Guidance

Temporary admission

Re-exporting goods imported from outside the EU may make them eligible for complete or partial relief on duty and import VAT

Introduction

Temporary admission (TA) is useful if you temporarily import goods such as samples, professional equipment or items for auction, exhibition or demonstration into the UK. Provided you don’t alter the goods whilst they’re within the EU, using TA should mean that you won’t have to pay duty or import VAT.

Eligibility for relief is based on the type of goods concerned and their use before they are re-exported - conditions on ownership may also apply. You cannot use TA to import goods to process or repair them, an alternative relief may be available under Inward Processing (IP).

An ATA carnet may also be used to claim relief under TA for goods that are temporarily imported from specific countries. Using an ATA carnet replaces the normal customs documents that would otherwise be required on import and re-export.

This guide will show you if TA would be useful for your business, how to gain the right authorisation, how to manage guarantees, and special situations for specific types of goods. TA is used across the EU, in the UK the responsible authority is HM Revenue & Customs.

Goods eligible for TA

If you’re importing goods from outside the EU and intend to re-export after using them, you may be able to claim relief from the duty and import VAT normally due or partial relief from customs duties, by using the TA procedure. You can read Notice 200 on relief from customs charges under TA on the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website.

If your goods don’t fall into any of the categories in Notice 200, you may still be able to claim partial relief subject to certain conditions, provided they’re still intended to be used and re-exported outside the EU.

Most types of goods can be imported under TA and used for up to two years, although there are more restricted periods for replacement means of production, goods for approval and goods subject to acceptance tests.

You must be authorised to claim relief under TA, the application for relief must also be made in the EU country where the goods are first used. Check which authorisation method most closely suits your business needs.

In most cases, you’ll need to provide security when using TA - equal to the duty and import VAT due on importation. Subject to certain conditions, you can reclaim this once the goods have been re-exported. If you apply for partial relief, a proportion of the customs duties due will be deducted from the security taken for each month the goods remain in the EU.

If you’re temporarily importing goods from the special territories of the EU - ie those that are inside the EU for customs duty purposes but not for VAT, you may still be able to use the TA procedure.

  • Aland islands
  • Guadeloupe
  • Andorra (only Chapters 25 onwards)
  • Martinique
  • Canary Islands
  • Mount Athos (Agion Poros)
  • Channel Islands
  • Reunion
  • French Guiana
  • San Marino

Authorisation for TA

You must have TA authorised in the EU country where the goods are first used. If this is the UK, in many cases, the application for authorisation can be made at the time of importation.

There are various methods of authorisation, each with specific requirements.

The factors that you need to consider to find the best type of authorisation are:

  • whether partial or total relief applies
  • whether you intend to import goods regularly
  • whether you intend to use the goods in the UK and then in other EU member states

Third parties

Shipping agents or freight forwarders can enter goods into TA on your behalf, but you must give them clear written instructions on how to proceed. They can use one of the following:

  • direct representation - where the goods are entered into TA on your behalf and you remain liable for any import duties that may become due if mistakes are made
  • indirect representation - where the agent or forwarder makes the entry in their name and you’re both liable for any duty if mistakes are made

Retrospective authorisation

In exceptional circumstances, you may be able to apply for TA authorisation after goods have been imported. However, you’ll have to prove that there are ‘exceptional’ circumstances - a general oversight isn’t accepted as such.

Each case is considered individually and you have to prove that the goods are eligible for TA. You should always ensure that you follow the correct procedures whether you are applying for approval at the time of entry or before importing goods.

Select suitable authorisation for TA

There are several types of authorisation for TA. You should find out which is the most suitable option for you and for the type of goods you’re importing.

Simplified authorisation

With a simplified authorisation, each entry is a separate application for authorisation, so if you’re importing regularly or import a variety of different goods for different uses, you may prefer to apply for full authorisation. You can find out about simplified authorisation on the HMRC website.

Simplified single authorisation

Simplified single authorisation is a simplified authorisation extended to cover goods you will use in the UK before using them for the same purpose in other EU countries. You can also include other users within the EU who will use the goods on your behalf. You can find out about simplified single authorisation on the HMRC website.

Full authorisation

Full authorisation can be used if you regularly import goods under TA where all entries to TA and all uses under TA are carried out within the UK. It must be applied for and approved before goods are imported using form C&E 1331.

You can use full authorisation to cover a number of import transactions simultaneously or over a given period under one or more TA reliefs. This can reduce paperwork and security management and enables you to apply for certain simplifications - eg Customs Freight Simplified Procedures or those permitted under the National Export System.

You can find out about full authorisation on the HMRC website.

Single authorisation

Single authorisation must be applied for and approved before goods are imported using an EU model format application form. It can be used if you regularly import goods used by you or other named users on your behalf within the EU during the course of their stay subsequent to being used in the UK. You can find out about single authorisation on the HMRC website.

Integrated authorisation

Integrated authorisation must be applied for and approved before goods are imported. It can be used if you also use authorisations for customs procedures such as inward or outward processing relief, customs warehousing, Free Zone, PCC or end-use. The authorisation will specify how you can move goods between procedures. You can find out about integrated authorisation on the HMRC website.

Oral declarations

Oral declarations can only be used for certain types of goods and uses, such as television production or broadcasting equipment imported by non-EU public or private organisations. You can find out about the oral declaration procedure on the HMRC website.

Declaration by any other act

Declaration by any other act requires no formal customs declaration but this can only be used in limited cases for certain types of goods and uses - eg non-EU travellers’ personal effects of less than €10,000 in value. You can find out about declaration by any other act on the HMRC website.

Security and guarantees

You will usually have to supply a security or guarantee equal to the amount of the duty and import VAT which would normally be payable on the goods imported.

However, there are exceptions for specific types of TA reliefs. You can read section 4 of Notice 200 on the temporary admissions relief available on the HMRC website.

The security can be in the form of a cash deposit or bank guarantee. Regular importers can lodge a single guarantee which is adjusted as goods enter and leave TA. You can find out which methods of payment can be used by checking the TA customs procedure code (CPC) in the Tariff. CPC codes can be found in volume 3, appendix E of the UK Integrated Tariff.

You can reclaim securities by providing specific evidence that the goods have been re-exported, transferred to another authorised TA trader or declared to another suspensive customs procedure, provided all the conditions relating to their import under TA have been met.

Temporarily admitting goods using an ATA carnet can simplify customs clearances in dispatching and receiving countries as it replaces the need to complete the customs declarations that are normally required. It also provides a guarantee for the customs charges potentially due in each country you visit. You can find out which countries use the ATA carnet system in Notice 104 on the HMRC website.

You can find out about using ATA carnets in the guide on ATA and CPD carnets.

Transferring and moving TA goods

A transfer only takes place where goods are transferred to another TA authorisation. In these circumstances, TA relief arrangements are not discharged - only the responsibility and liability for the goods concerned is transferred.

If you are transferring goods between TA authorisations within the UK or to other member states within the EU, you’ll need to transfer the responsibility for those goods in order to keep each party’s liabilities and securities in order.

The rules and procedures for transferring goods under TA differ depending on the type of authorisation you and/or the other authorised party has hold.

Movements within the same authorisation

You can move goods covered within the same authorisation by using simple commercial documents.

Movement of goods between EU member states

You can move goods using the Community Transit (CT) procedure. Entry to CT discharges TA. The CT movement is discharged when the goods are declared to a customs procedure in the receiving member state. 

Find more information about CT in the European Commission’s Transit Manual on the Europa website. You can also find information in the UK Supplement to the Transit Manual on the HMRC website.

Movement of goods between EU member states under a single authorisation

When you apply for a single authorisation, you’ll already have indicated which locations and businesses will be using the goods under the TA authorisation. Provided the member states involved have agreed, no additional documents may be required other than a record of the goods’ movement. You can read section 13.5 of Notice 200 on how to apply for a single authorisation on the HMRC website.

Integrated authorisations

If you hold integrated authorisation and wish to declare the goods to another customs procedure - such as Inward Processing (IP) or customs warehousing - you can do so by completing a C88 Single Administrative Document (SAD) quoting the relevant customs procedure code (CPC) for the intended procedure.

Transfer between TA authorisation holders

Your responsibilities when transferring goods to other TA authorisation holders depends on the types of authorisation held. The holder of any type of TA authorisation can make transfers within the UK by using C88 (SAD) quoting the relevant TA relief transfer CPC.

Transfers to other member states can be made using the Community Transit procedure. Transfers to or between full, single or integrated TA authorisation holders within the UK can be made quoting the relevant relief transfer CPC. They can also be made without input to the Customs Handling of Freight system using a three SAD copies procedure.

In addition to these options, transfers between full, single or integrated TA authorisations can be made using simplified transfer procedures that include use of two SAD copies or commercial documents. Both TA authorisation holders must be approved by HMRC to use the simplified procedures.

Declaring TA relief goods to IP, free circulation or customs warehousing

You can declare TA goods to IP or customs warehousing or divert them to free circulation by completing a C88 (SAD) quoting the relevant CPC for the intended procedure.

Re-exporting TA goods

You can browse the index of Notice 200 on relief from customs charges under TA on the HMRC website.

Key points to bear in mind when re-exporting goods under TA include the following:

  • You must follow specific procedures when you re-export the goods you have imported under TA in order to discharge your responsibility for duty and import VAT on those goods.
  • Except for goods declared by any other act or by oral declaration, goods must be pre-entered before they are re-exported, unless you’re using simplified procedures, in which case you must use a pre-shipment advice.
  • Except for goods declared by any other act or by oral declaration, you should complete a Single Administrative Document (SAD) re-export declaration. You must ensure you use the correct TA re-export Customs Procedure Code.
  • For postal exports, mark the packages ‘TA goods’ with your TA authorisation number and VAT number. You should also obtain proof of postage stamped by the Royal Mail as evidence of re-export.
  • If the goods are being re-exported via another EU member state, make sure that an export accompanying document travels with the consignment.
  • If your goods are subject to import licences, you may have to get approval to re-export from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Import Licensing Branch. If you have cultural goods or a motor vehicle over 50 years old you may need an export licence from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Read the guide on licences and enforcement for international trading.

Rules for TA of non-EU transport vehicles, civil aircraft, seagoing vessels, pallets and containers

Transport vehicles - such as cars, motorbikes, caravans, trains, civil aircraft and seagoing vessels - can be brought into TA when they are used as commercial or private transport by non EU residents. TA for use by EU residents is only available in certain circumstances and for very limited periods.

If means of transport are temporarily imported other than for transport use, the specific TA relief for means of transport will not be applicable. For example, if a yacht is temporarily imported for a boat show, the TA relief for exhibitions would be applicable.

If the importation is for the purposes of major overhaul, refitting or refurbishment, it won’t be eligible for TA and you may consider using Inward Processing instead. See the guide on Inward Processing.

You should also bear in mind that the TA relief for means of transport covers spare parts and accessories that accompany them. If you need to import spares or parts at a later date for means of transport already entered to TA relief, you’ll need to declare these separately and consider using the TA relief for spare parts, accessories and equipment for these.

You can read Public Notice 308 for importers of means of transport for private or commercial use on the HMRC website.

You may be able to claim total relief on means of transport - whether powered or not - provided:

  • it’s registered outside the customs territory of the Community in the name of a person established outside that territory 
  • if it’s not registered it must be owned  by a person established outside the customs territory of the Community
  • it’s used by someone established outside the customs territory of the Community
  • if it’s being used commercially, its journeys begin or end outside the customs territory of the Community

In certain circumstances a person established within the customs territory of the Community may be eligible for total relief, for example where it’s:

  • for use in an emergency not exceeding five days
  • entered by a professional hire service and expected to be re-exported within five days
  • to be used by an EU person preparing to emigrate outside the EU within three months

Pallets and containers

If you use pallets or containers originating outside the EU that are temporarily imported into the EU to transport or carry non-EU goods within the EU or to export goods from the EU, you can enter them into TA. They must remain in the same condition except for any natural depreciation through use.

In certain circumstances containers may be used in internal traffic to transport goods within the same EU country but this is limited to one journey. EU pallets and containers that are duty and tax paid within the Community do not need to be entered to TA. You can read Notice 306 on the TA of non European Community pallets and containers on the HMRC website.

Further information

Notice 200 on relief from customs charges under TA on the HMRC website

Notice 306 on TA for non-EU containers and pallets on the HMRC website

Notice 308 on TA of non-EU means of transport on the HMRC website

Customs Freight Simplified Procedures information on the HMRC website

National Export System simplified procedures C&E48 application form available on the HMRC website

Retrospective authorisation information on the HMRC website

Retrospective authorisation information on the HMRC website

Simplified authorisation information on the HMRC website

Simplified Single authorisation information on the HMRC website

Full authorisation information on the HMRC website

Oral declaration procedure outlined on the HMRC website

Countries that use ATA carnet system listed on the HMRC website

TA - means of transport public notice on the HMRC website

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