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HMRC internal manual


Background information and policy objectives: what is import VAT

Import VAT is the transaction tax levied on an import from a third country or special fiscal territory.

It becomes due when goods enter the territory of the Community. It includes tax paid on goods imported for the purpose of business (which is recoverable as input tax), private importations and importations by partially exempt traders, which may not be recoverable.

Even where import VAT is recoverable there is considerable benefit to the Exchequer from the cash flow effect of having it paid at importation.