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HMRC internal manual

Imports

From
HM Revenue & Customs
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Import entry procedures: imports of precious metals on behalf of non-resident owners

Where a member of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) acts as an agent for a non-resident owner in the importation of bullion or gold coins, and subsequently supplies it as an agent for that owner, the provisions of Section 47 of the VAT Act 1994 apply.

The VAT Act 1994, Section 47.

    • (1) Where—

(a) goods are acquired from another member State by a person who is not a taxable person and a taxable person acts in relation to the acquisition, and then supplies the goods as agent for the person by whom they are so acquired; or

(b) goods are imported from a place outside the member States by a taxable person who supplies them as agent for a person who is not a taxable person, [then, if the taxable person acts in relation to the supply in his own name, the goods shall] be treated for the purposes of this Act as acquired and supplied or, as the case may be, imported and supplied by the taxable person as principal.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) above a person who is not resident in the United Kingdom and whose place or principal place of business is outside the United Kingdom may be treated as not being a taxable person if as a result he will not be required to be registered under this Act.

[2(A) Where in the case of any supply of goods to which subsection (1) above does not apply, goods are supplied through an agent who acts in his own name, the supply shall be treated both as a supply to the agent and as a supply by the agent.

(3) Where services are supplied through an agent who acts in his own name the Commissioners may, if they think fit, treat the supply both as a supply to the agent and as a supply by the agent.

As a result the bullion is treated as being imported and supplied by the LBMA member. This means that the LBMA member may complete the import documentation in their own name, and pay (or defer) the import VAT. This may then be deducted as input tax subject to the normal rules. Subsequent sales of the bullion on the London Bullion Market by an LBMA member will be subject to the conditions of the VAT (Terminal Markets) Order 1973, or the trade agreement between Customs and the LBMA.

Any queries should be referred to Financial Services (VAT & IPT) Team, Liability Division, C T & VAT Products & Processes at 100 Parliament Street, London.

Further information is available in Notice 700/57 section 1.