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HMRC internal manual


HM Revenue & Customs
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Value for import VAT: normal rules: racehorses and bloodstock

Determination of value

When there is evidence of a price paid or payable for a horse, the normal valuation rules apply. However, in many cases, (particularly where horses are imported for training and racing) there will be neither a price payable nor clear evidence of value. No hard and fast rules can be laid down for determining the value of horses, but the insured value can be used as a guide. It may also be possible for the owner/importer to provide evidence of a recent price paid for the horse abroad or a firm declaration of the amount the horse is worth to the current owner. In most of these cases, the importation will be temporary, but horses may sometimes be permanently transferred from a training establishment abroad to one in the UK. Officers are to make every effort to establish a fair and reasonable value at the time of entry.

Declaration of value

The normal rules for a declaration of VAT value, as explained in Notice 702, Section 3 applies. In practice this means that a declaration of value is generally required for imported horses. The standard declaration for goods takes the form of a C105A supported by an invoice, but for racehorses the Department has approved a simplified declaration of VAT value, as set out in section 11 of this notice, where the horses are:

  • purchased abroad by private treaty, where the agent has acted as intermediary and is aware of the price paid, or
  • purchased abroad at auction sales, or
  • not the subject of a sale but owner-bred.

Standard average values

Standard average values agreed centrally between the Department and trade representatives are acceptable only for horses imported for sale by auction (‘docket system’) at Tattersalls, Doncaster and Ascot (Botterills) sales (see also IMPS03380), provided the auctioneer acts as importer. Details of the agreed standard average values can be obtained from the Bloodstock Helpdesk.

Horses excluded from the ‘docket system’ (ie those wholly owned and imported by UK VAT registered traders for sale in a business capacity) must be valued in accordance with the normal rules, not by reference to standard average values.