Wednesday, 5 April 1995
Dáil Éireann Debate
44. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Finance his views on the injustice which requires a trader in the State to pay VAT on imports prior to inspecting the goods whereas a trader importing through Belfast can delay paying VAT until goods have been unpacked and, if found to be damaged, the goods can be returned for credit. [6473/95]
Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn): It is assumed that the Deputy is referring to imports from a country outside the customs territory of the EU. In Ireland's case, VAT is charged at the point of entry on all such goods whether imported by a trader directly into Ireland or under transit arrangements through another member state.
It is accepted that, in the case of these  imports, a trader could have to pay VAT in respect of damaged goods before claiming the appropriate VAT credit in the next bimonthly VAT return. Of course, where a trader is approved by the Revenue Commissioners for deferred payment facilities in relation to VAT at point of entry, any cash-flow cost in respect of imported goods, whether damaged or otherwise, would be minimised.
I have already indicated in response to recent parliamentary questions that, because of the substantial Exchequer cash-flow cost which would be involved, the abolition of VAT at the point of entry cannot be contemplated at present.
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