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HMRC internal manual

Customs Authorisation and Approval

Guarantee Requirements for Customs Authorisations and Approvals: Guarantee limits for actual debts

Article 90(1), sub para 2 of the Code  (for customs duties only) requires the guarantee limit (reference amount) to be set at a level equal to the precise amount of the customs duties and other charges (as required) incurred for actual debts. 

Where an individual guarantee is provided this will be the specific amount as calculated for that individual transaction or customs declaration.

Where it is not possible to fix this amount in advance for example; deferred charges over a given period, the guarantee limit (reference amount) for actual debts will be calculated using the following schedule (including national taxes which are also deferred through the account):


Actual Debt Calculation Schedule (Deferment only)        
A B C official use only D official use only E official use only
Tax Type to be deferred Amount of revenue to be deferred Guarantee level authorised Deferment Guarantee limit  
= B / C Actual Debt Guarantee Required
= D X 2          
  Customs Duties £1000 30 £300 £600
  Import VAT £1500 ** ** **
  Excise Duties £2000 100 £2000 £4000
  Totals - actual debts £4500 NA £2300 £4600


This gives the economic operator’s Actual Debt calculations as follows:

·        Actual Debt reference amount (Deferment account limit) = £4500 (column B)

·        Actual Debt deferment guarantee limit for each month’s transaction: £2300 (column D)

·        Actual Debt guarantee required: £4600 (column E)


For established businesses who do not currently operate deferment:

·        Evidence of the customs duties and other charges paid over the previous 12-m period. 

·        The revenue paid for the highest 4 week period will be used as the basis for Column B of the above schedule.



For newly established businesses:

·        Projected forecasts of the value of goods to be imported in a 1-month period and the highest rate of duty applicable to these goods or

·        Known purchase orders and invoice values of the goods and the actual duty rate applicable to these goods for each month.

These figures will be used as an interim value for setting up the deferment account (Colum B).

Where eligibility to the preferential rates of duty can be proven and any tariff quotas are non-critical the reduced rates of duty that will be paid may be taken into account when establishing the value to be used for column B.