VAT, Customs and other taxes

Operating in an evolving global tax landscape

The tax policy landscape for VAT, customs and other taxes is in a constant state of flux. Whether it's VAT recovery on electric vehicle charging or Brexit-related customs duties, businesses can struggle to stay informed in real time.

As a result, businesses are at risk of non-compliance or absorbing unnecessary costs – both of which can devastate a company's reputational and financial health.

Our VAT, customs and other taxes services

PwC has extensive experience in providing advice across all jurisdictions and industry sectors. We provide tailor-made solutions that address your needs while cutting costs and minimising risk.

PwC's expert teams in VAT, customs, relevant contracts tax and stamp duty can help your business operate across borders, ensuring profitability and compliance with local and international regulations.

VAT consulting and compliance

Value-added tax is a transaction-based tax levied on supplies of goods and services. There are considerable differences in how this taxation is applied from country to country.

PwC's VAT team has extensive experience in providing multi-jurisdictional VAT advice to all industries. We support businesses in ensuring compliance, regularising VAT affairs and identifying indirect tax issues in multiple areas, from acquisitions and disposals to reorganisations and refinancing.

In our day-to-day work, we help clients meet their indirect tax return preparation and filing obligations and provide cross-territory support to meet other indirect tax compliance obligations. We also:

  • interpret contracts and advise on VAT treatment
  • review products and services to ensure correct VAT classification
  • advise on the VAT treatment of one-off or high-value transactions
  • review supply chains and business model structures
  • assist clients in preparing for Revenue or tax authority audits
  • review VAT compliance functions

Customs planning and duty mitigation

PwC supports domestic and multinational clients in streamlining their customs duty bills. Duty costs are dead costs, and are often built into the cost of goods. As a result, they can be overlooked by businesses trying to strip out supply chain costs.

We work with stakeholders to understand their trade footprint. We identify any reliefs or appropriate duty planning ideas, such as free trade agreements or special procedures. These can take time and resources to set up, but can bring significant long-term cost-efficiencies. 

Examples include:

  • Carrying out origin reviews to optimise use of free trade agreements.

  • Reviewing and setting up special procedures such as inward processing, customs warehousing, etc.

  • Identifying other reliefs that may apply, such as returned goods relief.

Customs compliance

We are in an era of trade uncertainty. Trade wars and protectionism are rife, which means that any cross-border movements of goods must be completed compliantly.

PwC supports clients in closing known customs compliance gaps. We also undertake broader reviews of clients' customs functions and help ensure that the correct compliance processes and implementation controls are in place. We focus on the main areas of compliance: tariff classification, customs valuation and country of origin.

Examples include:

  • Drafting or reviewing internal and external customs procedures.

  • Carrying out external audits (or pre-audits) of import or export declarations to identify errors or risks.

  • Supporting clients when applying for Authorised Economic Operator status.

Excise and export controls

As global trade grows, businesses will increasingly operate in multiple legal and regulatory environments around the world. While this is encouraging from a growth perspective, risks must nevertheless be managed.

From import/export control management to trade control regulations, there's a lot to get right when conducting business on an international scale. Get it wrong, however, and you could face overpaid customs and excise duties, supply chain delays and harsh penalties.

Our expert team can provide advice on the legal and practical requirements for excise duty and licensing. This could be the harmonised EU excise duties on alcohol, tobacco or mineral oils, or Ireland's national excise duties such as VRT and the sugar-sweetened drinks tax. Our team is also experienced in export controls, which carry significant penalties for non-compliance, and can provide licensing, export classification and other advisory support to your business.

Relevant contracts tax

Relevant contracts tax (RCT) is a withholding tax system that applies to many industries. There is a common misconception that RCT is only relevant to the construction, meat processing and forestry industries. In fact, a broad range of businesses fall within the scope of RCT.

As the penalties for non-compliance with RCT are severe, it is important that all organisations consider their RCT obligations before undertaking any property development, refurbishment or repair activities, or engaging in activities involving meat or forestry.

PwC's RCT team works with clients in all sectors, including real estate investors, financial services, telecoms, retail, energy, health, education and not-for-profit. We ensure that they comply with their Principal Contractor obligations. We also support clients who are subcontractors for RCT purposes in understanding their obligations as a subcontractor, as well as assisting with RCT refund claims and advising on strategies to minimise the cash flow impact of RCT withholding.

Stamp duty

Often the forgotten tax that crops up at the last minute, stamp duty can be a significant transaction cost.

While most people associate stamp duty with house purchases, it applies to many other types of property as well. Examples include other land and buildings, shares, business assets, leases, insurance policies and bank cards.

From a 1% charge on certain shares to a 10% charge on certain residential property or shares deriving their value from such property, getting stamp duty wrong—or failing to plan for stamp duty—can be costly.

When considering any transaction involving Irish property, or where documentation will be executed in Ireland or relate to anything done or to be done in Ireland, you must consider stamp duty from the outset.

PwC's highly experienced stamp duty team is here to help you through all stages of your transaction, from concept to completion.


Businesses are increasingly expected to play a lead role in the drive towards a sustainable future. This has been brought to the fore in recent years by investors, shareholders and stakeholders alike.

While companies' environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies are well documented, an often overlooked contributor to a more sustainable future is tax policy. With the right approach, tax policy can be leveraged to promote investment, encourage job creation and contribute to socio-economic prosperity.

PwC has identified four key areas where tax policy can play a critical role in Ireland's decarbonisation journey in particular. They are supporting renewable energy adoption, environmental taxes and incentives, Ireland as a 'green finance hub', and incentivising consumer behaviour.

PwC is committed to supporting businesses on this journey, as they work to incorporate sustainability into their business strategy and build long-term value for all stakeholders.

Budget 2025

Leveraging tax policies for sustainable business growth.

Contact us

Emma O'Dea

Partner, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

Tel: +353 87 29 26 795

John O'Loughlin

Partner, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

Tel: +353 87 6533989

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