Guidance

Check if you can delay customs payments and declarations

Find out what options you have to delay sending HMRC information about goods and paying Customs Duty when you move them into or out of Great Britain (England, Scotland or Wales).

Use this tool to check if you can delay paying Customs Duty or sending HMRC information about goods you move into or out of Great Britain. This includes:

  • delaying payments of Customs Duty when importing goods
  • delaying sending HMRC information about goods you import or export
  • moving goods from your premises into or out of Great Britain

This tool does not include information about goods you’ll move into or out of Northern Ireland.

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Find out more information on paying a reduced rate of Customs Duty.

Published 16 September 2019
Last updated 30 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. The tool to check if you can delay paying Customs Duty or sending HMRC information about goods you move into or out of Great Britain has been updated.

  2. First published.

  1. Step 1 Check if you need to follow this process

    Follow these steps if you're moving goods permanently to:

    • England, Wales or Scotland (Great Britain) from a country outside the UK
    • Northern Ireland from a country outside the UK and the EU

    What you need to do is different if you are:

  2. Step 2 Get your business ready to import

    You need an EORI number that starts with GB to import goods into England, Wales or Scotland. You'll need a new one if you have an EORI that does not start with GB.

    If you move goods to or from Northern Ireland you may need one that starts with XI.

    1. Get an EORI number

    There are processes that can make clearing customs quicker and easier to manage if you have to make import declarations regularly.

    1. Find out about using simplified declaration procedures
    2. Check if Authorised Economic Operator status is right for you
  3. and Check the business sending you the goods can export to the UK

    The business sending you the goods may need:

    • to make an export declaration in their country
    • licences or certificates to send goods to the UK

    Check whoever is sending the goods is able to export them from their country.

  4. Step 3 Decide who will make customs declarations and transport the goods

    You can hire someone to deal with customs and transport the goods for you, or you can do it yourself.

    Most businesses that import goods use a transporter or customs agent.

    1. Find out how to hire someone to deal with customs for you
  5. Step 4 Find out the commodity code for your goods

    You’ll need to include the commodity code on your import declaration. This will determine the rate of duty you need to pay and if you need an import licence.

    You’ll need to include the commodity code on your import declaration.

    Your customs agent or transporter might be able to help you with this.

    1. Find the right commodity code for your goods
  6. and Work out the value your goods

    When you make your import declaration, you’ll need to include the value of your goods - this helps work out how much duty and VAT you’ll need to pay.

    1. Work out the value of your goods for customs
  7. Step 5 Find out if you can delay or reduce your duty payment

    If the UK has a trade agreement with the country you're importing from, you may be able to pay less duty or no duty on the goods (known as a 'preferential rate').

    1. Find out if you can claim a preferential rate of duty

    You may also be able to delay or reduce the amount of duty you pay based on what the goods are and what you plan to do with them.

    1. Find out if you can pay a lower rate of duty
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  8. Step 6 Check if you need a licence or certificate for your goods

  9. Step 7 Check the labelling, marking and marketing rules

  10. Step 8 Get your goods through customs

    If you've appointed someone to deal with UK customs for you, they'll make the declaration and get your goods through the UK border.

    1. Make an import declaration yourself and get your goods cleared by UK customs
  11. Step 9 Claim a VAT refund

    If you're VAT registered, you can claim back any VAT you paid on the goods you've imported. You’ll need your Import VAT Certificate (C79).

    1. Find out how to claim a VAT refund
  12. Step 10 If you paid the wrong amount of duty or rejected the goods

  13. Step 11 Keep invoices and records

    You must keep records of commercial invoices and any customs paperwork, including your Import VAT Certificate (C79).

    If you imported controlled goods, for example firearms, keep any paperwork that shows who owns them.