Most purchases in Ireland are subject to VAT
(Value Added Tax) that varies between 12% and 21%. This tax
is already included on in the ticket price of the items you
are buying. The price of the item is all you pay.
However, as a visitor from outside the European
Union you can reclaim the VAT you have paid on many items prior
to your departure. All tourist oriented shops will offer this
service and some department stores. Look for the appropriate
sticker at the front door or at the counter.
There are two ways to reclaim VAT in Ireland:
Tax-Free Shopping and Duty Free. Below are directions
on how to take advantage of each.
What is Tax-free Shopping?
Tax-free Shopping is offered in a number of larger shopping
establishments and department stores such as Dunne's Stores,
Marks & Spencers, Brown Thomas, and other tourist oriented
shops. Shops that offer Tax-free Shopping will have the Tax-free
Shopping or CashBack sticker displayed either on
their shop window or at the cash registers/tills. If you have
any question about this ask any of the sales representatives.
Tax-free Shopping does not mean that you will not be
charged VAT but that you can get a refund at the Tax-free Shopping
counter at the airport prior to your departure. To get your
If you're taking the items with you:
When your sales transaction is complete you will be given
a separate multi-part voucher that has your total purchase
written on it. Keep this with the original store receipt.
Save all of the vouchers you receive while shopping around
Ireland with the original store receipt.
When you have time fill in your name, address and phone
number on each of the vouchers and be sure that each of
the original store receipts are attached.
- When you are leaving Ireland you will need to turn these
in at the airport. Check in at your airline, get your boarding
pass then go to the Tax-free Shopping counter where you will
turn these vouchers in.
If you're having items shipped home:
Duty Free is another form of tax free shopping.
You will find Duty Free Shops in the airports, on ferries, and
on airplanes. Shops that offer Duty Free will be called DFS
or Duty Free Shop.
Duty is a tax imposed by governments on the import of
certain products, primarily tobacco, alcohol and some electrical
goods. Duty Free shopping allows you to purchase goods up to
a certain limit without paying any duty on them. Check the notices
up in airports and ferry ports for up to date limits, or if
in doubt ask a sales representative.
Current limits are:
One litre of spirits
Two litres of wine
50 grams of perfume
You will be given a similar multi-part voucher as Tax-free
Shopping but in this case the duty is taken off the bill at
the point of purchase. You must have a credit card for these
purchases. You will be required to fill in and return these
vouchers at the DFS desk in Dublin, Shannon or Belfast International
airport before departure. This proves the item is leaving the
country. You must have a boarding pass to prove departure so
be sure to check in first. Cork Airport has a counter to return
this voucher, but there's usually no one there. There's a slot
in the desk for you to drop your paperwork into.
If you fail to turn these vouchers in you must have
them notarized when you get home and posted back to the DFS
office in Ireland in the envelope given to you at the shop where
you bought these duty free items. If you fail to do so within
90 days of returning home the duty will be charged back to your
Note: There's another system at work in Ireland that's
supposed to be easier to manage called .
This is a VAT refund program whereby the customer is given one
of the MoneyBack cards which has a magnetic strip on the back
similar to a credit card. When purchases are made in participating
retail outlets, the card is swiped. When the customer returns
home, they access the MoneyBack website to see copies of all
their purchases and print the forms that must be posted back
to the MoneyBack office in order to receive the tax back on
the purchase. This program makes purchasing items in-store easier
for both the customer and the sales staff, but could become
problematic when the customer doesn't understand the program
adequately. So be sure to read through their site so you understand
how the program works before making purchases under this scheme.