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HMRC internal manual

Customs Special Procedures Manual

General relief conditions: extensions to periods of discharge

The period must be stated in the authorisation. It will vary depending on the type of goods and processes involved. It is important to establish a realistic period, as this governs the time when a duty debt becomes due and traders may request a longer period than is strictly necessary in order to defer full payment of duty on diversion. For this reason, it is important that the period allowed relates to the particular operation under consideration.

As a guide, the period required should not normally exceed one year, from the date of declaration to free circulation. However, in certain industries longer periods may be required, for example, for aircraft, shipwork goods and the continental shelf. Where appropriate, these longer periods should be approved. On written request, the period may be extended and be extended retrospectively provided the trader has adequate records to prove assignment to the prescribed End-use and the proper conduct of operations is assured.

Certain goods capable of repeated use may require to be under Customs control for a period not exceeding two years from the date of first assignment An example of where the period may be extended is when goods have not been assigned to the prescribed End-use on account of either unforeseeable circumstances or force majeure, or circumstances arising from the working or processing of the goods.

If an extension is approved, a letter should be used to confirm changes agreed. A copy of the letter should be retained in the authorisation holder’s folder.

If the agreed period of use is exceeded, a debt may incur.