Special bodies: European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC)
A European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) is a type of international body that has been introduced by the European Commission to facilitate the establishment and operation of research infrastructures of European interest with the involvement of other European countries.
EU Council Regulation EC/723/2009 provides the legal framework that sets out the requirements and procedures for and effect of setting up an ERIC. The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is the government department with responsibility for the setting up, and regulation, of an ERIC in the UK. Any enquiries concerning the application process should be referred to BIS in the first instance.
The information in this guidance provides advice on the relief that may be available on the import or acquisition of goods or a supply of goods or services, when it is for the official use of the ERIC. The UK vires for the relief are provided by Statutory Instrument 2907/2012.
Imports and acquisitions
An ERIC may, subject to any limitations and conditions, claim relief from the VAT and duty charge on the importation or acquisition of goods into the UK.
To claim relief from VAT and duty on the importation of goods the ERIC must have its statutory seat in an EU Member State and the goods must be for its official use. A form C426, signed by the head of the Organisation, must be presented with the customs entry document at the time.
Supply of goods and services
A supply of taxable goods and services from a VAT-registered business either in the UK or in another EU Member State to an ERIC may, subject to any limitations and conditions, be zero rated. To receive a zero rated supply the ERIC must have its statutory seat in an EU Member State and the goods or services must be for the official use of the ERIC.
The ERIC should, at the time of the order, provide a certificate in writing to confirm its entitlement to receive a zero rated supply. The supplier should retain the certificate as evidence of making a zero rated supply to an entitled body.
The ERIC may receive relief from VAT on a supply of goods and services from a VAT registered business in another EU member State, when for its official use. To claim relief on the supply the ERIC should provide the business with a certificate of exemption prior to the supply taking place, for example at the time of order. The supplier should retain the certificate as evidence of making a legitimate VAT free supply.
Supply by a UK business to another Member State
Similarly, a UK VAT registered business may zero rate a taxable supply of goods or services to an ERIC that is hosted by another EU member State. The ERIC must provide the business with a certificate of exemption prior to the supply taking place, for example at the time to order. The certificate of exemption should be retained by the business as evidence of making a VAT free supply.
The goods must be dispatched by the supplier directly to the official address of the ERIC in the other EU member State. Evidence of the dispatch of goods should be held by the supplier.