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HMRC internal manual

ATA/CPD Carnets Manual

National Carnet Unit (NCU): diversions to free circulation

Diversion to free circulation should not be a normal or regular method of discharging a carnet and should only be allowed after carefully considering the circumstances. Release to free circulation is not an automatic right; prior permission must be sought from the National Carnet Unit (NCU).

All applications must be considered on their own merits and account must be taken of the specific circumstances surrounding the application. If it is evident that the goods have been imported on an ATA carnet to delay the payment of import duty and VAT, then the application must be refused. However, if it appears that the diversion is the result of an unforeseen situation, for example goods imported for display at an exhibition where the sale of goods is not intended are sold to an EU resident then diversion should be allowed.

When giving permission to divert, the NCU should instruct the applicant to provide a C88 (SAD) under CPC 40 53 000. The carnet holder should send the diversion entry, the carnet and the duty, VAT and compensatory interest to the NCU who will endorse and remove the white re-exportation voucher, endorse the white re-exportation counterfoil and return the carnet to the holder.

If only a portion of the goods imported are diverted, the white re-exportation voucher and white re-exportation counterfoil should be noted showing clearly the goods that are no longer covered by the carnet.

Regular diversions

The NCU will hold the central record of all carnet goods diverted in the UK. If it is apparent that a trader is regularly diverting goods, the NCU should contact the LCCI, inform them of the situation and tell them that the UK will no longer accept carnets issued to that individual. The LCCI will then contact the appropriate third country issuing association and inform them accordingly.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

Where a carnet holder, whose issuing authority has already been advised that the UK will no longer accept carnets issued to that individual makes an application to divert goods, the application is to be refused. The NCU should write to the carnet holder advising them that their application has been refused and that the goods must be re-exported from the EU or put to another form of eligible disposal within the stipulated time limits.