Using outward processing to process or repair your goods

Find out what you can do with your goods when they are being processed or repaired using outward processing.

Work out your duty payments

You’re responsible for working out the duty you want to claim, and you’ll need to show us the calculations you used.

You need to get these calculations right as they’ll decide on the level of duty you’ll pay.

The amount is based on the costs of processing or repairing the exported goods and bringing them back into the UK.

You’ll need to know the ‘rate of yield’. This is a ratio that shows how many products result from outward processing.

Example How to work out the rate of yield

You export 1 roll of cloth to a dress-maker in the USA and they make 5 dresses - giving a rate of yield of 1:5.

If you re-import a number of different products made up of several different materials you can supply a bill of materials for each product.

If you are using authorisation by declaration for repair and return, the rate of yield will always be one to one (1:1).

Duty on goods you export for repair

You’ll pay duty at re-import on charges made for repair or replacement, plus any inward shipping and insurance costs you pay for the return of the goods.

VAT is charged on the repair costs, plus outward and inward freight charges, plus duty, but excluding insurance charges.

These charges depend on you not paying less for the repair or replacement because you’re related to the seller.

You do not have to pay duty on goods that have been repaired or replaced free of charge under a guarantee. You must show us this guarantee.

You do have to pay duty if a repair is made under a service contract or warranty that you’ve paid for. This is because the cost is considered part of the overall value of your goods.

For replacements, you will be charged VAT on the full VAT replacement value.

Export your goods

Include your outward processing relief authorisation number on your export declaration.

If you’re going to re-import your goods in separate consignments, you will need to complete an INF form.

You need a separate form for each commodity code.

The form needs to include things like:

  • details of your goods such as description and quantity
  • identifying numbers or any other ways for us to match your re-import with your export the expected rate of yield

Re-import your goods

You’ll need to include your outward processing authorisation number on your import declaration.

We’ll also need to see documents that prove:

  • the goods you’re re-importing were exported using outward processing
  • you’ve correctly worked out the amount of duty relief you want to claim

In some cases, you might not be able to prove that goods you exported were used in the process outside the UK. For example, when sugar is exported to a processing company and it’s stored with other sugar before being made into jam.

If this happens, you may still be able to get duty relief by using equivalence.

Re-import in separate consignments

When you re-import your goods in separate consignments, you need to present a copy of the export declaration or departure message.

Simplified declarations

If you claim outward processing relief as part of a simplified declaration, you have to keep detailed records.

Goods not eligible for outward processing

Goods must not be declared for an outward processing procedure if exporting them causes:

  • a remission or repayment of import duty
  • an export refund

Exporting gold using outward processing

If you wish to use outward processing for exporting and re importing gold and jewellery, you will require an authorisation for outward processing. You should send the gold or jewellery to an assay office prior to export in order to identify the carat and quantity of gold being exported.

At re-import when the gold has been made into jewellery you should make sure you have documentation from the jewellery manufacturer showing that your gold has been made into the jewellery being imported.

Duty will only be paid on the processing costs and any additional materials used as all duties must have been paid on the goods prior to export for example they must be union goods.

You should make sure that:

  • the description of the manufactured jewellery is sufficiently detailed to identify the items presented for re-import
  • you hold documentary evidence that the same carat and weight of gold has been processed into the finished jewellery
  • the cost of any stones that have been added to the value or processing costs as non-EU goods

Exporting goods for repair or alteration under Free Trade Agreements

If you export goods for repair or alteration in the context of UK international trade arrangements, you must use the customs procedure code:

  • 21 00 000 to export
  • 61 21 000 to re-import

After you’ve re-imported your goods

When you’ve re-imported your processed or repaired goods and paid all charges due, outward processing will normally end or be ‘discharged’.

Make sure your records show the re-imported goods are the same as the ones you exported, or that they are within or part of the re-imported goods.

Published 20 August 2020
Last updated 2 September 2021 + show all updates
  1. You should no longer use the customs procedure code 21 00 004 when you export goods for repair or alteration in the context of UK international trade arrangements.

  2. Guidance about exporting goods for repair or alteration under Free Trade Agreements has been added.

  3. This page has been updated because the Brexit transition period has ended.

  4. First published.