on March 12th, pubs closed soon after. Most people who could were working from home. It made a big difference to daily traffic into Cork. From a high of 1200 vehicles in January to 400 in April.
How does this compare to last year? Here are the charts for July and August 2019.
It’s interesting to see those charts. The lockdown caused a huge drop in traffic as expected. Emissions from cars were down this year of course but agriculture remained the same so our impact on the environment didn’t change much. It’ll probably be worse as people use their cars rather than take public transport.
Out of curiosity I looked at the traffic volume going into Dingle from the Inch Strand side of the peninsula for July this year and last year. There wasn’t much of a change. 500 cars a day passed there in 2020 while only an extra 100 cars made the journey in 2019. They’ll be happy about that in Dingle!
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