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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Debt and return pursuit: customs duties: customs duties: what are customs duties?

Customs duties are import duties which become payable upon importation of goods to the community. They include anti-dumping duty, countervailing duty and ECSC duty, and agricultural duties and levies. They are under the collection and management of the Commissioners of Revenue and Customs (section 5 (1) (b) of the Commissioners of Revenue and Customs Act 2005).

Guidance on customs procedures and regimes is in the C series. See, in particular, C2-3 EPU Procedures chapter 2 section 7C [Post clearance recovery of arrears of duty and VAT].

EU Own Resources

Customs duties and duties on agricultural products are not UK revenue. They are Traditional “Own Resources” of the European Communities. Own Resources are made available to the European Commission on a monthly basis.

The general rules and procedures for importing and exporting goods in the EU are contained in The Community Customs Code [Council Regulation (EEC) No.2913/92]. (“the code”), and its implementing provisions (EEC) No. 2454/93 Part One General implementing provisions.

Import VAT and excise duties due on importation

VAT on the importation of goods from places outside the EU is charged and payable as if it were a duty of customs (s.1 (4) of the VAT Act 1994), even though it is not duty. The Community Customs Code does not apply to VAT.

However, arrears of both import VAT and excise duties due on imported goods are to be recovered on similar lines to those laid down for customs duty.