Guidance

Check if you can pay a reduced amount of Customs Duty

If you're a UK-based business, you may be able to pay a reduced amount of Customs Duty for goods you bring or receive into the EU, depending on what they are and what you'll do with them.

Once you have the correct commodity code the trade tariff will show you the rate of duty or import VAT for the goods you are bringing in. This will depend on what they are and where they are from.

If you’re a UK-based business, you may also be able to reduce the amount of Customs Duty depending what you’ll do with them.

Re-importing goods you’ve exported before

If your goods were in free circulation before you exported them you may not need to pay the full rate of duty when you re-import them either:

Importing goods to process or repair them

When you import goods for processing or repair and then put them into free circulation you may be able to pay the rate of duty based on either:

  • the goods at the time they were declared
  • the goods when they are put into free circulation

Educational and cultural goods

You can claim relief from duty on:

Medical or scientific goods

You can claim relief from duty on:

Printed and promotional goods

You can claim relief from duty on printed goods if they are:

You can claim relief from duty on goods used for the promotion of trade if they are:

Goods for industrial or commercial research

You can claim relief from customs duty, import VAT and in some cases excise duty on goods imported for testing to find out their composition, quality or other characteristics for information, or for industrial or commercial research.

Goods put to a specific use

You can claim relief from duty on goods that are identified in the trade tariff as being eligible for end-use relief such as:

  • shipwork goods
  • helicopters, aeroplanes and other aircraft for civil use
  • hydrocarbon oil
  • marine propulsion engines
  • military equipment
  • fish
  • cheese
  • casein (used in the cheese industry)

Sea produce

You can claim relief from duty on sea produce or goods produced or manufactured at sea, if brought direct to the UK.

Moving your business to the UK

You can claim relief from duty on capital goods, for example machinery and tools, when you move your business to the UK.

Goods used for funerals and memorials

You can claim relief from duty on materials for the construction, upkeep or ornamentation of memorials to, or cemeteries for, war victims.

Receiving goods by post

When you receive goods by post you can claim relief from duty on:

Goods for charity or supporting people with disabilities

If you’re a charitable organisation you can claim relief from duty on goods for:

If you have a disability or are an organisation that supports people with disabilities you can claim relief on goods to:

Goods for personal use

You can claim relief from duty on:

Delaying Customs Duty and import VAT

As well as reducing the duty you need to pay, you may be able to delay Customs Duty and import VAT.

Published 16 September 2019
  1. Step 1 Check if you need to follow this process

    You need to follow these steps if you're bringing goods into the UK - for example for selling, processing or using in your business.

    What you need to do is different if you are:

  2. Step 2 Register your business for importing

    1. Get an EORI number
    2. Check if you need to register for VAT

    You can apply for simplified declaration procedures and for Authorised Economic Operator status. These are most suitable for businesses that import goods regularly.

    1. Find out about using simplified declaration procedures
    2. Check if Authorised Economic Operator status is right for you
  3. 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
    2. Find out what you'll need to do if you make the customs declaration yourself
  4. Step 4 Classify your goods

    You must find the right commodity code to classify the goods you're importing. This will tell you the rate of duty you need to pay and if you need an import licence.

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

    1. Find the right commodity code for your goods
  5. and Find out if you can delay or reduce your duty payment

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

    1. You are currently viewing: Find out if you can pay a lower rate of duty
    2. Find out if you can delay paying duty
  6. Step 5 Value your goods

    How much VAT and duty you pay depends on the value of your goods and the rate of duty you need to pay.

    1. Work out the value of your goods for customs
  7. Step 6 Get a licence or certificate if you need one

    You might need to get a licence or certificate if you're importing things like plant or animal products, high-risk food or feed, medicines, textiles, chemicals or firearms.

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

    1. Find out if you need a licence or certificate for the goods
  8. Step 7 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

    You'll then be told how much VAT and duty to pay.

    You’ll also be sent an Import VAT Certificate (C79) in the post as proof you have paid.

  9. Step 8 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 C79.

    1. Find out how to claim a VAT refund
  10. Step 9 If you paid the wrong amount of duty or rejected the goods

  11. Step 10 Keep invoices and records

    You must keep records of commercial invoices and any customs paperwork, including your C79.

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