Guidance

Apply for the Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme

Find out if you need to register to store goods in the UK for sellers established outside the UK or EU.

If you store goods in the UK for sellers established outside the UK or EU, you may need to apply for the Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme.

It is a criminal offence to trade before your application has been approved by HMRC.

Once you’re approved:

You’ll be charged penalties if you do not apply at the right time.

Who must apply

You need to apply if your business stores any goods that:

  • were imported from a country outside the UK or EU
  • are owned by, or stored on behalf of, someone established outside the UK or EU
  • are being offered for sale and have not been sold in the UK before

You’ll also need to apply if the goods are released into free circulation after being stored under a customs regime.

You should still apply if you store goods this way, even if you:

  • do not think you’re a fulfilment business
  • are registered with HMRC for other schemes that require due diligence on customers

Businesses that must not register

Do not apply now if:

  • you own the stored goods
  • your main business is transporting goods and you need to store those goods temporarily (for example, overnight) as part of your transport services

However, you’ll need to apply when the goods are released into free circulation if you continue to store those goods and they’re still offered for sale.

When to apply

If your business is covered by this scheme you must apply before you begin trading. If not, you:

  • will not be allowed to trade as a fulfilment business
  • risk a £10,000 penalty and a criminal conviction

If your application is late, HMRC can charge you a penalty of up to £500. This could increase by up to £500 each month your application is late, up to a maximum of £3,000.

What you’ll need

To apply, you need a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you apply.

To check your business details we’ll try to match them to an HMRC record that holds your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).

This will be your:

  • company UTR as a limited company
  • Self Assessment UTR for an ordinary business partnership
  • individual Self Assessment UTR as a sole trader

You’ll also need to know:

  • the UTR you use for yourself, your company or partnership
  • the names of all business directors, company secretaries or partners, and either their National Insurance number, or if they are a non-UK resident, their passport number or national ID number
  • approximately how many customers, that your business currently stores goods for, are established outside the UK or EU
  • the addresses of any storage premises in the UK used to store third-party goods imported from outside the UK or EU, and whether these premises are operated by third parties
  • how long you’ve operated at your main business address
  • any previous addresses the business has operated from in the last 3 years
  • your business’s company registration number and date of incorporation (if you’re applying as a limited company)
  • the business’s UK VAT registration number (if it has one)
  • the names, VAT registration numbers or company registration numbers of any company officers, if they’re a company rather than an individual
  • any EORI number that the business currently uses

Apply

Apply online for the Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme.

If you’re not a sole trader, limited company or ordinary business partnership, you’ll need to email HMRC to apply. Otherwise, you must apply online.

You can email: indirecttax.projectteam@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.

You cannot use an agent to apply on behalf of your business.

Change or withdraw your application

You can change your application at any time before HMRC has given their decision.

Tell HMRC about a change to your application using the online service. Your application will be treated as being received on the date you tell HMRC about the change.

Withdraw your application using the online service.

What happens next

HMRC will do checks on your application and the people involved in your business.

Check the progress of your application.

HMRC will use the secure messaging facility to:

  • make any requests
  • tell you if your application has been approved or rejected

You can access the secure messaging facility by signing in.

Your application may be withdrawn if you do not give HMRC more information or permission to inspect your premises when they ask for it.

If your application is rejected, HMRC will tell you why.

If your application is approved

If your application is approved, you’ll receive confirmation from HMRC which will include:

  • the unique reference number allocated to the approved person
  • the date from which you’re approved
  • any conditions or restrictions imposed on the approved person
  • details of the records you’ll need to keep
  • details of the checks you’ll need to do

You’ll also be added to the Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme registered businesses list.

When you’re approved, you must:

Published 6 November 2017
Last updated 24 November 2020 + show all updates
  1. Guidance on when to apply has been updated.

  2. Some information has been taken out of this guide and put into 2 new guides to give more details on what FHDDS approved businesses need to do as of 1 April 2019.

  3. Guidance on how to apply for the Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme has been updated.

  4. You can now cancel your registration or change your registered details using the online service.

  5. Link to contact VAT general enquiries replaced with excise enquiries.

  6. Guidance under heading 'Businesses that must be registered' has been updated.

  7. Page updated with link to new application service and further information what information you'll need to apply to register.

  8. Page has been updated to include text that has force of law. 'When you're registered' section amended to give more information about the records you need to keep from 1 April 2019.

  9. First published.