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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-362-imported-antiques/notice-362-imported-antiques
This notice cancels and replaces Notice 362 (August 2011). Details of any changes to the previous version can be found in paragraph 1.1 of this notice.
1. Basic information about importing antiques
1.1 What is this notice about?
It explains how you can bring antiques into the UK, free of Customs Duty, Excise Duty and, which antiques are eligible for VAT on a reduced value. When we use the word ‘antiques’ in this notice, we mean antiques over 100 years old.
Notes on the law are in paragraph 1.2. Nothing in this notice changes the law.
The technical content in this notice has been restructured to reflect the change from HM Customs and Excise to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), changes in VAT law and to improve readability from the August 2011 edition.
1.2 What is the law covering imports of antiques
Customs Duty antiques of an age exceeding 100 years which are classified under heading 97.06 of the Combined Nomenclature (CN) of the European Communities may be imported free of customs duty. The CN is the legal instrument under which customs duties are charged in the UK. The CN is included in the Schedule of HMRC Integrated Tariff of the UK which is referred to in this notice by its short title ‘Tariff’.
Excise Duty goods (other than spirits and wine) that are proved to our satisfaction to have been manufactured or produced more than 100 years before the date of importation are relieved from excise duty under section 9 of the Customs and Excise Duties (General Reliefs) Act 1979.
VAT antiques which are in excess of 100 years old which are not a work of art or any collection or collector’s piece that is of zoological, botanical, mineralogical, anatomical, historical, archaeological, palaeontological, ethnographic, numismatic or philatelic interest are eligible for a reduced valuation on importation under Section 21(4) and Section 21(5) (b) of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 as amended.
1.3 Which antiques can be free of customs duty?
These are antiques which are classified under heading 97.06 of the Tariff. This covers most antiques but does not include the following 7 categories:
- unused postage or revenue stamps, postal stationery (stamped paper) or the like, of current or new issue in the country to which they are destined (chapter 49)
- pearls, natural or cultured, or precious or semi-precious stones (tariff headings 71.01, 71.02 and 71.03)
- paintings, drawings and pastels, executed entirely by hand, other than drawings of heading No. 49.06 and other than hand-painted or hand-decorated manufactured articles; collages and similar decorative plaques (tariff heading 97.01)
- original engravings, prints and lithographs (tariff heading 97.02)
- original sculptures and statuary, in any material (tariff heading 97.03)
- postage or revenue stamps, stamp-postmarks, first day covers, postal stationery (stamped paper), and the like, used, or if unused not of current or new issue in the country to which they are destined (tariff heading 97.04)
- collections and collectors’ pieces of zoological, botanical, mineralogical, anatomical, historical, archaeological, palaeontological, ethnographic or numismatic interest (tariff heading 97.05)
1.4 Which antiques can be free of Excise Duty?
All antiques except spirits and wine.
1.5 Which antiques are eligible for VAT on a reduced value?
- antiques of an age exceeding 100 years including items of numismatic interest provided they are not part of any collection or a collector’s piece
- postage and revenue stamps of an age exceeding 100 years provided they are not part of any collection or a collector’s piece
Full details of how to calculate the reduced value are contained in VAT Notice 702: imports.
1.6 Prohibitions and restrictions
The normal prohibitions or restrictions on imports also apply to antiques. Details of these are given in the UK Trade Tariff: import prohibitions and restrictions. Our advice service can also give you details. Be sure to mention that the goods are antiques over 100 years old, as this may make a difference.
2. Importing antiques
2.1 How should I enter my goods
For antiques imported in baggage or by post, see paragraph 2.5. For antiques imported by other means; you must complete an entry (form C88). You should put the appropriate Customs Procedure code in box 37.
The procedure codes are:
- 40 00 200 for goods from outside the European Community (EC)
- 49 00 029 for goods imported from Special Territories of the European Community. Refer to VAT Notice 702 Imports
Also complete boxes 44 and 47 as directed in the Tariff at Volume 3, part 3, section 3.1 and Appendix E2.
You must provide, with the entry:
- an age declaration (see paragraph 2.2)
- evidence of age (see paragraph 2.3)
2.2 What is the age declaration?
Your written declaration should read as follows:
‘I declare that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the articles in the form as imported were wholly manufactured or produced more than 100 years before the date of importation’.
Only you, as the importer, can make this declaration.
2.3 What evidence of age can you accept?
For most items we accept the following evidence:
- a certificate of age given by the seller
- a certificate of age given by an independent expert in the country where the goods were acquired
- the catalogue of an auction sale
- a booklet or other document describing the article
However items such as gold and silver antiques may require special treatment see paragraph 2.10.
2.4 What if I do not have satisfactory evidence of age?
For antiques where:
- you do not have the evidence of age
- the evidence you have produced is not satisfactory to us
you may get, at your own expense, a certificate of age from a recognised independent expert in the UK. You must have our agreement before you employ the expert you nominate. The articles must remain in our charge until examined by the expert. On receipt of a satisfactory certificate from the expert the articles will be released free of duty, and at the reduced value for import VAT.
2.5 What happens with antiques carried in baggage?
There are a number of possible situations:
2.5.1 Private imports of a value within the duty and tax free allowances
Your antiques will be free of duty and tax if:
- they are your own property
- they are not for sale or other commercial use
- their value (together with that of other goods) is within the duty and tax free allowances
If all of these conditions apply, you do not need:
- to give the age declaration or evidence of age
- to declare your antiques for duty or tax reasons
2.5.2 Private imports outside the duty and tax free allowances
You must declare these goods. If they are your own property and not for sale or other commercial use, you will be asked to make an age declaration on form C920A (which we will give you) and to produce evidence of age paragraph 2.3). If satisfied, we will release the antiques free of duty. However for import VAT purposes the goods will be taxed on a reduced value.
For unaccompanied baggage, you do the same but you must also fill in an Application for Transfer of Residence (ToR) relief (ToR01).
2.5.3 Private imports without satisfactory evidence of age
Enter the goods as at paragraph 2.
If you have no evidence of age or the evidence you have is not satisfactory to the officer, the antiques may be:
- detained by us
- released by us after you have paid a deposit of the potential duty and tax. This will be repaid to you when you send satisfactory evidence of age
2.5.4 Commercial imports and goods which are not owned by you personally
These goods must be entered as explained in paragraph 2.
2.6 Can I import antiques by post?
Yes. You should tell the sender to add boldly to the usual postal declaration:
‘Antiques - Relief claimed’.
You will be sent a Notice of Arrival (C160). Fill this in and return it to the postal depot with the documents referred to in paragraphs 2.2 and 2.3.
2.7 Repaired, renovated, altered or re-made antiques
You can import these free of duty so long as the work done has not removed the essential character of the original article.
However, duty and tax will be due on articles which within 100 years of being imported have been:
- repaired or renovated by substantial replacement of original material
- substantially altered
- manufactured or assembled even if the parts used for the work were over 100 years old
2.8 Reduced value for VAT
If the work has not removed the essential character of the original article those antiques as defined in paragraph 1.5 will be eligible for importation at the reduced value.
However, if you re-import goods which were temporarily exported for repair, service, making up or processing outside EC territory you will have to pay VAT at the standard rate on the price charged to you for the process or repair. Full details are set out in Notice 702: Imports.
2.9 Antiques re-imported without alteration
Antiques brought back to the UK from a third country under CPCs 40 00 200 and 49 00 029, may be imported free of duty and at the reduced value for VAT (see paragraph 1.5). These should be entered as explained in paragraph 2.
However, goods which meet the conditions for returned goods relief (explained in Notice 236: returned goods free of duty and tax) will qualify for full relief from duty and VAT.
2.10 Special treatment for gold and silver antiques
Some gold and silver antiques qualify for special treatment. These have to be inspected by the London Assay Office. If this happens, you must enter into a bond on form C and E 955 giving security for any duty or tax that may be payable.
You must send the goods at your own risk and expense to the:
When the Assay Master passes antiques over 100 years old, they are released from our control at Goldsmith’s Hall. Articles, which do not qualify for Tariff heading 97.06 or for VAT on a reduced value, will be held pending consideration by Customs. The Assay Master will give you details of these items.
Your rights and obligations
Your charter explains what you can expect from us and what we can expect from you.
Do you have any comments or suggestions?
If you have any comments or suggestions to make about this notice, please write to:
HMRC Tariff Classification Service
21 Victoria Avenue
Southend on Sea
Please note this address is not for general enquiries.
For your general enquiries please phone our Helpline on Telephone: 0300 200 3700.
Putting things right
If you are not satisfied with our service, please let the person dealing with your affairs know what is wrong. We will work as quickly as possible to put things right and settle your complaint. If you are still unhappy, ask for your complaint to be referred to the Complaints Manager.
For more information about our complaints procedures go to www.hmrc.gov.uk and under quick links select Complaints.
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 the Data Protection Act.