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HMRC internal manual

Temporary Storage and Approved Depositories

Approved Depositories (AD): special arrangements

Ministry of Defence (MoD) personal effects

  1. special arrangements have been agreed with the MoD for the long- term storage of personal and household effects belonging to service personnel who expect to take up residence in the EU within four years of the date of return to the UK. This requires:
* a completed Customs Declaration accompanied by an undertaking from the MOD as outlined in b. below
* any Customs charges due are to be brought to account before release of the effects
* the MoD accepts responsibility for ensuring that the effects are securely stored upon release from Customs charge
  1. movement of personal and household effects to the UK for storage under official MoD arrangements - undertaking

In order that consignments of household and personal effects, belonging to personnel of HM armed forces, returned to the UK under MoD arrangements, whilst the owners continue to serve overseas may be cleared and released by HM Revenue and Customs on arrival in the UK and placed in long term storage under official arrangements. The Ministry of Defence hereby undertakes to ensure that the owner of such consignments shall normally take up residence within the EU within a period of four years from the actual date of return to the UK of the consignments.

Visiting forces

Please refer to the Enforcement Handbook or the Visiting Forces Unit of Expertise in Oxford Email: Visiting Forces Relief, UoE (LocalCOMP CCG CITEX (7.30 - 3.30) for advice on visiting forces matters.

Motor vehicles imported through Approved Depositories

A summary of how to calculate import duty for vehicles imported through an approved depository is outlined below but please refer to Public Notice 3 (Bringing your belongings and private motor vehicle to the UK from outside the EU) for further details.

  • check importer qualifies for TOR relief
  • check documentation for correct completion
  • check Certificate of Title / Registration document to ensure vehicle has been possessed and used for more than 6 months outside UK
  • notify clearance to depository and details to the Personal Transport Unit (PTU) for entry to the Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) system

For vehicles which do not qualify for TOR Relief

  • notify clearance to depository and details to the Personal Transport Unit (PTU) for entry to the Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) system check proof of purchase price (invoice / bill of sale) is acceptable
  • check freight and insurance costs provided
  • calculate charges using CIF value:

    • CIF x Import Duty Rate = Duty
    • CIF + Duty x VAT Rate = VAT
    • Round down to nearest £5.00
  • Issue C47 (Notice of Assessment) to client via depository.

when cleared payment has been received notify clearance to depository and details to the Personal Transport Unit (PTU) for entry to the Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) system

Treatment of firearms within Approved Depositories

  • Approved Depositories must have authority to store firearms and ammunition. Authorisation to store firearms and ammunition falling under Section 9 of the Firearms Act 1968 can be sought from HM Revenue and Customs. (Please contact the National Frontiers Approvals Unit for information).
  • Approved Depositories intending to store firearms and ammunition falling under Section 5 (handguns) of the Firearms Act 1968 must seek authority from the Home Office. Section 5 authorisations are issued by:

The Home Office
Firearms Section
5th Floor South East
Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
Tel: 0207 035 1778/1779.

The Approved Depository must meet all stringent requirements imposed by both HMRC and the Home Office in all aspects relating to storage of firearms.

Excise goods in Approved Depositories

Where excise goods are discovered in personal belongings and Excise duty has not already been accounted for, they should be placed in a secure area and the NADT informed. They will raise an assessment for the duty. Generally excise goods will not qualify for any relief from excise duty (the exception being where it can be proved that they are returned excise goods which at time of exportation bore UK excise duty which was not claimed back and alcohol is being imported as part of the personal effects of a member of the visiting forces. The NADT can give you advice on this).

Excise Goods arriving from outside the EU, will be liable to customs duty, excise duty and VAT. The value on which the customs duty and VAT will apply should take into account any appreciation in value since purchase - for example where fine wine and spirits have been laid down for maturing. This is because the value at time of importation is used when determining the amount of customs duty and VAT.

While most goods depreciate in value over time, fine wine and spirits can become more valuable. This should be taken into account when validating the charges made by the Approved Depository as it could affect the amount of customs duty and importation VAT.

Generally excise goods that arrive in consignments of personal belongings do not qualify for any relief. However, exceptionally, where it can be proved that the excise goods:

  • are the same excise goods that were exported from the UK
  • at the time of exportation they bore UK excise duty
  • that the excise duty was not claimed back, and
  • that the goods have not undergone any process outside of the UK

the goods may retain their UK duty status under s10 and 11 of the Customs & Excise Duties (General Reliefs) Act 1979.

All conditions should be met, but officer discretion is allowed where on the whole, the officer is satisfied that the UK duty status can be retained.