Importing commercial samples of negligible value free of duty and VAT

HMRC Reference:Notice 367 (August 2004) View Change History
 

Contents

Foreword

Other notices on this or related subjects

1. About the notice, the law and your rights

1.1 What is this notice about?

1.2 Changes from the earlier version of this notice

1.3 What law covers this notice?

1.4 What do I do if I disagree with a Customs decision?

2. Relief conditions

2.1 What are the conditions for relief?

2.2 How do I ensure the goods can only be used as samples?

2.3 What is negligible value?

2.4 Are there any goods excluded from relief?

2.5 Do import prohibitions and restrictions apply?

3. How to claim relief

3.1 How do I claim relief on goods imported in baggage?

3.2 How do I claim relief on goods imported as freight?

3.3 How do I claim relief on goods imported by post?

3.4 Can I claim relief after the goods have been imported and customs charges paid?

4. Glossary

Do you have any comments?

Update 1 issued December 2006

Update 2 issued October 2007

 

Foreword

This notice cancels and replaces Notice 367 (March 2002). Details of any changes to the previous version can be found in paragraph 1.2 of this notice.

Further help and advice

If you need general advice or more copies of Customs and Excise notices, please ring the National Advice Service on 0300 200 3700. You can call between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

If you have hearing difficulties, please ring the Textphone service on 0300 200 3719.

If you would like to speak to someone in Welsh, please ring 0300 200 3705, between 8.00 am and 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

All calls are charged at the local rate within the UK. Charges may differ for mobile phones.

Other notices on this or related subjects

Notice 200 Temporary importations
Notice 374 Importing goods for test free of duty and VAT

1. About the notice, the law and your rights

1.1 What is this notice about?

It tells you how you can import commercial samples of negligible value into the UK from:

  • outside the Customs Union free of import duty and VAT and
  • the ‘Special Territories’ or countries having a Customs Union with the EC free of VAT.

You cannot get relief from excise duty under these procedures, but alternative reliefs may be available. For example, if you import samples for examination, analysis or test, you should read our Notice 374 Importing goods for test free of duty and VAT.

The glossary at Section 4 explains the meaning of some of the particular words, phrases and abbreviations used.

1.2 Changes from the earlier version of this notice

The changes to the March 2002 edition of this notice, announced in Update 1 (issued in April 2004), have been included in this version.

Paragraph 2.4 has been amended to clarify the appropriate relief to claim for goods intended for consumption or distribution at a trade fair or exhibition.

You can access details of any changes to this notice since August 2004 on our Internet website at www.hmce.gov.uk or by telephoning the National Advice Service on 0300 200 3700.

This notice and others mentioned are available both on paper and on our website.

1.3 What law covers this notice?

The law on which this notice is based is:

  • Council Regulation (EEC) No 918/83, Article 91 and
  • The Value Added Tax (Imported Goods) Relief Order 1984 Schedule 2, Group 3, Item 2 (as amended).

This notice explains our view of the law.

1.4 What do I do if I disagree with a Customs decision?

You have a right of appeal if you disagree with any decision we make. You can find further details of the appeals procedure in Notice 990 Excise and Customs Appeals

2. Relief conditions

2.1 What are the conditions for relief?

You can get relief on samples of goods of any kind if, when imported, they:

  • can only be used as samples
  • are of negligible value and
  • are intended to obtain orders for the type of goods they represent.

2.2 How do I ensure the goods can only be used as samples?

There are many ways for you and your supplier to do this, for example by:

  • tearing, perforating, slashing or defacing
  • indelible marking
  • limiting quantities or size or
  • method of presentation.

We may ask for one or more of these methods to be used before we will allow relief on the goods you are importing.

2.3 What is negligible value?

Although the law requires the samples to be of negligible value, it does not define the meaning.

In practice, once we are satisfied the goods can only be used as samples, we regard them as being of negligible value.

2.4 Are there any goods excluded from relief?

Yes, we will not allow this relief on goods:

  • imported without the intention of obtaining further orders
  • not presented as samples at import, but intended for subsequently making into samples (for example, unaltered rolls of fabric you import to cut up and make into swatch books)
  • which can be used other than as samples or
  • intended for consumption, destruction or distribution free of charge to the public at a trade fair or exhibition. Such goods may qualify for the alternative relief explained in the Tariff, Volume 3 under Customs Procedure Code 40 00 44 or 49 00 44, as appropriate.

2.5 Do import prohibitions and restrictions apply?

Yes. There are some goods which are strictly controlled. You can find information about these in the Tariff, Volume 1, Part 3 or from our National Advice Service.

3. How to claim relief

3.1 How do I claim relief on goods imported in baggage?

If you import goods in your baggage, you must declare them to us at the Customs Red Channel or Red Point when you arrive.

3.2 How do I claim relief on goods imported as freight?

You must claim relief by completing an import declaration on a Single Administrative Document (SAD: Form C88). You can get an import agent to do this, but if you wish to complete the SAD yourself and need more information on the details required for the import declaration, please refer to the Tariff. Copies are available for reference at our Business Centres or Customs Enquiry Offices at major ports and airports.

Enter one of the following Customs Procedure Codes (CPCs) in Box 37 of the SAD:

  • CPC 40 00 09 - for goods imported from outside the Customs Union on which you claim relief from import duty and VAT or
  • CPC 49 00 09 - for goods imported from one of the Special Territories or countries having a Customs Union with the EC on which you claim relief from VAT.

3.3 How do I claim relief on goods imported by post?

Ask the sender to write clearly on the package and its accompanying customs declaration (CN22 or CN23):

“Samples of negligible value - relief claimed.”

We may send you a simplified form to complete.

If the package is not clearly marked it may not be delivered until you have paid the import duty and VAT. You should pay these charges and then write to Customs at the postal depot where the goods arrived. Explain what happened and enclose the document showing the charges. If we are satisfied that the goods qualify for relief, we will repay the duty and VAT.

3.4 Can I claim relief after the goods have been imported and customs charges paid?

Yes. Normally, you should claim relief at the time of import. If you fail to do this, we may accept a belated claim and repay the appropriate charges subject to certain conditions. See our Notice 199 Imported goods: Customs procedures and Customs debt for further details: the section and paragraphs on repayment and remission under Code Article 236 refer.

4. Glossary

CPC: Customs Procedure Code. Used on import declarations (Form C88) to identify the type of procedure for which the goods are entered.

Customs Union: The customs territories of the EC, Turkey, San Marino and Andorra. The unions between the EC and these countries enable most goods in free circulation to move freely between them without the need to claim duty relief, subject to the production of any necessary preference or Community Transit documentation. For Andorra, the union only covers goods in Chapters 25-97 of the Tariff. VAT is still due on imports from Turkey, San Marino and Andorra however unless the relief explained in this notice is applicable and claimed.

EC: The European Community: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus*, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.*The European Commission has advised that the application of the Community Customs Code and 6th VAT Directive shall be suspended in those areas of Cyprus in which the Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise effective control. Goods from those areas will continue from 1 May 2004 to be treated as non-EC imports.

Excise Duty: An indirect tax on beer, wine, made-wine, cider, perry, spirits, mineral oil, cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Import Duty: Taxes we charge on imported goods under the Combined Nomenclature of the EC. These include Customs Duty, Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Charges, and Anti-Dumping Duty.

Negligible value: We regard goods as being of negligible value, so long as they can only be used as samples to obtain orders for the type of goods they represent.

SAD: Single Administrative Document - Customs Declaration Form C88.

Special Territories: Countries or areas that are part of the customs territory of the EC but not part of the fiscal (VAT) territory. VAT is therefore due on imports from these territories unless the relief explained in this notice is applicable and claimed. The territories are: the Aland Islands, the Canary Islands, the Channel Islands, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mount Athos and Reunion

Tariff: The Tariff is a 3 volume annual publication which is updated monthly containing useful information about customs import and export requirements.

VAT: Value Added Tax.

Do you have any comments?

We would be pleased to receive any comments or suggestions you may have about this notice. Please write to:

HM Customs and Excise
Customs and International Trade, Liability Team
Portcullis House
27 Victoria Avenue
SOUTHEND-on-SEA
SS2 6AL

Please note this address is not for general enquiries. You should ring our National Advice Service about those.

If you have a complaint or suggestion

If you have a complaint please try to resolve it on the spot with our officer. If you are unable to do so, or have a suggestion about how we can improve our service, you should contact one of our Regional Complaints Units. You will find the telephone number under ‘Customs and Excise - complaints and suggestions’ in your local telephone book. Ask for a copy of our code of practice ‘Complaints and putting things right’ (Notice 1000). You will find further information on our website at http://www.hmce.gov.uk.

If we are unable to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction you can ask the Adjudicator to look into it. The Adjudicator, whose services are free, is a fair and unbiased referee whose recommendations are independent of Customs and Excise.

You can contact the Adjudicator at:

The Adjudicator's Office
Haymarket House
28 Haymarket
LONDON
SW1Y 4SP

Phone: (020) 7930 2292
Fax: (020) 7930 2298
Email: adjudicators@gtnet.gov.uk
Internet: http://www.adjudicatorsoffice.gov.uk/

Update 1 issued December 2006

On 1 January 2007 Bulgaria and Romania will join the European Union. The total number of Member States will rise to 27.

This update provides information on the additional countries to be included in section 4.

Amendment

4. Glossary

EC

After the list of EC states insert

‘Plus from 1 January 2007, Bulgaria and Romania’

Update 2 issued October 2007

The table below lists the changes to this update:

Section


Amendments


Paragraph 1.4 –


Replace the current text with:


You have a right of appeal if you disagree with any decision we make. There is an independent appeals mechanism for most HMRC decisions. This involves a two-stage process. The first stage is an independent Departmental review by HMRC. The second stage, if required, provides for an appeal to an independent VAT and Duties Tribunal. The following time limits apply:


  • You have 45 days from the date of the written notification of the decision by HMRC, to ask for a formal Departmental review.
  • HMRC then have 45 days from receipt of your letter in which to carry out the review and notify you of the outcome.
  • If following the formal review you still wish to pursue the matter, you have 30 days to lodge your appeal with the tribunal.

You can find full details in Notice 990 – Excise and Customs Appeals, which is available from our VAT, Excise and Customs Duties Advice Line on 0300 200 3700, or from the Department’s website at www.hmrc.gov.uk


Paragraph 3.2 –


Change listed CPCs to:


40 00 C30 and 49 00 C30 respectively.


Section 4 –


‘Do you have any comments?’ – amend the address to:


HM Revenue and Customs
Customs and International Directorate,
Facilitation Team
6th Floor South
Portcullis House
Victoria Avenue
Southend-on-Sea
ESSEX
SS2 6AL


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