|HMRC Reference:Notice 702 (August 2012)||View Change History|
This notice cancels and replaces Notice 702 (April 2010). Details of any changes to the previous version can be found in paragraph 1.2 of this notice.
It explains how imported goods are treated for VAT purposes.
The VAT treatment of goods imported into Customs warehouses is set out in Notice 702/9 Import Customs Procedures.
The VAT treatment of goods imported into Fiscal warehouses is set out in Notice 702/8 Fiscal warehousing.
This notice has been revised to update section 3.4 regarding the valuation method for antiques and works of art.
Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) scheme was implemented in the European Union (EU) UK 1 July 2009. You will require an EORI number if you import from or export to countries outside of the EU. Full details about EORI including the C220 EORI application form can be found at the following link
It will be of interest to anyone importing goods into the UK from outside the fiscal (VAT) territory of the European Community (EC). You can find out the extent of the fiscal territory in section 9.
The EC law relating to Import VAT is contained in the EC Principal VAT Directive (2006/112/EC).
The primary UK VAT law is contained in the VAT Act 1994. The effect of section 16 of the VAT Act 1994 is that most HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) legislation applies to import VAT except where specifically disapplied through secondary legislation.
Secondary legislation concerning import VAT is mainly contained in regulations, notably the VAT Regulations 1995 (SI/1995/2518), and orders made under the powers contained in the VAT Act 1994. Regulations 118, 119, 120 and 121 of the VAT Regulations 1995 specify the EC and HMRC legislation disapplied.
This notice is not the law. It is our view of the law and nothing in this notice takes the place of the law.
Import VAT is the transaction tax levied on imported goods. Goods are treated as imported when
Unless otherwise qualified, the term 'EC' is used in this notice to refer to the VAT (fiscal) territory of the EC, which is different from the Customs territory of the EC. The countries and territories, which make up the VAT (fiscal) territory of the EC are listed in section 9.
Goods removed from the Isle of Man to the UK are not treated as an importation provided that
Section 9 lists the territories inside/outside the EC for Customs duty and VAT purposes.
The Channel Islands and special territories listed in Section 9 are part of the EC for Customs purposes but are not part of the VAT territory.
If you import goods from the Channel Islands or special territories you will be liable for import VAT in the same way as you would for those imports detailed in paragraph 1.5.
Goods received from countries joining the EC may be subject to accessionary rates of EC Customs duties. Unlike goods from other EC member States, therefore, some frontier formalities may remain for duty purposes. However, for VAT purposes, such goods will not be subject to the import VAT treatment described in this notice. Instead, for registered traders, the arrangements set out in Notice 725 The Single Market will apply. You will not have to pay Import VAT at the time the goods are entered for Customs purposes.
If you receive supplies of services from outside the EC where the place of supply is the customer’s country, for example, the UK, you may be required to account for any VAT due on them under the reverse charge provisions. You will find more information in Notice 741 VAT Place of supply of services.
If you disagree with any decision made by HMRC you can ask for it to be reconsidered. You should do so if you can provide further relevant information, or if there are facts which you think may not have been fully taken into account. If you are still not satisfied with the decision, you can appeal to The VAT and Duties Tribunals. You will find more about the appeal procedure in:
You can get copies of the leaflet and the forms for making an appeal from any VAT Tribunal Centre or our VAT Helpline, phone 0845 010 9000.
Further information regarding appeals is available in Volume 1, Part 16 of the HMRC Tariff.
There are penalties for failing to comply with HMRC requirements. Serious breaches can lead to the imported goods being seized, and criminal prosecution.
In your own interests, if you are unsure about something, ask for advice.
VAT is charged on the importation of goods at the same rate as if the goods had been supplied in the UK.
Goods are declared to Customs using form C88 Single administrative document (SAD) that in most cases is presented in an electronic format. Import VAT is dealt with in the same way as a Customs duty. You can pay it outright at importation, or under the duty deferment arrangements explained in Notice 101 Deferring duty, VAT and other charges. Notice 101 also covers Simplified Import VAT Accounting (SIVA). This is a scheme that reduces the level of financial security required to guarantee the payment of import VAT through the duty deferment system. Traders must be authorised to operate SIVA.
If you wish to apply for, or have any queries about deferment, you should contact:
HM Revenue & Customs
Central Deferment Office
6th Floor NW
21 Victoria Avenue
Phone: 01702 367425, 367431, 367450 or 367429
Note: You cannot use the Cash accounting* scheme for imported goods.
* The Cash accounting scheme should not be confused with the Flexible Accounting Scheme (FAS) that may be used for imported goods.
Subject to the normal rules, you can claim as input tax any import VAT you pay on goods, provided those goods are imported for the purpose of your business. Your claim must normally be made on the VAT return for the accounting period during which the importation took place.
The normal evidence of payment of import VAT is the import VAT certificate (form C79), which is issued monthly. Section 8 gives more information about the C79, as well as the acceptable evidence for those types of importation that at present do not appear on a C79. It also explains what to do if you lose a certificate or have any queries about items missing from certificates.
If you are partly exempt and are unsure about the amount of tax that you may reclaim, you should consult our VAT Helpline, phone 0845 010 9000.
If you act as a shipping or forwarding agent for an importer and pay or defer VAT on their behalf, it is a commercial arrangement between you and your principal. You cannot claim the VAT as input tax because the goods are not imported for the purpose of your business. Although HMRC usually deal with agents in relation to the importation and clearance of goods, it is the importer’s responsibility to ensure that goods are properly entered, and that any Import VAT and other charges due are paid. Only the importer has the legal right to reclaim the VAT paid on imported goods as input tax, subject to the normal conditions being met.
If an importer fails to pay you import VAT you paid on their behalf, your only recourse is to the importer, except where:
In such cases you may be able to recover amounts paid as tax from HMRC. All of the following conditions must be met.
To claim repayment you should write to the National Duty Repayment Centre at Dover, enclosing:
HM Revenue & Customs
National Repayments Centre
St John’s Road
Phone: 01304 664 523
If you need any further advice you should contact the VAT Helpline, phone 0845 010 9000.
Import VAT can only be reclaimed as input tax by a VAT registered importer. However, amounts overpaid as import VAT (for example, because of misclassification of the goods) are generally repayable to the person who paid the amount to HMRC, subject to certain conditions.
Repayments to VAT registered traders
If you have overpaid import VAT you can apply for the payment to be adjusted (see section 8). You or your agent must complete form C285 Application for repayment/remission and you must support the request with the written declaration:
''I am expecting direct repayment/partial repayment to be made, and no claim to input tax deduction has been, or will be made by me on the basis of the document as originally issued.''
The written declaration must be signed by the sole proprietor, a partner or a responsible officer of the company. If the request is accepted, Customs will make the repayment.
Customs do not normally make direct repayments of import VAT. However, if you do make a request for direct repayment, it will be processed through the duty adjustment system. VAT repayments are not given special priority, and you should carefully consider whether the money could be recovered more quickly through the normal input tax deduction system. If you use deferred payment arrangements a direct repayment cannot be made until the VAT has been paid by direct debit. However, you can apply for an incorrect deferred VAT transaction to be adjusted before payment is made by direct debit, if there is sufficient time within the deferment accounting period to allow for this. You should contact the EPU where the transaction was entered, who can advise you further on the timescales and processes for adjustments to be made to your deferment account.
You may also make a claim for immediate repayment if you have been wrongly charged VAT because an incorrect Deferment Approval Number (DAN) has been quoted or keyed. You should submit your claim to the National Repayment Centre (see paragraph 2.5 for address).
Repayments to agents
If an importer fails to pay you the import VAT that you paid on their behalf, your only recourse is to the importer, except in the circumstances set out in paragraph 2.5. However, if you have overpaid import VAT (for example, because goods have been misclassified), you may be able to reclaim the amount overpaid if you can provide evidence that you have not been, and will not be reimbursed by the importer.
If you need any further advice you should contact the National Repayment Centre.
Appointing an agent to import and supply goods
If you are a non-UK trader, not registered for UK VAT, and
you can arrange for an agent who is resident in the UK, and who is registered for VAT purposes, to import and supply goods on your behalf. Under this arrangement you can avoid the need to be registered for VAT. You must agree with the agent that they will issue proper tax invoices for the supplies of the goods.
If you adopt this arrangement the place of supply of your agent’s supply of services to you may be where you belong, or where the underlying supply of the goods is made. See Notice 741 Place of supply of services.
UK agent’s responsibilities
If you act as an agent for a non-UK trader under the arrangement referred to above, you will be treated as importing and supplying the goods as the principal. You must make any necessary Customs entries as importer, pay or defer the VAT and take delivery of the goods. You can reclaim the import VAT as input tax, subject to the normal rules, but you must treat the transactions as a supply by you and charge and account for VAT on the onward sale in the normal way.
The place of supply of your services to the non-UK trader may be supplied where the non-UK trader belongs or where the underlying supply of the goods is made. See Notice 741 Place of supply of services.
Registration of non-UK traders
If you do not wish to use the arrangements referred to above, but you make taxable supplies in the UK, you will normally have to register for VAT here, when the value of your supplies exceeds the UK VAT threshold. There is more information about the threshold and the liability to register for UK VAT in Notice 700/1 Should I be registered for VAT?
If you make taxable supplies in the UK but have no business establishment here you may choose one of three options. You may:
You will find more information in Notice 700/4: Registration for VAT: Non-established taxable persons and Notice 725 The Single Market.
If you import goods that belong wholly or partly to another person, and the goods are to be used for your own or any other person’s private purposes, you cannot recover the import VAT paid as input tax. This situation will arise, for example, if a VAT registered marine repair trader imports a privately owned yacht for repair, where the yacht is to be used after repair for private purposes. If such treatment results in VAT being charged twice, you should apply to your local VAT office for a repayment. You should write giving full details of the goods and the reasons for your claim. You should enclose the VAT copy of the Customs declaration or a copy of the import VAT certificate (form C79) and a copy of any sales invoice for the goods.
Where imported goods are lost or destroyed before they are released from official control you can apply to HMRC at the place where the import entry was presented for repayment or remission of the Import VAT paid or due, using form C285 Application for repayment/remission (see paragraph 2.6). Where imported goods are lost or destroyed after release from official control, you can deduct the VAT paid as input tax, subject to the normal rules, provided the goods were to be used for the purposes of your business. You need not account for output tax unless you supplied the goods to someone else before the loss or destruction occurred. You will find more about this in Notice 700 The VAT Guide.
then you should zero-rate the supply.
When the precise amount of Import Duty due cannot be assessed at the time the declaration is presented, release of the goods can usually be allowed on payment of a deposit or the provision of security to cover the amount of duty considered to be in dispute (see Notice 252 Valuation of Imported goods for Customs purposes, VAT and Trade Statistics).
If you are VAT registered you may pay the import VAT outright, based on the value for VAT that includes the highest potential duty amount. An import VAT certificate (form C79) will be issued and you can claim repayment on your VAT return under the normal rules. Alternatively, you may provide security for the disputed amount of VAT. However, you should be aware that this might not be to your advantage. If you choose to secure the disputed element of VAT, a C79 will not be issued until after the duty amount has been adjusted. The adjustment may not take place until some weeks after the deposit has been made, depending on how long it takes you or your agent to produce the necessary evidence. Input tax recovery may be delayed accordingly.
If you are not VAT registered you must secure the amount of VAT in dispute.
The value for VAT of imported goods is their Customs value, determined according to the Customs rules described in Notice 252 Valuation of Imported goods for Customs purposes, VAT and Trade Statistics, plus, if not already included in the price:
Note: Some goods are entitled to a reduced valuation at import. See paragraph 3.4 for details.
In addition to the examples given above (such as transport), the term 'incidental expenses' also covers such items as Customs clearance charges, quay rent, entry fees, demurrage, handling, loading and storage costs. Generally, where supplies of services qualify for zero-rating because they are supplied in connection with an importation of goods, the cost of those services should be included in the value for import VAT.
Certain costs, for example, royalties and licence fees, should not be included in the value for import VAT as they are taxable under the reverse charge/international service arrangements (see Notice 741: Place of supply of services for details).
'First destination' is the place mentioned on the consignment note or any other commercial document relating to the imported goods. In the absence of such documentation, it means the place of the first transfer of the goods in the UK.
If a further destination in the UK or another EC member State is known at the time the goods are imported, costs relating to the transport of the goods to that place must be included in the import VAT value.
Calculation of the amount for incidental expenses.
The following three methods may be used to calculate the ‘incidental expenses’ element of the import VAT value. The first method requires actual costs to be declared, whilst methods two and three provide ways of estimating the incidental expenses. Use of the three methods is non-hierarchical and individual importers or agents may use whichever method best suits their particular circumstances.
This method requires the actual costs to be declared at the time the goods are imported. The time of importation is the time when the Customs debt is incurred or would have been incurred if the goods were subject to duty. In cases where the costs are later found to be incorrect (for example, if additional storage costs are incurred) the amount(s) paid will need to be adjusted after importation.
The following nationally agreed rates may be used to estimate the incidental expenses to be included in the import VAT value. The rates are intended only for international movements of goods, which terminate in the UK, and represent average costs of handling, storage, Customs declarations and transport to destination. Values for other consignments, including those destined for delivery in other Member States, should be based on methods one or three. If importers/agents use the method two rates, post importation adjustments are not required. Additionally, where it is found that the amount of import VAT based on actual costs exceeds the amount declared on the basis of method two rates, HMRC will not seek to collect the arrears of import VAT unless the importer concerned is not registered for VAT, or if registered, is restricted in the amount of import VAT that can be claimed as input tax.
In cases where methods one and two are considered inappropriate or impractical to use, individual agreements may be negotiated with your Entry Processing Unit, or with the importers local Excise and Inland Customs office. Importers or agents interested in this method, who are uncertain about which office to approach should contact the VAT Helpline, phone 0845 010 9000. Once a method three rate is used, post importation adjustments are not required.
HMRC data processing system (The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF)) calculates the value for VAT by adding any duties, levies and additional costs to be included in the VAT value to the value declared in box 22 of the import declaration (the SAD). Where any of these additional costs, which need to be included in the VAT value, are not included in the total invoice value (box 22) or the other value build-up boxes (63-67), you must declare them in the Adjustment for import VAT Value box (68).
If the value for VAT is less than that which CHIEF would normally calculate for Customs duty purposes, you must calculate the amount of VAT payable manually. Except at manual locations, you must enter the code ‘VAT’ in the Rate column of box 47. You must enter the calculated payment in the amount column.
If goods are liable to ad valorem Customs duty (that is, a duty chargeable on the basis of value), a declaration on form C105 (Valuation Declaration) made for duty purposes, will also generally be acceptable for VAT. However, the declaration will only provide information which helps determine the Customs value of the goods, and it should not be regarded as establishing their full value for VAT purposes (see paragraph 3.1).
Where goods are not liable to ad valorem duty but are liable to VAT at the standard rate, a valuation declaration for import VAT is only to be completed when requested by customs and:
There are no arrangements for registering a General Valuation Statement for VAT only entries. Individual valuation declarations must be submitted where necessary.
Whether or not a valuation declaration is required for the goods, evidence of value must be produced. Acceptable evidence is a copy of the seller’s invoice or other document against which payment will be made. This will include telex or similar messages used instead of invoices.
Further information on valuation declarations is given in Notice 252 Valuation of Imported goods for Customs purposes, VAT and Trade Statistics.
Certain works of art, antiques and collectors’ items are entitled to a reduced valuation at importation. This is reached by calculating a value for duty using the appropriate duty method, adding any additional costs (see paragraph 3.1) and multiplying the total by 25 per cent. Applying the 20 per cent rate to this value gives an effective VAT rate of 5 per cent
Section 11 contains definitions of the works of art, antiques and collectors’ items that will be eligible for the reduced valuation.
You can find details of the entry procedure in HMRC Tariff. The following Customs Procedure Codes (CPCs) apply:
Previously exported works of art, antiques and collectors’ items
An imported work of art, antique or collectors’ item, as defined in section 11, will be eligible for the reduced rate provided that it had not been exported from the United Kingdom less than 12 months before the date of importation.
You can find details of the declaration procedure in HMRC Tariff. The following CPCs apply:
Further details can be found in:
As explained in paragraph 3.1, commissions connected with an importation of goods are normally included as part of the overall value of goods for import VAT purposes. However this general rule no longer applies in respect of certain imports of works of art, antiques and collector's pieces.
Where works of art, antiques and collector's pieces are temporarily admitted into the UK and sold by auction while subject to the temporary admission (TA) regime, the auctioneer will charge commission to the buyer. This commission is known as buyer's premium. Where auctioned goods have been removed from TA and finally imported into the United Kingdom the buyer's premium has always been included in the value of the goods for import VAT purposes. However because the goods attract an effective reduced rate of VAT (equivalent to 5 per cent), the premium was also taxed at this effective reduced rate. The European Court of Justice has ruled that the commission should in fact be taxed at the standard rate of VAT and the UK has therefore introduced the following arrangement with effect from 1 September 2006.
From this date buyer's premium is not to be included in the value for import VAT purposes of works of art, antiques and collectors items sold at auction under Temporary Admission and subsequently finally imported into the United Kingdom. This is because arrangements have been made for the commission to be taxed under the normal rules as a standard rated domestic supply. Auctioneers should consult Notice 718 The VAT Margin Scheme and global accounting for further details of the new arrangements.
You will find details of the declaration procedure in Volume 3 of HMRC Tariff.
The following paragraphs give particular information about the import VAT aspects.
Unless the goods are placed under Excise warehousing or one of the Customs arrangements listed in Notice 702/9 Import Customs Procedures, the payment of the import VAT due must normally be made either at the time of importation, or be deferred together with any duty due, provided you or your agent are approved to use the deferment scheme (see paragraph 2.2). As an alternative to deferring the payment of all the import charges on an entry to either the importer’s or the agent’s deferment account, payment of the VAT may be deferred to the importer’s account and all other charges to the agent’s. Volume 3 of the HMRC Tariff explains how to do this. Further information can also be found in Notice 101 Deferring Duty, VAT and other charges.
The import entry must be presented at the National Clearance Hub. If the consignment is covered by a single commodity code for Customs purposes, but includes goods liable to VAT at both the standard and zero rate (such as clothing for adults and children), the importer or agent must complete a separate item on the entry for the goods liable to each rate of VAT. Special rules apply to the completion of the tax lines in the calculation of taxes box (box 47) depending on whether the entry is presented at a manual or Customs computerised location.
Where an amendment of the declaration is made after the goods have been released out of official charge and this results in less import VAT being payable than was originally declared and paid, you can reclaim the higher amount of tax as input tax in the normal way. You can also use the procedure described in paragraph 2.6. Where amendment of a declaration results in more import VAT being payable, you must submit the additional payment, and a completed form C18 to the EPU concerned. The additional payment will appear on the import VAT certificate (form C79), which is the official evidence for input tax deduction (see section 8).
Consignments (other than International Datapost/EMS packets) not exceeding £2,000 in value
If you are registered for VAT and are importing goods in the course of your business and a Customs declaration accompanies the goods showing:
you do not have to pay immediately the VAT due at importation. Instead, you may account for the VAT in box 1 of the VAT return for the period covering the importation. You can claim input tax deduction under the normal rules on the same return. No import VAT certificate (form C79) will be issued. The evidence to support your claim will be the invoice from your foreign supplier.
If your VAT number is not clearly shown on the postal package you may be charged VAT. A cash refund will not be made. To support your claim to import tax you should keep the charge label, postal wrapper and any Customs declaration (that is, form CN22 or form CN23) that was attached to the package.
International Datapost/EMS packets not exceeding £2,000 in value
Royal Mail/Parcelforce will ask you for payment of VAT when the package is delivered. You must keep the charge label which was attached to the package to support any claim to input tax. You cannot defer payment of import VAT and duty on these consignments.
Consignments exceeding £2,000 in value entered to home use and free circulation
For these importations - whether or not by International Datapost/EMS - you must lodge a declaration on form C88 Single administrative document (SAD) (which will be sent to you) and return it to Customs with an invoice and/or other acceptable evidence of the value of the goods. You will have to pay the import VAT and any other charges due at importation immediately, unless you are approved to use the deferment scheme. After payment you will be sent a copy of the declaration to support any claim to input tax deduction. For further information regarding postal imports you should refer to Notices 143 A guide for international post users and 144 Trade imports by post: how to complete Customs documents.
If you import goods from outside the EC which are then consigned to a destination in another EC member State you must normally either:
In short, you will not normally be able to put goods into free circulation in one EC Member State and pay import VAT in another. However, you may wish to take advantage of a VAT relief for goods you import and put into free circulation in the course of a zero-rated supply of those goods to a taxable person in another member State (see Notice 702/7 Import VAT relief for goods supplied onward to another country in the EC).
An ATA Carnet is an international Customs document that simplifies the Customs formalities for goods temporarily imported or exported.
Further information can be found in Notice 104 ATA Carnets and 702/9 Import Customs Procedures.
Temporary Admission (TA) enables you to obtain relief from import VAT and Customs duties on a range of goods temporarily admitted for use from outside the EC, provided that they are intended for re-export after use (in most cases use can be for up to a maximum of two years).
Further information can be found in Section 3 of Notice 702/9 Import Customs Procedures, Notice 200 Temporary Admission, Notice 306 Temporary Admission - temporarily importing non-EC Containers and Pallets and Notice 308 Temporary admission - temporarily importing non-EC means of transport for private or commercial use.
Subject to certain conditions, you can import some types of goods without payment of import VAT. The VAT relief follows the Customs duty relief’s that are explained in the notices listed below.
317 Imports by charities free of duty and VAT
340 Importing scientific instruments free of duty and VAT
341 Importing donated medical equipment free of duty and VAT
342 Importing miscellaneous documents and other related articles free of duty and VAT
343 Importing capital goods free of duty and VAT
361 Importing museum and gallery exhibits free of duty and VAT
362 Imported antiques
364 Importing decorations and awards free of duty and VAT
365 Animals for scientific research free of duty and VAT
366 Importing biological and chemical substances for research free of duty and VAT
367 Importing commercial samples of negligible value free of duty and VAT
368 Importing inherited goods free of duty and VAT
369 Importing blood grouping, tissue typing and certain therapeutic substances free of duty and VAT
371 Importing goods for disabled people free of duty and VAT
373 Importing visual and auditory materials free of duty and VAT
374 Importing goods for test free of duty and VAT
If you import goods from outside the EC, and place them under one of the Customs arrangements listed in Notice 702/9 Import Customs Procedures, the importation for VAT purposes is not regarded as having taken place until you declare the goods for free circulation in the UK. Import VAT is then chargeable. All the conditions applicable to the appropriate Customs duty procedure, including the declaration and provision of entry, security etc, will apply for VAT purposes, even where import VAT is the only charge due.
You can move goods from one suspensive regime to another, for example, from Customs warehousing to Inward Processing Relief suspension, without payment of import VAT.
However for goods entered to Inward Processing Relief under the drawback system, End-Use relief (other than shipwork end use), Temporary Importation with partial relief or outward processing relief you must pay the import VAT at the time of importation. See Notices 221 Inward processing relief, 200 Temporary Admission, 235 Outward processing relief, and 770 Imported goods: end use relief for further information.
Further information is contained in Notice 702/9 Import Customs Procedures.
If you re-import goods that were temporarily exported outside the EC territory for repair, service, making up or processing see Notice 702/9 Import Customs Procedures, section 7. You can find the duty relief procedures and entry procedures in Notice 235 Outward processing relief.
If you re-import your own goods in the same state as they were exported, you need not pay import VAT provided:
This relief is intended primarily to avoid import VAT having to be paid and reclaimed, perhaps several times, for example, on goods taken outside the EC on approval and brought back unsold or on tools and equipment returned after use outside the EC.
There are various returned goods reliefs, each of which has its set of limiting conditions, and in certain circumstances you may have a choice of more than one. A complete list of returned goods relief Customs Procedure Codes detailing the type of procedure for which goods may be entered can be found in Volume 3, Appendix E of HMRC Tariff. You will find details of the entry procedures for claiming relief on reimported goods in Notice 236 Importing returned goods free of duty and tax.
Import VAT reliefs are described fully in Volume 3 of the Tariff. The main VAT reliefs fall within the following CPC headings:
Conditional (free circulation import) reliefs
Outward Processing Relief
Processing under Customs Control
Zero-rated onward supplies
Unless otherwise indicated in this, or other sections, all the procedures in this notice also apply to unregistered persons.
You must declare goods on importation and pay or defer the import VAT in the same way as anyone who is registered for VAT. However, as you are not entitled to reclaim the import VAT you pay as input tax, you do not receive an import VAT certificate (C79 - see section 8). However you can claim import VAT paid on goods when:
You do not have to complete a declaration on form C88 Single administrative document (SAD) unless you are importing the goods as freight, you are claiming one of the reliefs listed in paragraph 5.1 or you are claiming an exemption. If these reliefs are not applicable, you can only claim any import VAT paid in the circumstances explained in paragraph 6.1.
As well as the reliefs described in paragraph 5.4 and some of the reliefs described in paragraph 5.1, you can also claim relief from import VAT on specific categories of goods. These reliefs are explained in the notices listed below:
The customs value of imported software has to be determined according to the normal valuation rules. Where the customs value is declared on the basis of the transaction value, under Article 29 of Council Regulation No 2913/92, the value should be based on the price actually paid or payable for both the carrier medium and the data and instructions (the software) on it.
For customs valuation purposes, no distinction is made between normalised or specific software.
Products containing 'normalised' software are mass produced items which are freely available to all customers and usable by them independently after installation and limited training in a standard form to carry out the same applications or functions. They are made up of a coherent set of programs and support material and often include the service of installation, training and maintenance. Personal computer software, home computer software and game packages are in this category. Also included are standard packages adapted at the supplier’s instigation to include security or similar devices.
If the software is supplied to you free of charge, for example in an inter-company transaction, you will pay VAT on the value in accordance with the valuation rules in paragraph 3.1.
'Specific' products are:
items made to customers’ special requirements, either as unique programs or adaptations from standard programs
inter-company information data and accounts
enhancements and updates of existing 'specific' programs, and
enhancements and updates of existing 'normalised' programs supplied under contractual obligation to customers who have bought the original program.
Under Section 21 (1) of the VAT Act 1994, the value of imported goods shall be determined according to the rules applicable in the case of Community Customs duties. (See paragraph 7.1). For a full description of Place of Supply of services see Notice 741.
The transmission and provision of information by satellite, phone, telex, facsimile etc. is treated as a service. You will find more information on this in Notice 741 VAT: Place of supply of services.
(Referred to in paragraphs 2.3, 4.2 and 6.1)
This section explains the current arrangements for the issue of evidence that import VAT has been paid.
You need to hold official evidence of VAT paid on imported goods before you can recover the VAT as input tax. The normal evidence is the monthly certificate, known as form C79. It does not in itself allow you to claim back the VAT you have paid which must, in all cases, be deductible under the normal input tax rules.
We send the certificates (form C79) to the VAT/EORI registered person whose VAT registration number is shown in box 8 of the import declaration. You must take great care to use the correct EORI number. If not, the VAT you have paid may not appear on your certificate and may even end up on another person’s certificate. Similarly, you may find someone else’s import VAT on your certificate.
Warning: We will take action against agents/importers who persistently quote incorrect EORI numbers. This may include prosecution box.
The C79 certificate is issued in connection with most import procedures, and also post importation corrections and removals from a Customs warehouse. These are listed in paragraph 8.17. There are some types of importation that do not appear on the certificate. These are listed in paragraph 8.18 together with the acceptable evidence of payment shown against each type.
The certificate is made up of twin sided A4 sheets with a blue print background. A specimen of the format of a certificate is reproduced in paragraph 8.5.
Flexible Accounting System (FAS) paid VAT transactions will be shown under your EORI number.
Neither the agent’s VAT number nor the agent’s reference number appears on the certificate for immediate payment and FAS paid transactions. If this causes you particular difficulties you may wish to consider arranging duty deferment facilities. The Post Clearance section of the Customs Entry Processing Unit (EPU) at the port of entry can advise you which agent handled your declaration.
The accounting date will be shown against each item on the certificate, and transactions will appear on the certificate for the month covering that accounting date - for example, transactions bearing an accounting date of October will normally appear on the October C79 certificates. For transactions paid by duty deferment the accounting date is normally the date of clearance of the goods. For immediate payment and FAS items the accounting date may, in some instances, be later than the date of the declaration. So some goods cleared in late October may have a November accounting date, and will therefore appear on the November certificate.
Transactions that are the subject of an accounting query will appear on the first certificate issued after the query has been dealt with.
A single total of VAT for the period will appear at the end of the final page.
(Referred to in paragraph 8.4)
**You must keep this certificate to support your claim to input tax**
Certificates cover accounting transactions made in each calendar month and are issued on or about the 12th day of the following month. For example, October certificates (certificates covering transactions with accounting dates in October) are issued on or about 12 November. We post the certificates direct to your address as shown on the main VAT register. This means that, for VAT group registrations, a single certificate is issued to the address of the representative member of the group. Certificates cannot be sent to an address other than that on the main VAT register.
The original certificate or Customs issued replacement is the prime evidence for claiming input tax deduction. However, you may copy and distribute certificates as required for internal accounting purposes. We will also allow a self-accounting branch to use a photocopy of the certificate as an accounting document for the purpose of input tax deduction, provided the original is made available for inspection if requested by the control officer.
The date when the VAT shown on the certificate may be treated as input tax is normally the accounting date alongside each item, not the date when the certificate is issued. So, for example, if your VAT return period ends 31 October, you may treat as input tax for that period, subject to the normal rules, VAT paid shown on your October certificate (issued 12 November).
If you have non-standard tax periods and the issue date of the 12th of the month causes you difficulties, you may wish to consider applying to your local VAT office (LVO) for permission to estimate input tax.
We do not issue certificates to importers who are registered for VAT in the Isle of Man. These are importers whose EORI numbers currently begin ‘000’, ‘001’ or ‘002’. If you are an importer based in the Isle of Man you need manual evidence. To get manual evidence you must currently present an additional copy of the declaration to Customs at the place of importation marked prominently ‘VAT’ at the top and showing the amount of VAT payable in box 44 of the declaration on form C88 Single administrative document (SAD) or box 14 of the C1451 SPIC (simplified procedures for import clearance). The copy is authenticated by Customs and returned to you via your agent. For goods removed from a Customs warehouse copies of the declaration are issued.
We do not issue certificates to health authorities and government departments whose TURNs begin with HA or GD.
When VAT is paid at the point of importation and the authority or department is entitled to input tax deduction, a HMRC authenticated copy of the declaration will be issued as evidence.
Negative amounts may appear on your certificate. These are either repayments of import VAT (see paragraph 8.11) or corrections of errors.
If you apply for a direct repayment of import VAT which you have overpaid (see paragraph 2.6) the VAT will appear as a negative amount on your next VAT certificate. As you must give a written declaration that the VAT overpaid neither has been nor will be reclaimed as input tax, you should not include the negative amount in your VAT account.
We keep for a period of six years, microfiche copies of all monthly certificates issued. You can get replacements of lost or missing certificates from:
HM Revenue & Customs
VAT Central Unit, Microfilm Section
8th Floor, Alexander House
You need to request them in writing, by faxing your request to - fax no. 01702 367385 on business headed paper, quoting your VAT registration number and the month(s) for which replacement is required. Replacement certificates will be issued to your VAT registered address.
Before you request replacement certificates, you need to be sure that a certificate should, in fact, have been issued (see paragraph 8.16).
VCU Microfilm section cannot answer general queries about certificates. You should contact the VAT Helpline, phone 0845 010 9000.
If there is not enough time for you to get a replacement certificate before your VAT return is due, contact your LVO to arrange use of alternative evidence or estimation of input tax.
If you are newly registered for VAT you will need to apply for an EORI number completing parts A and C of the C220 EORI application form - form C220 electronic application. A certificate cannot be produced without a UK EORI number.
Paragraph 8.2 explains how someone else’s import VAT can appear on your certificate. If you discover such an item you must not deduct as input tax the amount shown. If you or the agent who made the import declaration later corrects the error, a negative amount will appear on your next certificate. If you have already wrongly deducted the VAT shown, you must show the negative amount as a credit on the VAT deductible side of your account. This will reduce the amount of input tax you are able to claim in that period.
If you consider that any VAT amounts paid or deferred are missing from a certificate ask yourself:
If none of these explanations apply, you or your agent may have entered your EORI number incorrectly on the entry and you should contact the centralised processing unit dealing with post-clearance non-revenue amendments. Their address is Custom House, Furness Quay, Salford. M50 3XN. Tel: 0161 261 7201. Fax: 0161 261 5484. However where there is a revenue implication you should contact the centralised processing unit dealing with such matters. Their address is Custom House, Furness Quay, Salford M50 3XN. Tel: 0161 261 7119. Fax: 0161 261 5484.
If you need further help or advice on the C79 certificate system you should contact our VAT Helpline, phone 0845 010 9000.
(Referred to in paragraph 8.3)
Previous evidence for input tax deduction
A: Air/sea imports
The Single Administrative Document (SAD)
SAD – authenticated copy 8
Weekly VAT certificate issued by Customs computer report TW-AH or TW-BH
Weekly VAT certificate issued by Customs computer report TW-AH or TW-BH
B: Post entry correction
C: Removals from warehouse
Form C259 – authenticated copy 4
Excise or Customs warehouse
Duty payment Form W5, W6 or W20 or Duty deferment Form W5D, W6D or W20D
Duty payment W50
(Referred to in paragraph 8.3)
Previous evidence for input tax deduction
A: Air/sea imports
Bulked entries - Single Administrative Document (SAD)
Customs authenticated invoices
Customs authenticated invoices
PE33 (not authenticated by Customs)
Transit Shed Register (TSR) – imports not exceeding £600 (non-DTI)
Customs authenticated commercial invoice (or local variations of procedure) certified by Customs. The concession allowing use of copies of agents’ disbursement invoices in certain circumstances will continue.
B: Postal imports
Exceeding £2000 - SAD
SAD - authenticated copy 8
Not exceeding £2000 (Customs declaration Form C1 or C2/CPU)
No input tax evidence issued. Postponed accounting can be used by VAT registered persons (see paragraph 4.3). Importers produce commercial evidence of importation when required. When postponed accounting is not used, satisfactory evidence of tax payment.
(Referred to in paragraphs 1.1, 1.6 and 7.3)
VAT territory of the European Community (EC)
The fiscal (VAT) territory of the European Community consists of:
There are some 'special territories' which are within the EC Customs area but outside the EC fiscal (VAT) area:
Goods entering the UK from the 'special territories' will, for VAT purposes, be treated as imported goods.
Note: The Vatican City is not part of the EC, neither is Gibraltar regarded as part of the EC for VAT or Customs purposes.
(Referred to in paragraphs 4.1 and 5.2)
Details of Customs suspensive arrangements are now contained in Notice 702/9 Import Customs Procedures.
(Referred to in paragraph 3.5)
This section applies only to VAT.
An article which is not 100 years old may be eligible for the scheme under this heading if it is of historical significance because of it’s uniqueness, or by having a direct association with an historical person or event, or is a rare example marking an important change in technical or artistic development in a particular field. Items, which were mass-produced or are merely the products of a bygone age, are unlikely to be eligible.
The list of examples shown is by no means exhaustive but gives general guidelines on the types of article eligible under this heading.
Postage stamps: Issued by a country to mark its independence
Motor vehicles which:
In view of the fact that a motor vehicle is basically a utility article with a relatively short life, and subject to constant technical development, then the foregoing preconditions underlying the above judgments, in so far as they are not obviously contradicted by the facts, can be taken to apply in respect of:
Also included as collectors’ pieces of historical interest are
(a) motor vehicles, irrespective of their date of manufacture, which can be proved to have been used in the course of an historic event
(b) motor-racing vehicles, which can be proved to be designed, built and used solely for competition and have scored significant sporting successes at prestigious national or international events.
The above notes and criteria also apply to motorcycles.
If you wish to import a vehicle covered by the guidelines above, you are advised to phone the Classification Advice Line on 01702 366077 Option two, before making a purchase to ensure that your vehicle will be eligible for the reduced rate of VAT at import.
Products designed by famous historical craftsmen.
General military items up to and including World War 1 such as weapons, badges etc, items of militaria which belonged to, or were used by, a famous person who won a gallantry award.
If you do not agree with any decision issued to you there are three options available. Within 30 days of the date of the decision you can either:
Your request must be in writing and should set out the reasons why you do not agree with the decision.
Please write to:
Customs and International
Review and Appeals Team
7th Floor South West
21 Victoria Avenue
If you opt to have your case reviewed you will still be able to appeal to the tribunal if you disagree with the outcome.
Further information relating to reviews and appeals is contained in leaflet HMRC1 which can be obtained from our website or by phoning 0845 900 0404.
You can find more information about reviews and appeals from our guide ‘Appeals against HM Revenue & Customs decisions’ or our fact sheet, HMRC 1, ‘HMRC decisions – what to do if you disagree’. You can download copies of these information sheets by visiting our website, go to www.hmrc.gov.uk or phone the VAT Helpline on 0845 010 9000.
Your Charter explains what you can expect from us and what we expect from you. For more information go to Your Charter.
If you have any comments or suggestions to make about this notice, please write to:
HM Revenue & Customs
10th Floor SW
Please note this address is not for general enquiries.
For your general enquiries please phone our Helpline 0845 010 9000.
If you are unhappy with our service, please contact the person or office you have been dealing with. They will try to put things right. If you are still unhappy, they will tell you how to complain.
If you want to know more about making a complaint go to www.hmrc.gov.uk and under quick links, select Complaints and appeals.
HMRC is a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998. We hold information for the purposes specified in our notification to the Information Commissioner, including the assessment and collection of tax and duties, the payment of benefits and the prevention and detection of crime, and may use this information for any of them.
We may get information about you from others, or we may give information to them. If we do, it will only be as the law permits to:
We may check information we receive about you with what is already in our records. This can include information provided by you, as well as by others, such as other government departments or agencies and overseas tax and customs authorities. We will not give information to anyone outside HMRC unless the law permits us to do so. For more information go to www.hmrc.gov.uk and look for Data Protection Act within the Search facility.
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