© Crown copyright 2018
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: email@example.com.
Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.
This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-361-importing-museum-and-gallery-exhibits-free-of-duty-and-vat/notice-361-importing-museum-and-gallery-exhibits-free-of-duty-and-vat
This notice cancels and replaces Notice 361 (October 2007). Details of any changes to the previous versions can be found in paragraph 1.2 of this notice.
Other notices on this or related subjects
1. About the notice, the law and your rights
1.1 What this notice is about
This notice tells you how you can permanently import exhibits for museums and galleries from:
- outside the Customs Union free of duty and VAT
- the special territories or countries having a Customs Union with the EC, free of VAT
If you’re temporarily importing exhibits to re-export in due course, you should read Notice 200: Temporary Admissions.
The glossary at section 4 explains the meaning of some of the particular words, phrases and abbreviations used.
This notice has been restructured and rewritten to improve readability. In addition, the facility to temporarily import VAT only exhibits, using Customs Procedure Code (CPC) 53 00 41 and without giving security, publicised in the previous edition, has been withdrawn.
This notice and others mentioned are available both on paper and on our website.
1.2 Changes from the earlier version of this notice
Changes to the legal reference from the European Commission to include latest regulations, updated to reflect current practices for ‘Right To Be Heard’ and reviews or tribunals.
The National Import Reliefs Unit (NIRU) address has also been updated.
1.3 The law and this notice
This notice is based on the following laws:
- Council Regulation (EC) No 1186/2009, Article 43
- Council Regulation (EU) No 1225/2011
- the Value Added Tax (Imported Goods) Relief Order 1984, Schedule 2, Group 9
This notice is not the law. It’s our view of the law and nothing in this notice takes the place of the law. Anyone who gives false information about goods declared under these arrangements may be liable to penalties under the Finance Act 2003.
1.4 What to do if I disagree with a customs decision
When you receive an adverse customs decision from HMRC you’ll first be issued with a pre-notification communication explaining the reasons why the adverse decision has been made.
This pre-notification is called your ‘Right To Be Heard’ and once issued, you’ll have a period of 30 calendar days in which you may make further representations or provide further information to HMRC concerning the decision.
If you do not agree with the decision issued to you, there are 2 options available:
- if you want a review you should write back to the decision maker within 30 days of the date of their letter, giving your reasons why you do not agree with their decision
- appeal direct to the Tribunal who are independent of HMRC
If you choose to have your case reviewed you’ll still be able to appeal to the Tribunal if you disagree with the outcome. HMRC1: HM Revenue and Customs decisions - what to do if you disagree gives more information about reviews and appeals.
You can also phone the Imports and Exports Helpline.
1.5 Where to get more information about the Community System of Duty Reliefs
This notice explains the general principles of this particular customs procedure that comes under the Community System of Duty Reliefs. It does not attempt to cover every aspect in detail. If you want more advice contact imports and exports general enquiries.
2. Relief conditions
2.1 The conditions for duty relief
You can get duty relief if:
- the NIRU has approved your establishment - we explain how to get NIRU approval in paragraph 3.1, and give their contact details in section 4
- the exhibits are of a scientific, educational or cultural nature and not for sale
- the exhibits are dispatched directly on import to your approved establishment
- you use the items concerned exclusively as exhibits under your control
- you keep a record of the exhibits
2.2 The conditions for VAT relief
You can get VAT relief if you meet the conditions in paragraph 2.1 and the exhibits have been donated free of charge to you. We’ll relax the last condition when:
- you buy the exhibits from a private person
- the supply to you is not in the course or furtherance of any business
2.3 You do not always have to claim this relief
Some goods, including works of art, may already be subject to a nil rate of duty in the Tariff. Most are however liable to VAT, either at the current full standard rate or, in the case of certain works of art at a reduced rate of 5% (see VAT Notice 702: imports).
You need only follow the procedures in this notice if you wish to claim relief on goods liable to a positive rate of duty, and/or wish to claim relief from VAT.
2.4 The restriction on the disposal of the goods
You may lend, hire out or transfer the exhibits to another approved establishment without payment of duty and VAT as long as you first notify NIRU. Their contact details are in section 4.
You must pay us the duty and VAT if you dispose of the exhibits in any other way. Phone the helpline on Telephone: 0300 200 3700 for more details.
Our officers may visit you to confirm the conditions of the relief are being met.
2.5 Prohibitions or restrictions
There are some goods which are strictly controlled, for example, if an item contains ivory. You can find information about these in the Tariff, Volume 1, Part 3 or from the helpline on Telephone: 0300 200 3700.
3. How to claim relief
3.1 How to apply for approval
The head of your establishment or an authorised representative must apply for approval to NIRU at the address shown in section 4. Explain the scope and nature of the exhibits in your application. You should do this as far in advance of the first anticipated importation as possible.
If your application is successful, NIRU will issue you with an approval letter.
The approval letter entitles the holder to use this relief for the next 3 years, from the date of issue of the letter. Re-approval must be sought promptly from NIRU before the 3 year approval period expires
3.2 What to do with the approval letter
You should present a copy of it to us at the port or airport each time you import goods on which you claim relief.
3.3 How to claim relief on goods imported as freight or in baggage
You must claim relief by completing an import declaration on a Single Administrative Document (SAD form C88). You can get an import agent to do this, but if you want to complete the SAD yourself and need more information about the details required for the import declaration, please refer to the Tariff.
Enter one of the following CPC in box 37 of the SAD:
- 40 00 C12 - for exhibits imported from outside the Customs Union on which you claim relief from duty and VAT
- 49 00 C12 - for exhibits imported from one of the special territories or countries having a Customs Union with the EU on which you claim relief from VAT
Also present a copy of the NIRU approval letter.
If you’ve applied for but not yet received NIRU approval, you must give us financial security (for example, a cash deposit or bankers’ guarantee) to cover the duty and VAT before we’ll release the exhibits.
As soon as you receive the NIRU approval letter, send a copy to us at the place where the import declaration was made. Quote the declaration number and date.
We’ll discharge the security if we’re satisfied you qualify for relief.
3.4 How to claim relief on goods imported by post
Ask the sender to write clearly on the package and its accompanying international customs declaration (CN22 or CN23):
‘MUSEUM EXHIBITS: RELIEF CLAIMED’
We may send you a simplified form to complete and return together with a copy of the NIRU approval letter.
If the package is not clearly marked it may not be delivered until you’ve paid the duty and VAT. You should pay these charges and then write to customs at the postal depot where the charges were raised. Explain what happened and enclose a copy of the NIRU approval letter along with the document showing the charges. If we’re satisfied you qualify for relief, we’ll repay the duty and VAT.
3.5 You can claim relief after the goods have been imported?
Normally you should claim relief at the time of import. If you fail to do this, we may accept a belated claim and repay the appropriate charges subject to certain conditions. See Notice 199: imported goods - customs procedures and customs debt for more details, the section and paragraphs on repayment and remission under Code Article 236 refer.
|CPC||Customs Procedure Code. Used on import declarations (form C88) to identify the type of procedure for which the goods are entered|
|Customs Union||The Customs Territories of the EU, Turkey, San Marino and Andorra. The unions between the EU and these countries enable most goods in free circulation to move freely between them without the need to claim import duty relief, subject to the production of any necessary preference or Community Transit documentation. For Andorra, the union only covers goods in chapters 25 to 97 of the Tariff. VAT is still due on imports from Turkey, San Marino and Andorra however unless the relief explained in this notice is applicable and claimed|
|Duty||Taxes we charge on imported goods under the combined nomenclature of the community. These include Customs Duty, Common Agricultural Policy charges and Anti-Dumping Duty|
|EU||The European Union:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus*, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK
*The European Commission has advised that the application of the Community Customs Code and 6th VAT Directive shall be suspended in those areas of Cyprus in which the government of the Republic of Cyprus doesn’t exercise effective control. Goods from those areas will continue from 1 May 2004 to be treated as non-EU imports
|Exhibits||Collectors’ pieces and works of art of an educational, scientific or cultural character|
|NIRU||National Import Reliefs Unit of HMRC. The address is:
National Import Reliefs Unit
HM Revenue and Customs
52 to 58 Great Victoria Street
Telephone: 03000 513 310
|SAD||Single Administrative Document, customs entry form C88|
|Special territories||Countries or areas that are part of the Customs Territory of the Customs Union but not part of the fiscal (VAT) territory. Goods coming from these territories are therefore liable to VAT unless the relief explained in this notice is applicable and claimed. These territories are: the Åland Islands, the Canary Islands, the Channel Islands, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte Reunion, Saint-Martin (French Republic) Mount Athos|
|Tariff||The Tariff is a 3 volume annual publication which is updated monthly containing useful information about customs import and export requirements|
|Third country||Any country that’s outside the Customs Territory of the EU|
Your rights and obligations
Your Charter explains what you can expect from us and what we expect from you.
Your comments or suggestions
If you have any comments or suggestions to make about this notice, please write to:
HM Revenue and Customs
10th Floor Central
21 Victoria Avenue
Southend on Sea
This address isn’t for general enquiries.
For your general enquiries please contact the helpline on Telephone: 03000 200 3700.
Putting things right
If you’re unhappy with HMRC’s service, please contact the person or office you have been dealing with. They’ll try to put things right. If you’re still unhappy, they will tell you how to complain.
How we use your information
HMRC is a data controller under the Data Protection Act 1998. We hold information for the purposes specified in our notification to the Information Commissioner, including the assessment and collection of tax and duties, the payment of benefits and the prevention and detection of crime, and may use this information for any of them. We may get information about you from others, or we may give information to them. If we do, it will only be as the law permits to:
- check the accuracy of information
- prevent or detect crime
- protect public funds
We may check information we receive about you with what is already in our records. This can include information provided by you, as well as by others, such as other government departments or agencies and overseas tax and customs authorities. We will not give information to anyone outside HMRC unless the law permits us to do so. For more information go to Data Protection.