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HMRC internal manual

Import preference guidance notes

HM Revenue & Customs
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Guide Notes: financial securities


Security, when required, may be given in the form of a miscellaneous cash deposit or a guarantee under the arrangements set out in this section and in A1-2 Financial Securities. They should cover the full customs charges potentially due including any additional VAT due on the full duty value.

Cash deposits

Where goods have been released against a miscellaneous cash deposit pending presentation of preference document, it is important that post clearance sections forward entries promptly to NIDAC to enable them to refund the deposit as soon as the documents have been presented.


As an alternative to miscellaneous cash deposits, security may be provided by guarantee. This may either be in the form of a standing guarantee account (covering a number of importations up to a specified aggregate value) or a single shipment guarantee (for one specific importation).

Application for both guarantees should be made on form C&E 250. Standing guarantee accounts are approved and maintained by National Import Duty Adjustment Centre (NIDAC) and monitored by Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF). Single shipment guarantees are approved locally and should be retained with the customs entry.

Note: if a cash deposit has already been taken for a consignment this may be repaid if a satisfactory guarantee is subsequently produced.

Standing guarantees

A need for this facility is indicated when:

  • the importer has been consistently unable to obtain the necessary preference certificate by the time the goods arrive
  • the exporting country has only recently become a preference beneficiary and certificates are difficult to obtain, and
  • the department requires security to allow the continued clearance to free circulation pending the resolution of doubts about entitlement.

Releasing security

Community regulations require that all securities should be released promptly as soon as it is established that the goods qualify for preference, eg when a valid preference document is presented within the four-month time limit.

Special arrangements apply in the case of goods subject to tariff quotas or ceilings - see Tariff Quotas Guidance Notes (TQGN).

Bringing security to account following non-production of satisfactory evidence

If the importer has not produced a valid preference document by the end of the four-month period allowed, security is to be brought to account promptly as Own Resources.

If satisfactory evidence is produced after security has been brought to account, this must be treated as a belated claim (IPGN5550).