Guidance

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 need to show us how you worked it out.

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

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

Example for working 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 and 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 need to pay duty on goods that have been repaired or replaced free of charge, by the manufacturer or seller, under a guarantee, if the following conditions are met:

  • the proper outward processing procedure is followed, for example using the proper customs procedure code
  • you must present enough documentation to prove that the goods being imported were exported under the outward processing arrangement
  • the repair is free of charge and you can show proof of the guarantee terms
  • the guarantee cost was included in the original cost of the goods and in their customs value at original import

We may sometimes need to look into individual cases because guarantee arrangements can be different between manufacturers and sellers.

You will need to pay duty on the value of any warranty or service contract that was not included in the original import value. This is because the cost is considered part of the overall value of the repaired or replacement 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 need to complete an information sheet.

You need a separate information sheet for each commodity code and you need to include:

  • 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 need to include your outward processing authorisation number on your import declaration.

We will also need to see documents that prove that:

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

In some cases, you may not be able to prove that the 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 need 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 need 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, 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.

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 a free trade agreement

Subject to the conditions outlined in the agreement, you can export UK free circulation goods for repair or alteration to the other free trade agreement territory, without applying Customs Duty when importing them back into the UK.

Normal import VAT rules apply, subject to the outward processing procedure.

You must check the conditions of the respective free trade agreement:

If you’re using the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system

For free circulation goods to be exported from the UK and re-imported after repair or alteration in another free trade agreement territory, the following outward processing customs procedure codes are available:

  • 21 00 004 to export under authorisation by declaration
  • 61 21 001 to re-import goods previously exported under customs procedure code 21 00 004
  • 21 00 000 to export under a full outward processing authorisation
  • 61 21 000 to re-import under a full outward processing authorisation

Find more information about customs procedure codes.

If you’re using Customs Declaration Service software

For free circulation goods to be exported from the UK and re-imported after repair or alteration in another free trade agreement territory, the following outward processing customs procedure codes are available.

Requested Procedure 2100

To export under authorisation by declaration or a full outward processing authorisation use the appropriate Additional Procedure Code:

  • 000
  • 0GD
  • 46P

Requested Procedure 6121

To re-import goods under a full outward processing authorisation or goods which have been previously exported under customs procedure code 21 00 004, use the appropriate Additional Procedure Code:

  • 000
  • 1CD
  • 1CG
  • 1MO
  • 1XW
  • 46P

Get more information

Find more information about:

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 19 December 2022 + show all updates
  1. Clarification on when you do not need to pay duty has been added to the Duty on goods you export for repair section.

  2. Information about exporting goods for repair or alteration under a free trade agreement using the Customs Declaration Service has been added.

  3. The section 'Exporting goods for repair or alteration under a free trade agreement' has been updated.

  4. The section ‘Exporting goods for repair or alteration under a Free Trade Agreement’ has been updated.

  5. 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.

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

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

  8. First published.