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HMRC internal manual

Customs Special Procedures Manual

Discharge to free circulation: general release to free circulation

Authorisation for this can only be considered for IP goods that are not subject to licensing or tariff restrictions. It should not be approved unless the applicant is able to accurately monitor the period for discharge of the goods. If the applicant has not previously used IP, approval should not be granted until they have established a good compliance record. This may be accepted as established after at least 6 months satisfactory use of IP or after two Bills of Discharge have been correctly submitted. Where the applicant has previously used IP, you should confirm that they have a record of submitting Bills of Discharge on time.

General release to free circulation allows the authorisation holder to account for discharge at the end of their agreed period for discharge. This can only be applied for under a full authorisation or an authorisation involving more than one Member State. If this is approved, any IP goods that have not been re-exported by the end of the period for discharge (or placed under another customs procedure to discharge liability) are treated as discharged to free circulation. Releases are accounted for when the Bill of Discharge is due. Approval for general release may only apply to goods released to free circulation. If goods are discharged to End Use, a customs declaration must be made at the time the discharge is made (not later than at the end of the period allowed for those authorised for ‘general release for free circulation’ reporting method).

The use of IMSE to account for monies due from discharges to free circulation is not permitted as it does not provide an adequate audit trail. Free circulation declarations (or aggregated free circulation declarations) for goods periodically released to free circulation under this simplification must be submitted with the Bill of Discharge (BoD) when due.

Where this simplification has been approved, the supervising office must monitor to ensure its use is not abused, for example that any periods for discharge agreed are accurate and that discharges do not exceed 20% of goods entered to IP.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447, Article 325