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HMRC internal manual

Customs Authorisation and Approval

HM Revenue & Customs
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Guarantee Requirements for Customs Authorisations and Approvals: Individual guarantees versus comprehensive guarantees

Where the provision of a guarantee is mandatory under the Code, economic operators may use an individual guarantee or a comprehensive guarantee to secure the debt.  An individual guarantee is used to secure a single transaction, for example a single importation to simplified inward processing.

Economic operators who are operating a procedure or regime on a regular basis (article 95(1) (c) of the Code) where the provision of a guarantee is a mandatory requirement, the customs authorities may authorise them to use a comprehensive guarantee instead (article 89(5) of the Code).

A comprehensive guarantee may be used to cover multiple transactions and multiple procedures as required.

The customs authorities may refuse to accept a form of guarantee where it is not compatible with the type of procedure or regime concerned (article 93, sub para 2 of the Code) or where it is deemed insufficient to adequately protect the revenue (article 94(3)). 

Article 94(3) also provides for Guarantors to be refused where they are not deemed suitable to adequately securing the debt.  Please refer to section CAA10160 for details of approved guarantors.

Economic operators wishing to operate an authorisation or approval with individual guarantees in lieu of a comprehensive guarantee will need to discuss this with their authorising officer.

Where it can be proven that:

·        All individual transactions will be fully secured and

·        The full potential customs debt will be covered by a guarantee in each instance and

·        The guarantees will always be in place prior to release of the goods to the procedure concerned and

·        The procedure, regime and customs debts may be supervised without the customs authorities needing to introduce administrative processes disproportionate to the economic benefits of the operator

then the authorisation or approval may be granted on the basis of individual guarantees being used.

Where the administrative arrangements necessary for the provision, supervision and release of the individual guarantees are viewed as disproportionally burdensome, authorisation or approval for the customs procedure or regime concerned will only be granted where a comprehensive guarantee is provided.

Where the use of individual guarantees is viewed as not adequately protecting the revenue, the authorisation or approval for the regime or procedure concerned will only be granted upon the provision of a comprehensive guarantee (article 94(3) of the Code).

If the comprehensive guarantee limit for a potential debt is reached, the economic operator may choose to temporarily use individual guarantees for the additional liabilities rather than amend their comprehensive guarantees.

The economic operator may also wish to use individual guarantees for one off large consignments to avoid using up their comprehensive guarantee limit.