Import Issues

Automated Entry Processing System

Revenue’s automated entry processing system (AEP) undertakes validation, processing, duty accounting, calculation and clearance of customs declarations. It verifies data format, validations, preferential rates, prohibitions and restrictions. It verifies that sufficient credit is available on the trader’s account to cover import liability.

Traders may be approved for direct trader input by the AEP bureau.  A digital certificate is furnished or authentication.  Under the direct trader input (DTI) system, accompanying documents must continue to be lodged in the case of red routed, and orange routed declarations. Where the DTI declaration is green routed, the declarant must retain the accompanying documents for [three] years and produce them if requested by Revenue.

Copies of inward processing authorisations and VAT free authorisations are to be retained as accompanying documents. The declarant may use any filing system, provided that the document can be produced to the Revenue on request. A list of particulars to be given on declarations is prescribed in the regulations.  Non-codified particulars may be required to be translated into English or Irish.

Automated Entry

Automated Entry Processing is the Revenue’s electronic system for processing import and export declarations. It is part of the integrated taxation system platform. It is integrated with other Revenue systems. Data may be entered through direct trader input (DTI) by the importer or exporter or their agents or through customs input, where the trader provides a paper Single Administrative Document.

Authorisation held by traders relating to economic and other procedures such as inward and outward processing, processing under customs control, are retained and validated in the common registration system.  The system includes payment processing facilities for VAT, customs, excise and VRT payments.

The CAP DTI system allows CAP export traders to submit export refund declarations through Revenue Online Service (ROS).

In the AEP system, the declarant declares the estimated time of arrival with the relevant code.  Most exports of goods are effected through a DTI declaration through AEP, without physical presentation to Revenue.

Declaration re Imported Goods

Declarations must be made in respect of goods imported from outside the EU.  Declarations may be made immediately but must be made within 45 days from the date of notification of arrival by sea and 20 days in other cases. Almost all SADs are now electronic.

The declaration may be lodged before the goods are presented. It is then formally accepted once the goods are presented. The declaration may be made by an importer or its representative.

Revenue’s automated entry processing (AEP) system undertakes validation, processing, accounting and payment as well as clearance of customs declarations. A trader must be approved for participation in the AEP system. Importers, exporters are other agents may be registered.

The deferred payment scheme allows approved traders to defer payment. A guarantee and ongoing compliance with the conditions of the scheme is required. Generally, payments are made by direct debit on the 15th day of the month following the transaction.

Declaration re Imported Goods II

The DTI (direct trader input) system allows electronic declarations under the AEP system. Under the DTI system documents may be still required in the case of certain declarations, in particular where the red route or orange route procedure applies. The documents must be retained for three years from the date of import.

Most documents may be presented electronically. The documents required may include valuations, air waybills, bills of lading, VAT authorisation, exemptions and licences. The Revenue may accept documentation electronically or may require examination of the original.

Where Revenue places the goods in the red or orange route and discovers a discrepancy, an amended declaration (SAD) is required. An   amendment will be generally allowed where there is a genuine error and no fraud. Incorrectly declared goods are detained pending amendment. Cases of fraud are referred to the Fraud Prosecution Unit.

Revenue undertakes orange routing entirely in some cases or by way of risk analysis / random testing. Where the red route procedure is used, an examination of the goods and documents is required. A comparison is made between the declaration in the documents and the goods.

In the case of passengers importing goods, a verbal declaration may be accepted. The value of the consignment and should not exceed €1,000

The rate of duty is determined by the date of entry. Duties are collected, principally through the AEP electronics customs declaration system. Duties may be also be collected pursuant of a customs audit after the event. Customs may require documentation to verify the accuracy of the declarations.

Physical Checking

Goods selected for examination must be produced within a reasonable period. Where a partial examination is insufficient, a full examination may be undertaken. Containerised cargo may be removed from containerised traffic. Customs may take samples of goods for examinations.  They may be sent for testing.

A number of certification procedures are available. Bulk entry procedure may be available where a consignment contains [     ]

The unshipping, landing, examination, opening, unpacking and weighing may be the expense of the importer in some cases. The declarant or his representative may be required to attend and   render assistance.

Certain consignments require a border inspection post check by the Department of Agriculture. This is carried out by Department staff. The outcome of the examination (e.g. Satisfactory) is recorded on the AEP system.

Simplified Procedure

Businesses which regularly import goods may be authorised to use the simplified declaration procedure.  Under this procedure, the simplified declaration is made during a month followed by a single consolidated declaration covering all importations during that month. The business must be approved to use the simplified declaration procedure.

An authorisation is required. Authorised economic operators are deemed to have met the criteria. The authorisation may be revoked or non-compliance with conditions, infringements or criminal activities.

The simplified declaration must be supported by the requisite documents required to accompany the declaration in order to secure the release of the goods. The supplementary declaration must be presented to AEP by the fifth day of the month following.

Local Clearance Procedure

The local clearance procedure allows clearance at places other than the place of importation. Authorisation must be obtained to use the procedure. It may authorise release at the trader’s premises. Certain types and categories of goods qualify for the procedure.

An economic operator wishing to avail of the procedure must have the requisite financial solvency, keep proper records and undertake customs compliance. Authorised Economic operators are deemed to have met the relevant criteria

The authorisation is conditional upon continued compliance. Revenue must be satisfied that the authorisation holder conducts activities properly. The authorisation is for particular categories of goods.

There are obligations and guarantee provisions, including obligations to make returns to the customs office. Revenue must be notified of arrivals and releases. Records must be maintained. Revenue has powers to examine records and conduct checks for verification purposes.

Simplified Procedure

A single authorisation for simplified procedure (SASP) allows a trader to clear goods in one state, by paying duty and completing formalities in another supervising state where the operator is established. The application involves consultation with the customs authority of the other EU member state.

Express carriers, such DHL use the Customs electronic manifest system.  Data is sent electronically. Electronic transmissions from express carriers in the form of import and export manifests in respect of all consignments on inboard and outbound express flights are permitted.  Certain goods are not eligible. The providers must register for use.

Hard Copy SAD

A small number of hard copy SAD returns still arise. They are not encouraged by customs. The hard copy declarations must be lodged with customs. The SAD is the hard copy declaration. Where goods are declared for release and zero rate is being claimed, a VAT3 authorisation is required.

Hard copy declarations must be completed in type. Illegible declarations will not be accepted. The date of acceptance is stamped and initialled.

Restricted or Controlled Goods

Certain goods are restricted or prohibited from importation. They include the following

  • agriculture and food products
  • Drugs
  • weapons counterfeited goods
  • indecent articles
  • CITES Convention articles
  • Medicines.

Revenue undertakes the controls and administration.

Importation by air

Aircraft arriving in and departing from Ireland are governed by customs and excise laws and regulations. Aircraft departing on a flight to a destination outside the customs territory or fiscal territory of the EU must depart from a customs airport unless otherwise permitted by Revenue.

Aircraft arriving in Ireland, save as otherwise agreed with Revenue must land at a customs airport.  All customs formalities in relation to the aircraft, cargo and stores must be completed there.

The principal customs airports are Dublin, Cork and Shannon. A number of other more minor airports are approved for certain types of flights. Aircraft arriving in Shannon may arrive at the customs free airport.  All freight offloaded is to be transported to the customs-free area and to approved facilities in it.

Customs officers have rights of access to all aerodromes whether they are customs airports or licensed aerodromes.  They have the right to board and inspect aircraft and goods loaded on them or from them. Breach of the requirements is subject on conviction to a fine and to forfeiture of goods in respect of which the offence is committed.

Intra EU Flights

Flights within the EU are not subject to standard customs control unless

  • third country good are carried on board;
  • stores are carried on board;
  • passengers who have originated in a non-EU country and have not been cleared at another EU airport are on board;
  • goods carried on board are being exported to a third country
  • customs intervention is necessary for purposes in connection with the enforcement of prohibitions or restrictions on importation or exportation.

Revenue may not refuse permission to a pilot of an aircraft making an intra-EU flight, not subject to the above exceptions to land at a place other than the customs airport or the Shannon customs free airport, except where necessary for the purpose of enforcing the prohibition or restriction.  In practice, most flights land at customs airports.

Formal reports are not required for aircraft from other EU states carrying only Community (EU) goods.  A cargo manifest is required for a national prohibition / restriction control purposes. Confirmation as to whether non-EU goods are carried is also required. In the case of an aircraft from another state carrying both EU and non-EU goods, a formal report must be made by way of cargo manifest.

Reports on Arrivals

There are approved secure transit sheds at each airport The pilot of every aircraft arriving from a non-EU country engaged in third-party traffic must immediately on landing bring the aircraft to the examination station.  In the absence of suspicion having regard to potential revenue risk, searching arriving aircraft with non-EU traffic is carried out on a selective basis.

Where aircraft is boarded, the store’s list may be examined by Revenue who is to confirm that  the seal numbers on the list, match those attached to the stores.

Defined parts of the customs airports have been set aside as an examination station in which all goods must be immediately deposited, on being unloaded.  Customs facilities are provided at certain other airports and licensed aerodromes.

An account of all arriving aircraft engaged in third country traffic must be available at the airport.  It may be provided by the authority or may be ascertained from another source such as traffic control or handling agents.

Private Aircraft

Most normal controls apply to private aircrafts.  Those emanating from outside the EU are subject to the same rules as above. Revenue may dispense with the obligations to land at a customs airports in respect of intra-EU flights where it is satisfied that it does not impinge on export prohibitions and restrictions.

Declarations of Imports

Declarations must be made as soon as imported goods have been presented.  In the case of goods imported by sea, they must be made within 45 days from the date of receipt of notification of the arrival of the means of transport. Goods otherwise imported must be notified within 20 days from the receipt of notification of the arrival of the means of transport.

Direct trader input electronic declarations may be submitted at any time when the AEP system is available.  Almost all SADs are now electronic.

A declaration may be lodged in advance of the date of presentation of goods.  The declaration is accepted, only after the goods have been presented.  If the goods declared have not been presented within the time limit, the declaration has no effect.

A declaration may be made by a person who is able to present the goods or have them presented.  If the declarant is not the importer. he must be appointed by the importer or his representative.

Air Travel Tax

The former Air Travel tax was abolished in 2014.  It was enacted in 2008 and applied to all the passengers on flights from Irish Airports after 30th March 2009.  It applied to aircraft, capable of carrying 20 or more passengers.  It does not apply to airports where the number of departures is less than 50,000.  This ruled out some minor airports.

Certain persons including the crew, children under two years of age, disabled persons, transit and transfer passengers were exempt. The rate was €3 per passenger from 2011.  An earlier differential rate applied a rate €2 to destinations within 330 km (generally UK flights) and €10 to other destinations.

The airline operator was responsible for accounting for and paying the tax.  Security was required for payment.  Each airline operator was obliged to register with the Revenue. Monthly returns were required by 23rd day of the following month.  They were made through the ROS service online. Detailed annual returns were required.  The tax was supported by a range of offences.

References and Sources

Text Books

Customs Law of the European Union 4th ed 2012 M Fabio

EC Customs Law (Oxford European Community Law Library) 2nd Edition 2008 Timothy Lyons

Customs Code of the European Union Hardcover (1996) Tom Walsh  Damian McCarthy

European Union Customs Code 2015 Tom Walsh

EU Legislation

The Union Customs Code  Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

amended by Regulation 2016/2339

The UCC Delegated Act Commission Delegated Regulation No 2015/2446.

The UCC Implementing Act Commission Implementing Regulation No 2015/2447.

The UCC Transitional Delegated Act wCommission Delegated Regulation No 2016/341.

Copyright (Customs) Regulations 1964, S.I. No. 231 of 1964443

Irish Legislation

Customs Act 2015

Customs-Free Airport Act 1947

Customs-free Airport Order 1947 (and numerous amendement)

Transport Customs-Free Airport (Amendment) Act 1958

Free Ports Act 1986

Customs and Excise (Mutual Assistance) Act 2001

ustoms and Excise (Mutual Assistance) Act, 2001

(Commencement) Order 2002, S.I. No. 59 of 20022996

Customs and Excise (Mutual Assistance) Act 2001 (Section 8)

(Protection of Manual Data) Regulations 2004, S.I. No. 254 of 2004

Customs (Electronic Filing of Returns) Order 2014, S.I. No. 474 of 2014

Customs and Excise (Provision of Information relating to Persons, Conveyances and Goods) Regulations 2011, S.I. No.

410 of 2011

European Communities (Customs) Regulations 1972, S.I. No. 334 of 1972

European Communities (Customs) (Amendment) Regulations, S.I. No. 211 of 1980

European Communities (Customs) (No.2) Regulations, S.I. No. 202 of 1982

European Communities (Customs) Regulations, S.I. No. 78 of 1983

European Communities (Customs) Regulations, S.I. No. 365 of 1984

European Communities (Customs) (No.2) Regulations, S.I. No. 366 of 1984

European Communities (Customs) (Revocation of Statutory Instruments) Regulations

European Communities (Customs and Excise) Regulations 1991, S.I. No. 57 of 19913925

European Communities (Customs and Excise) (Amendment) Regulations 1991, S.I. No. 174 of 1991

European Communities (Customs and Excise) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 1991, S.I.No. 368 of 1991


European Communities (Customs and Excise) Regulations 1992, S.I. No. 394 of 1992

European Communities (Customs) (No. 2) Regulations 1992, S.I. No. 431 of 1992

European Communities (Customs) (No. 3) Regulations 1992, S.I. No. 432 of 1992

European Communities (Community Transit) Regulations 1992, S.I. No. 433 of 1992

European Communities (Tir Carnet and Ata Carnet Transit) Regulations 1993, S.I. No. 61 of 1993

European Communities (Customs Appeals) Regulations 1995, S.I. No. 355 of 1995

European Communities (Customs Declarations) Regulations 1996, S.I. No. 114 of 1996

European Communities (Customs Action against Goods suspected of Infringing certain Intellectual Property Rights) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 309 of 2013

European Union (Customs enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights) Regulations 2013, S.I.No. 562 of 2013