Guidance

Paying VAT and duties on imports

If you’re importing goods from outside the EU, you can pay import VAT and any duties that are due in a number of ways.

Not paying at the time goods enter the UK

If you have a duty deferment approval, you’ll be able to delay payment of import VAT and duties until an agreed future date.

This means:

  • you delay paying the charges for an average of 30 days
  • you do not have to pay immediately each time you want to clear your goods
  • HMRC can normally clear your goods more quickly because they do not have to handle payments for each transaction

You’ll be able to get copies of your duty deferment statements online.

If you’re registered for UK VAT you’ll get a C79 import VAT certificate which you’ll need to claim import VAT as input tax on your VAT Return.

Paying at the time goods enter the UK

You can use the flexible accounting system when your goods move across the border if:

  • you want to pay by cash, card, cheque or bank transfer
  • you’re a Direct Trader Input (DTI) agent (this means you process import entries through a computer terminal linked to Custom Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF)

You use the account in a similar way to a bank current account, with the exception that there are no charges for using the account, no overdraft facility and no interest.

If you’re registered for UK VAT you’ll get a C79 import VAT certificate which you’ll need to claim import VAT as input tax on your VAT Return.

Published 1 March 2019