This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Customs Authorisation and Approval

Overview of customs regimes and procedures requiring prior authorisation or approval: Comprehensive Guarantees

As stipulated in article 195(1) of the Code, where goods are placed under a customs procedure that may incur a customs debt, the goods may not be released to the procedure without the customs debt being paid or a guarantee being provided to cover the debt.

Article 89 (5) of the Code provides for an economic operator to be authorised to use a comprehensive guarantee to cover the customs duty liabilities (and other charges, as appropriate) for two or more transactions, procedures or regimes.  For details on when other charges should be included in the guarantee, please see section CAA10160

The guarantee will have a reference amount stating the maximum liabilities that may be covered by the guarantee at any point in time.  The reference amount in relation to potential debts must be sufficient to cover the highest rate of duty applicable to the goods (for example the full rate of duty regardless of any preferential or end use rates that may be eventually claimed).  Economic operators applying for a comprehensive guarantee should be made aware that, under the terms of article 89(4), sub para 3, where the guarantee is still valid in relation to a post-clearance debt it may be used to recover the additional duty due.

The following benefits are available to economic operators authorised for a comprehensive guarantee:

·        Avoid the need to provide individual guarantees for each customs declaration and wait for each security to be released once the transaction or process is completed

·        Ability to cover multiple procedures, movements and declarations by a single (comprehensive) guarantee

·        Subject to meeting additional compliance criteria, economic operators can benefit from reduced levels of guarantees for potential debts

·        Economic operators holding AEOC status may benefit from reduced levels of guarantee for customs duty deferment accounts (actual debts).


Actual debts are amounts of customs duty which have become payable, for example: duty due on goods released to free circulation.  Please see section CAA10020 for more details on actual debts.

Potential debts relate to amounts of customs duties which may become payable at a later date, for example, goods held in duty suspense arrangements.  Please see section CAA10030 for more details on potential debts.

A single, comprehensive guarantee can be held to cover an economic operators potential and actual debts.  This comprehensive guarantee may be Member State specific or used to cover liabilities across more than one Member State.  Please refer to section CAA10150 for details. 

The reference amount for the comprehensive guarantee must be sufficient to cover the operator’s liabilities over a period to be agreed between the economic operators and customs authorities.

Ex-Annex 44c (Customs Code Implementing Provisions Reg. No 2454/93) required all movements of goods covered by this annex to be guaranteed.  As mandatory guarantees are now required, the ex-Annex 44c goods do not need to be treated any differently for guarantee purposes.

The requirement to provide mandatory guarantees for potential debts is a new requirement within the UK, resulting from the introduction of the Code.

Please see sections CAA03220 Simplified Import VAT Accounting (SIVA) Scheme and

CAA03230 Deferment Accounts for further information on how comprehensive guarantees operate with deferment accounts.