Guidance

How to treat goods brought by travellers returning to the UK (CIP22)

Find out how to report goods for personal use that are above a travellers allowance, and goods that aren't for personal use.

Background procedure

It’s come to the attention of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that some freight forwarding agents are declaring goods that are in excess of a traveller’s personal allowance as merchandise in baggage (MIB) on the traveller’s arrival in the UK.

A traveller may wish to employ a freight forwarding agent to make a customs entry on their behalf for MIB goods. In this case a customs entry is not for personal goods declared in excess of the personal allowance.

The different procedures are detailed below.

Merchandise in baggage - Public Notice 6

MIB refers to goods which are:

  • not in free circulation in the EU or goods that are in free circulation prior to export
  • carried by travellers in accompanied baggage or in private vehicles for trade or business use
  • not recorded on the ship or aircraft manifest as freight
  • not the personal property of the passenger

They include:

  • goods acquired for your company
  • goods for sale
  • spare parts
  • trade samples

You must complete a customs declaration if you either:

MIB goods are not allowed to form part of your passenger allowances.

Goods in excess of travellers allowance - Border Force Notice 1

When travelling from outside the EU (including the Channel Islands and Gibraltar), you can bring in goods up to the limits shown in Notice 1 without paying duty or tax in the UK. These goods must be for your own use or as gifts and transported by you.

If you intend to sell or accept any kind of payment for the goods you bring in, then this is classed as commercial use (see Merchandise in baggage).

If you have personal goods in excess of your allowance to declare, you must use the red channel or red point phone. There’s no requirement to make a customs entry. The UK Border Force officer in the red channel will assess the duty or taxes due and issue you with a duty slip.

Contact details

For further information please email: carol.dicker@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk, Telephone: 03000 594 052 or write to:

Excise and Customs Law Team
7th Floor SW
Alexander House
21 Victoria Avenue
Southend on Sea
Essex
SS99 1AA

Issued on 6 October 2017 by Customs Directorate, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

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Published 25 October 2017