Alcohol & tobacco warehousing: owners & duty representatives

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What is the Customs Procedure Code

A Customs Procedure Code (CPC) is used for both imports and exports to identify the nature of the movement of the goods. It is made up of three pairs of numbers and each pair identifies the applied procedure, the previous procedure (if applicable) and further classifies the nature of the movement. These sets are fully explained in Volume 3, Appendix E of the Customs Tariff and the full 6 digit CPC’s are detailed in Appendix E1 (Exports) and Appendix E2 (Imports).

Once the correct procedure code has been determined the CPC should be quoted in box 37 of the SAD (C88) at both imports and exports.

How it is used

When importing the CPC describes the purpose of your shipment and informs Customs about the duty to be paid on the goods, whether it is to be:

  • taken as a deposit, to be repaid when goods are re-exported
  • suspended completely because of a duty relief scheme
  • brought to account straightaway

For example are the goods coming in as samples, either to elicit orders or for you to inspect for its quality, finish etc, before giving the go-ahead for full importation of the product? Certain samples can get a relief on duty and VAT and there are CPCs to cover this. (Notice 367 Importing commercial samples of negligible value free of duty and VAT covers treatment of samples.)

At export the CPC has a similar function to notify Customs of the procedure both at the time of export and at the country of destination.

Further help and information

The Tariff (Volume 3) contains the full list of CPCs for the various import and export options. Once you have established the correct one, it is unlikely to change for the year.

Further general guidance is available at Notice 199 Imported goods: Customs procedures and Customs debt.

If you require any further assistance you can contact the Excise and Customs Helpline on Tel 0300 200 3700.

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See the Import & Export FAQs if you have any queries.