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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Debt and return pursuit: customs duties: customs duties: who is liable for payment of customs debts

On importing goods into the UK, the importer must deliver to us a written declaration (“the entry”) of the goods being imported. This entry enables us to assess and collect any customs duties, duties on agricultural products, excise duties, and VAT for which the imported goods are liable.

Immediate payment is required of the “declarant” unless the duty or import VAT is to be paid under the duty deferment system. In most cases, import duties are paid under the duty deferment system (DMBM540060).

A person on whose behalf a declaration is made shall also be a debtor. Where several persons are liable for payment of one customs debt, they shall be jointly and severally liable for such debt (Article 213 of the Code refers).