Guidance

Apply for an account to defer duty payments when you import or release goods into Great Britain

Find out how to apply for a duty deferment account so you can delay paying most customs or tax charges when you import goods into Great Britain or release goods from an excise warehouse.

Applies to England, Scotland and Wales

If you need a duty deferment account for:

  • Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021

Find out how to set up an account to defer duty payments when you import goods.

If you import goods regularly, you can apply for a duty deferment account to delay paying most customs or tax charges, for example:

  • Customs Duty
  • excise duties
  • import VAT

You can also apply to delay paying duties on goods released from an excise warehouse.

A duty deferment account lets the importer (or someone who represents them) make one payment a month through Direct Debit instead of paying for individual consignments.

If you’re registered for VAT and your business imports goods, you can account for your import VAT on your VAT Return instead of paying the VAT by duty deferment. You must do this if you’re delaying your declarations.

Who can apply

Anyone can apply for a duty deferment account to pay import duties in Great Britain.

Before you apply

You can apply for a guarantee waiver approval with your duty deferment account application. Find out more about guarantee waivers. Traders that are not established in the UK are not eligible for a guarantee waiver.

To complete your application you’ll need your business’s:

  • EORI number
  • name associated with your EORI number
  • registered company number (if this applies), in the UK this will be from Companies House
  • UK address associated with your EORI number
  • correspondence address
  • VAT number (if this applies)
  • company directors’ and officials’ details, including date of birth
  • person responsible for customs authorisations, their details and practical customs experience
  • your estimated debt

If you apply for a guarantee waiver you may also need:

  • records of any times when your business has not followed customs or tax rules in the last 3 years
  • financial records

Apply to defer Customs Duty, excise duty and import VAT

If you are established outside the UK, you cannot apply for a guarantee waiver. You must guarantee deferment of payment to HMRC.

If you want to defer Customs Duty, excise duty and import VAT you must:

  1. Decide if you want to reduce financial guarantees by using a duty deferment account guarantee waiver approval or Authorised Economic Operator customs simplification (AEOC).

  2. Apply for a duty deferment account and optional guarantee waiver – send with your application a Direct Debit instruction.

If you are not applying for, or have not received a guarantee waiver approval, you will need to provide a guarantee from a financial institution that’s established in the UK and regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority.

You should not submit a guarantee unless we ask you to provide one after you have applied for a duty deferment account.

If you’re applying to defer excise duty

This application would apply to any excise duty deferred at importation or released from an excise warehouse.

You also can still use the Excise Payment Security System after 1 January 2021 for duty deferment that is not part of importation or releasing goods from an excise warehouse.

If you’re applying to defer import VAT

You can apply to defer import VAT if you are a trader who is either:

  • not VAT registered
  • VAT-registered and not accounting for VAT on your VAT Return

You do not need to apply for a deferment account to defer import VAT if you are using postponed VAT accounting for imports.

If you’re applying for a guarantee waiver of up to £10,000 per month

You may need to tell HMRC more information about your finances using form PFS1 if you:

  • do not file accounts at Companies House
  • file consolidated accounts at Companies House

Authorised Economic Operators for Customs (AEOC and AEOF) do not need to upload a PFS1.

If you’re applying for a guarantee waiver of over £10,000 per month

You will need to provide additional information about your financial standing using the PFS1 form and provide supporting documents with your application.

Authorised Economic Operators for Customs (AEOC and AEOF) do not need to upload a PFS1.

Find out more about the supporting documents you need to provide.

After you’ve applied

If your application is approved

When we have all the information to process your application, we will aim to complete this within 30 working days. If you need to apply for a financial guarantee, this may take longer.

If your application is approved and a Direct Debit is in place you will get a deferment approval number. You will need to use this on your import declarations or to remove goods from an excise warehouse.

If you do not use your duty deferment account immediately, you will still need to provide your direct debit instruction. We will not be able to activate your account if you do not provide it when you submit your application. This may cause a delay in activating your account when you do need to use it.

If the amount of your deferral limit is less than your guarantee waiver

If there’s a gap between your requested deferral limit and the amount of guarantee waiver you qualify for, we’ll advise you of your options to:

If we do not get a reply from you in 30 days, we may reject your application.

If your application is rejected

If your application is rejected we will inform you of your right to request a review or appeal the decision.

Authorise someone to use your deferment approval number

If you’re using the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system

You can give someone authority to use your duty approval number, including authority to ask for a deferment of duty payment, if your application is approved.

You can make an application by using:

  • the online form
  • form C1207N
  • form C1207S – this can be used on a one-off basis and can only be done when your account is active

If you’re using the Customs Declaration Service

You must use the view your customs financial accounts in the Customs Declaration Service if you want to:

  • give someone authority to use your to use your duty deferment approval number
  • amend a standing authority

Cancel or amend your account

Find out how you can cancel or amend your account by using an online form.

Get more information

Find out more information about how to use your duty deferment account.

Published 29 October 2020
Last updated 15 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. You can also amend a standing authority if you use the Customs Declaration Service.

  2. Guidance has been updated to include information about applying for a duty deferment account in Great Britain if you are established outside of the UK.

  3. The 'Finance dashboard duty deferment account statements' section has been added.

  4. This page has been updated with a new address for sending amendments or cancelling your duty deferment account application.

  5. First published.