In this review, we present a brief summary of the theoretical methods most frequently used in gas-phase ion chemistry. In subsequent sections, the performance of these methods is analyzed, paying attention to the reliability of geometries, vibrational frequencies, energies, and entropies. The possible pathologies of the different methods, in the form of instabilities of the wave function or spin contamination problems, are discussed. Several examples are presented to illustrate the usefulness of ab initio or density functional theory (DFT) methods to predict the existence of elusive molecules and/or to characterize non-conventional structures, and to rationalize the charge redistributions normally associated with ion-molecule interactions and which result in bond-weakening or bond-reinforcement effects. Finally, the role of non-classical structures in ion-molecule interactions is also illustrated with different examples.