Guidance

Claim a waiver for duty on goods that you bring to Northern Ireland from Great Britain

Find out how to claim a waiver if you are bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain which might otherwise be charged ‘at risk’ tariffs.

You will need to make declarations and may need to pay any tariffs due when bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain or from countries outside of the EU. If you are bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, you may be eligible to claim a waiver on Customs Duty, which means that you would not have to pay the duty owed.

If you do not have experience in customs or would like to find out more information, you can register with the Trader Support Service which can support you with this process.

When you can claim

You can claim a waiver for duty on goods you bring into Northern Ireland from Great Britain which might otherwise be charged ‘at risk’ tariffs if you have not exceeded the allowances at the point your import declaration is submitted.

It is currently not possible to claim a waiver on duty for goods that might be charged ‘at risk’ tariffs when entering Northern Ireland from countries outside of the UK and the EU.

It is also not possible to claim a waiver if any part of your business is involved in the:

You may be able to make a retrospective claim for these goods at a later date if you have not exceeded the allowances - more guidance about this will be published shortly.

How much you can claim

If you are eligible to claim a waiver you must do this when your import declaration is submitted.

Waivers for duty on goods that would normally be charged ‘at risk’ tariffs are provided in the form of ‘de minimis aid.’ De minimis aid refers to small amounts of aid given to businesses and is calculated in euros.

Allowances and de minimis aid

Most businesses can claim up to a maximum of €200,000 of aid over 3 tax years. The period of 3 years is assessed on a rolling basis.

This means that every time you get a new grant of de minimis aid, you need to take into account the total amount of de minimis aid granted in the current tax year and during the previous 2 tax years.

The maximum allowance includes all de minimis aid you claim over a period of 3 tax years, including de minimis aid which is not related to Customs Duty, such as Employment Allowance.

There are lower allowances for businesses in the sector of road freight transport for hire or reward. Businesses in this sector, have a maximum allowance of €100,000 over 3 years.

You cannot currently claim a waiver for Customs Duty if your business is involved in the agricultural primary production sector or the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

If your business is involved in more than one sector, the lowest allowance will apply.

If your claim goes over the allowance for the sector that your business is in, you may be subject to recovery proceedings and have to pay interest on the amount you have claimed.

Primary production of agricultural products

If any part of your business is involved in the primary production of agricultural products, you cannot currently claim a waiver for Customs Duty.

An ‘agricultural product’ is any product found in annex 1 to the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union.

‘Primary production of agricultural products’ means the production of products listed in annex 1 (except fishery and aquaculture products), without any further changes to the nature of the products.

On-farm activities which are needed to prepare an animal or plant product for first sale are included in the definition of ‘primary production’. Examples of on-farm activities include:

  • harvesting
  • cutting and threshing of cereals
  • packing eggs

Processing and marketing agricultural products

If you process and market agricultural products but are not involved in the primary production of them, this restriction does not apply. As long as you are not involved in any other sector which has a lower allowance, you are eligible for the general €200,000 limit over 3 tax years.

‘Processing of agricultural products’ means any action to an agricultural product which produces another agricultural product, such as making beer from hops and bread from wheat.

‘Marketing of agricultural products’ means holding or displaying products you are intending to sell or deliver or place on the market in any other way. The exceptions to this are the first sale by a primary producer to resellers or processors and any activity preparing a product for the first sale.

A sale by a primary producer to final consumers is considered marketing if it takes place in separate premises for that purpose.

Production, processing or marketing of fishery and aquaculture products

If any part of your business is involved in the production, processing or marketing of fishery and aquaculture products, you cannot currently claim a waiver for Customs Duty.

A ‘fishery product’ means aquatic organisms resulting from any fishing activity or products derived from them.

An ‘aquaculture product’ means aquatic organisms at any stage of their life cycle resulting from any aquaculture activity or products derived from them.

You can find a full list in annex 1 to the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union.

‘Processing and marketing’ mean all operations, including handling, treatment, production and distribution, performed between the time of landing or harvesting and the end-product stage.

How the allowances apply

Your de minimis allowance applies to the whole of your business, referred to as a ‘single undertaking’. This includes any enterprises linked to your business that have at least one of the following relationships with each other:

  • one enterprise has a majority of the shareholders’ or members’ voting rights in another enterprise
  • one enterprise has the right to appoint or remove a majority of the members of the administrative, management or supervisory body of another enterprise
  • one has the right to exercise a dominant influence over another enterprise in line with a contract entered into with that enterprise or to a provision in its memorandum or articles of association
  • one enterprise, which is a shareholder in or member of another enterprise, controls alone (in line with an agreement with other shareholders in or members of that enterprise) a majority of shareholders’ or members’ voting rights in that enterprise

For example, you must count any de minimis aid received by a parent company or subsidiary as part of your single undertaking’s de minimis allowance.

Before you claim you should check that your business (as a single undertaking) has not exceeded the maximum allowance.

Exchange rate

This type of aid is measured in euros, so it is important to convert any aid received from pound sterling into euros.

You can use this exchange rate tool to calculate the applicable euro equivalent of the value of the waiver for the month you were awarded the aid.

Before you make a claim

Before you claim a waiver for duty, check you’re within the de minimis allowance for your sector. Your allowance includes all de minimis aid you have claimed during the current tax year and previous 2 tax years from all UK public authorities, including central and local government.

De minimis aid could include subsidised contracts, loans or grants. If you are unsure if an aid you claim is counted as de minimis aid you should contact the provider.

By claiming a waiver for Customs Duty, you are making a legal declaration that your claim will not result in you exceeding the allowance for your sector.

Example

A business is eligible to claim a waiver for duty because the amount of de minimis state aid they received is below the sector allowance

Claim year - 2020 to 2021 (for example, they claim on 30 March 2021).

Sector - industrial

De minimis aid 2018 to 2019 = €1,000

De minimis aid 2019 to 2020 = €1,200

De minimis aid 2020 to 2021 = €5,739 (this includes £4,000 of waivers for Customs Duty, converted into euros)

Total de minimis aid = €7,939

Allowance for industrial sector = €200,000

This is under the €200,000 allowance.

Example

A business is not eligible to claim a waiver for duty as the amount of de minimis state aid they have received is above the sector allowance.

Claim year - 2021 to 2022 (for example, they claim on 5 June 2021)

Sector - industrial

De minimis aid 2019 to 2020 = €1,200

De minimis aid 2020 to 2021 = €150,739 (this includes £4,000 of waivers for Customs Duty, converted into euros)

De minimis aid 2021 to 2022 = €70,439 (this includes £4,000 of waivers for Customs Duty, converted into euros)

Total de minimis aid = €222,378

Allowance for industrial sector = €200,000

This is above the €200,000 allowance.

How to claim

You need to submit a customs declaration each time you move goods. The Trader Support Service or your own customs agent will be able to complete customs declarations and make a claim on your behalf.

If you complete customs declarations yourself, you can use the UK Trade Tariff: volume 3.

  1. You claim a waiver for Customs Duty on your import declaration. This is the only way you can make a claim.

  2. Fill in the Customs Duty waivers form to give us more information about your waiver claims after your import declaration has been submitted.

  3. Save and print the form.

  4. Send the completed form to: Customs Duty waivers, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1XW.

  5. You must print an extra copy of the form and keep it for 10 years from the date you send it to us.

When you first claim a waiver

You must make sure that we receive the Customs Duty waivers form by no later than 10 working days of you making your first claim.

How often you’ll need to fill in the Customs Duty waivers form

After you’ve made your first claim

The UK tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April of the next year. For the purpose of claiming Customs Duty waivers, quarters are the three-month periods ending on:

  • 5 July
  • 5 October
  • 5 January
  • 5 April

If you make another claim in the same quarter as your first claim, you need to submit a Customs Duty waiver form at the end of the next quarter. You must make sure that we receive the form within 10 working days of the end of that quarter.

You do not have to send a form each time you claim a waiver. You only have to send a form on a quarterly basis, and only if you have claimed at least one waiver in the quarter. You must make sure that we receive the form within 10 working days of the end of the quarter.

What you’ll need to fill in the form

To fill in the Customs Duty waivers form, you’ll need:

If you’re a customs agent

If you’re an agent claiming on behalf of your client, you’ll need to:

  • have permission from your client to claim a waiver
  • use both your EORI and your client’s EORI
  • make sure your client understands which aid allowance applies to them based on the sectors they operate in
  • make sure your client holds information about all other de minimis aid claimed in the last 3 tax years so that their aid allowance is not exceeded
  • record accurate information on aid claimed against a duty
  • make sure you or your client submits the Customs Duty waivers form when necessary
  • provide details of each aid claim to your client so that they are able to retain records as required for 10 years

What to do if you exceed your allowance

If your claims exceed the allowance for the sector that your business is in, you must:

  • stop claiming waivers for Customs Duty
  • email customs.dutywaivers@hmrc.gov.uk as soon as you realise you have exceeded your allowance, and provide information including the:
    • name of person making the notification
    • importer business name
    • importer EORI
    • email address
    • contact phone number
    • the sector your business belongs to (road freight transport for hire or reward, fisheries and aquaculture, agricultural primary production or other)
    • total de minimis aid claimed in 3 tax years

You cannot use this email address for anything else. For example, you cannot send the Customs Duty waivers form to this email address. You must post it instead.

Published 21 December 2020
Last updated 10 May 2021 + show all updates
  1. The information about allowances and de minimis aid has been updated.

  2. Added new section: What to do if you exceed your allowance.

  3. Information has been updated about how often you’ll need to fill in the Customs Duty waivers form after you’ve made your first claim.

  4. First published.