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HMRC internal manual

Import preference guidance notes

Guide Notes: belated claims


Having paid the full rate of duty on entry, an importer may subsequently obtain a preference document indicating that the goods were entitled to preference. In these circumstances a belated claim to preference may be made.

Belated claims to preference are generally supported by retrospectively issued documentation. However belated claims supported by a preference document issued at the time of manufacture can be accepted provided the documentation is presented within its period of validity. Belated claims supported by documentation exceeding the specified period of validity can be accepted only if a provisional claim to preference was made at the time the goods were imported (ie duty was placed on deposit pending production of the preference documentation).

Note: a belated claim should be submitted no more than two years after the relevant certificate was issued (Notice 826 refers).

Goods subject to tariff quota or ceiling

A belated claim must be rejected if:

  • the goods were entered in the current quota / ceiling year and the claim is made after the full rate of duty has been re-imposed, or
  • the goods were entered in a previous year and by the end of that year the full rate of duty had been re-imposed.

If the preference is still available and the claim is satisfactory in other respects, take action immediately under Tariff Quota Guidance Notes (TQGN).

Acceptable claims for previous years must be separately scheduled showing the year concerned. The Central Tariff Quota Unit can provide details of quotas and ceilings which were still open at the end of the year in question.