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HMRC internal manual

Import and National Clearance Hub Procedures

Special directions: supporting documents


Repayments are dealt with by the National Duty Repayment Centre (NDRC) at Salford, if a substitute entry is required by the Customs Input of Entry (CIE) seat at the National Clearance Hub (NCH) the NCH can key these entries. (INCHP02480)

Repayments often involve amendment of the entry and this in turn may affect the supporting documents etc that originally accompanied the entry, eg:

  • licences
  • copy invoices
  • certificates
  • valuation declarations
  • control copy entries, and (where VAT is repaid to registered traders)
  • VAT copy entries / certificates etc.

Subject to the appropriate books of guidance these supporting documents may need to be retrieved and amended or replaced as appropriate before repayment is made.

Agents not reimbursed by importers

All repayment claims must follow the procedures in Procedures 19, 20 and 21 at INCHP11000.

Customs duty

Agents take a commercial risk in paying charges in anticipation of reimbursement by their principals. Customs are not involved in that risk. If goods have been correctly entered and the duty has been paid by the agent, but the importer will not, or is unable to, reimburse the agent for the duty paid (on the importer’s behalf), then this is a matter between the importer and the agent. In such cases there are no grounds for repaying the duty even if, for example, the goods are re-exported. Re-exportation is not in itself a basis for repaying duty.


VAT may be repaid where the importer is insolvent or is in receivership if the conditions of the extra-statutory class concession set out in Notice 702 paragraph 2.5 are met.

VAT can be repaid to private individuals and in some partial exempt cases CIP (11) 14 refers.

Goods situated in a member state other than the member state of importation (EU Regulation 2454/93 articles 885 (2) and 910 to 912).

Special procedures apply in these cases. The guidance of Duty Liability Team is to be sought in all such circumstances.

Authorisation and repayment

It will be for the appropriate office manager to decide on the arrangements for processing and authorising repayment claims. There are official countersigning limits which determines who authorises the repayment.

The majority of repayment claims will be authorised and processed at the NDRC at Dover. However, claims regarding Special Procedures are authorised by the trader’s authorising office, however claims are sent to Salford for processing for repayment. If the local office is authorising the claim, check that boxes 13 and 14 of the C285 repayment claim have been completed and also supply NDRC with at least one import entry number applicable to the claim and the trader’s bank account details ie account name, account number and sort code.

The general principles set out in the New Tax Accounting Policy (contact Finance Tax Accounting policy, Southend) are to be followed, taking into account:

  1. the complexity of particular types of cases, and
  2. whether an individual case has wider implications, eg because:
  • it demonstrates a weakness in official control procedures
  • involves questions of policy or precedent, or
  • warrants disciplinary or offence action in respect of an officer of this Department.

Subject to the need to involve policy divisions in questions arising under b. above, there is no limit to the authority on repayments at SO level.