|HMRC Reference:Notice 199 (July 2012)||View Change History|
This notice cancels and replaces Notice 199 (April 2010). Details of any changes to the previous version can be found in paragraph 1.1 of this notice.
This notice outlines the customs procedures which apply to the importation of goods into the United Kingdom from places outside the Community, from the time of their arrival until they are entered to free circulation or another customs procedure.
It also describes the rules governing the liability for customs debt and the procedures for collecting and recovering those debts.
This latest version has been updated with amendments at, 2.3, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 4.6, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.8, 8.5 and 10.2.
This notice and others mentioned are available on our website.
When you bring goods into the Community through the United Kingdom (UK), you must take them without delay to a place approved by us, that is, an approved office of destination, and then present them to us.
Goods imported by sea must be landed at an approved wharf. Goods imported by air must be landed at an approved airport. . Please note some airports are only approved to handle certain types of goods. A list of approved places is contained in the Integrated Tariff of the UK (the tariff) Volume 3 Appendix C2. Alternatively contact our Helpline 0300 200 3700 for details of approved wharves and airports.
For goods imported by pipeline or similar means, you must arrange the procedures through your local customs control officer.
When goods are cleared, they may be removed to an approved temporary storage premise, namely, an Inland Clearance Depot, Transit Shed, Remote Transit Shed or Enhanced Remote Transit Shed. Alternatively, goods may move under local clearance procedures to an authorised importer’s approved premises.
If your goods arrive in another Member State but you intend to put them into free circulation in the UK, they will need to travel under a transit procedure. Transit rules apply until they reach an approved office of destination. You can put the goods under an international transit procedure, for example TIR, before they enter the Community or under the Community Transit Procedure when they enter the Community.
Imported goods from third countries must arrive at a designated place and must be presented to us by the person who brought the goods into the Community. Presentation means informing us in the required manner that the goods have arrived.
Once you have presented goods to us, you must lodge a summary declaration with us no later than the first working day following the day of presentation.
The person, or the person representing them, who has brought the goods into the Community, or the person who assumes responsibility for their onward carriage, should present them.
You may present goods by:
You should present goods which have been moved under a transit procedure to us under the rules applicable to that regime. After presentation, the rest of this notice will apply to these goods.
Yes. Goods must be presented within three hours of their arrival at the place of unloading.
The declaration must be made by one of the following:
The summary declaration is form C1600. We accept commercial documents or computer records instead if they contain the necessary details.
Acceptable commercial documents include:
If you want to use commercial documents, first contact the National Clearance Hub (NCH) (Phone: 0161 261 7000) to agree which commercial documents are acceptable.
Where goods have travelled under the Community or common transit procedures, the copy of the transit document retained by the Office of Destination will be the summary declaration. This applies to manifests used under the Community transit simplified procedures for transport by air or sea.
A summary declaration must be made within 24 hours of presentation. If the goods are entered or re-exported from the Community or destroyed before the time when the summary declaration has to be made, we may be prepared to waive lodgement. You must contact the NCH (Phone: 0161 261 7000) to see whether we are prepared to do this.
Yes. Contact the NCH (Phone: 0161 261 7000) for advice.
You may only unload goods from a ship, aircraft or vehicle after presentation and with our permission at places approved by us. In emergencies, goods may be unloaded for safety reasons without permission. However you must inform us immediately of their arrival once the goods have been unloaded.
Yes. Where it is necessary for cargo to be transferred at sea from an importing ship at deep water anchorage to smaller vessels, for example, barges for delivery ashore, we may give our permission for these operations. You should contact the NCH to agree procedures for transporting the goods to an approved wharf. We shall impose conditions and specify the route the goods must take.
Yes. After presentation, goods have the status of being in temporary storage until they are assigned to a Customs approved treatment or use. While in temporary storage, goods may not be removed, opened or examined without our permission and may only be handled in a way which preserves them without changing them. They may only be stored in places which we have approved. These are called temporary storage facilities in Community law.
For goods imported by sea, wharves and transit sheds may be approved as places for temporary storage purposes subject to conditions being met. At airports, transit sheds will be approved. Premises, including those away from ports and airports such as Enhanced Remote Transit Sheds (ERTS) or Inland Clearance Depots (ICD) will only be approved subject to certain conditions being met. The restrictions on movement of goods in temporary storage also apply to goods brought into a free zone.
They include a requirement for the operator of the temporary storage premises to:
Operators of Customs approved temporary storage facilities have obligations under the Community Customs Code and the Implementing Regulations which must be observed in addition to the specific terms of any written conditions of approval.
You can obtain more information about temporary storage facilities and general conditions of their approval from our Helpline.(Phone: 0300 200 3700).
A customs debt will arise if the conditions of temporary storage are breached. If the goods are removed unlawfully, we may hold the person holding the goods personally liable for any customs debt incurred. In addition, the person removing the goods and others may be guilty of an offence (see section 10).
We shall require operators of temporary storage facilities to provide some form of financial security, usually a Deed of Undertaking. For further information, contact the National Approvals Unit on 0121 697 4045.
Goods presented to us must be assigned to a Customs approved treatment or use.
Customs procedures are:
Yes. Goods must be assigned to a Customs approved treatment or use within:
If you cannot arrange for the goods to be assigned to a Customs approved treatment or use within the period allowed, you must apply in writing to the Customs office for the place where the goods are stored for an extension of time. Your application must give the reason for the request and the following information:
When an application is granted, we shall write to you giving a date by which the goods must be entered. You must pass a copy of this letter to the operator of the temporary storage facility.
You can make a declaration (normally electronic) on the SAD to the NCH when the goods to which it relates have arrived. We may allow a declaration to be lodged before the arrival of the goods but it will only be accepted when the goods have actually arrived and been presented as described in section 3.
You can find out more about how to declare goods by consulting the Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom. You can purchase it from the Stationery Office and by mail, fax and phone only from them at PO Box 29, Norwich, NR3 1GN. Phone orders/general enquiries 0870 600 5522. Fax orders 0870 600 5533. Email email@example.com. You can also consult it online at Business Link - International Trade site accessed from this link.
A declaration is normally made where the goods can be physically presented to us. This may take place at an approved airport, port, approved temporary storage area or Local Clearance Procedure premises.
Yes. If you need to examine the goods, contact the NCH (Phone: 0161 261 7000) and ask for permission. If you want to take samples, you must make a written application to us and include the following information:
You should present the goods together with the appropriate transit document to us at the office of departure where the transit movement will start.
If you wish to destroy goods, you must make a written application to the NCH. The application must be signed by the owner of the goods and include the following details:
You should pass a copy of our authorisation, which will set out the conditions which must be met, to the operator of the temporary storage facility. Destruction of the goods must not entail any expense to the Exchequer.
If the goods are not assigned to a Customs approved treatment or use within the time allowed, including any extensions granted, we are required without delay to take measures, including sale of the goods, to ensure that they are properly disposed of. We may take them to a Queen’s Warehouse.
Storage charges are the responsibility of the person in possession of the goods, unless the goods have been formally seized. In the latter case, we are not responsible for accrued charges prior to seizure.
These include the need for veterinary or other health checks to be carried out before temporary storage status is ended. The production of import licences, certificates etc, may also be required when the goods are entered.
Yes, it applies where Community goods have to be presented to us under Community regulations.
Certain goods from those parts of the customs territory where the VAT Directive does not apply are affected. The parts of the customs territory concerned are as follows:
Mount Athos (Agion Poros)
They will travel to the UK under the internal Community Transit Procedure (T2). The Office of Destination copy of the T2 will act as the summary declaration.
There are also certain circumstances where Community goods must have their status established. It must be established unless the goods are carried by air between two Community airports under cover of a single transport document or carried by sea on an authorised regular shipping service. The affected goods are usually either:
If the status document is not available at the port or airport of destination, the goods will be treated as goods of third country origin until their status is established.
‘Customs debt’ is used in this section to refer to import duties (customs duties, anti-dumping duties, CAP charges) which become payable upon importation of goods into the Community. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) must ensure that the correct import duties are paid on imports into the UK, by the person who is liable to pay them. Import VAT is covered in section 9.
The ‘declarant’ is primarily liable for the customs debt and is the person, firm or company who makes the customs declaration in respect of the goods being imported. The declaration is usually on form C88, the Single Administrative Document (SAD).
If you are the declarant and use an agent to make the customs declaration as your representative, the agent may also become liable for the customs debt. This depends on whether the representation is ‘direct’ or ‘indirect’. These terms are explained below in paragraph 7.4.
If you make a declaration for another person but do not declare the representation on the form C88 (SAD) indicating either direct or indirect, you will be considered to be representing only yourself and liable for the customs debt.
A declarant is the natural person (an individual) or legal person (company, partnership, public body, etc) who either makes the declaration in his own name or in whose name a declaration is made by a representative. Often this is not the same as the individual who signs the form as, for example, a limited company has officers or other employees to do this on their behalf. When this happens, the individual who signs on behalf of the legal person is not the declarant, the legal person is.
You can be the declarant if you are able to present the goods and the relevant documents to HMRC and make a customs declaration for the goods. However, if the acceptance of a customs declaration imposes obligations on a particular person, then you can only be the declarant if you are that person.
To be the declarant, you must be established in the Community. Individuals who are normally resident in the Community are regarded as established in the Community, as will any company that has a genuine permanent place of business or its registered office in the Community. However, if you are making a declaration for transit or temporary importation, or only declare goods on an occasional basis, you do not need to be established in the Community.
You can act as a representative for another person in one of the following ways:
If you make a customs declaration in your own name, but for a potential customer, you will be liable for any customs debt that arises upon the acceptance of the declaration by HMRC.
If you do not state the representation on the customs declaration or you are not empowered to be a representative of another person, then you will be deemed to be acting in your own name and on your own behalf.
If you delegate a task to a sub-agent, then the sub-agent is bound by the type of representation you have agreed with the principal.
When you make a customs declaration acting as a direct representative on behalf of a principal i.e. the declarant, the principal will be liable for the customs debt. You and any sub-agent will have no liability for the customs debt.
The agreement between you and the principal must provide, either implicitly or explicitly, for the delegation of tasks to a sub-agent in order for the sub-agent to be empowered to represent the principal. If such a provision is absent, then the sub-agent will not be empowered to represent the principal in making a customs declaration. If he does nevertheless, the sub-agent may also become liable for customs debt.
When you make a customs declaration acting as an indirect representative on behalf of a principal, both you and the principal will be liable for the customs debt. We will be entitled to seek payment from either you and/or the principal.
If you delegate the making of a customs declaration to a sub-agent, then the sub-agent will become liable for the customs debt along with the principal, but not you. This is because you have not made the declaration nor have you the responsibility for performing the acts and formalities required by customs rules.
The scope of your authority to act as a direct/indirect representative can be inferred from circumstantial evidence and formal written authorisation by the principal is not a legal requirement. However a formal written authorisation stating that you are empowered to be a direct representative or indirect representative, (whichever is agreed between you and the principal), will avoid any doubt regarding who is liable for the customs debt.
If you do not hold written authorisation, you risk of being regarded as acting solely on your own behalf. If the authorisation does not confirm the type of representation, you could be regarded as an indirect representative. In both cases, you would be liable for the customs debt. You should therefore consider obtaining confirmation of your empowerment to act for a principal as a direct or indirect representative in writing.
The statement on a customs declaration indicating that you are acting in direct representation or indirect representation will normally be accepted unless we need to check the accuracy of the statement.
If you are an authorised CFSP trader making declarations on behalf of your principals (clients), this can only be made by way of indirect representation. The declarant has to be the person who has the CFSP authorisation. Therefore, if you are that person making a customs declaration on behalf of another, it is being made indirectly.
If you are making the declaration, insert your original hand-written signature. If you are an officer or other employee of the legal person making the declaration, such as a limited company, you should print your full name and your status/job title after your signature.
When you are making the customs declaration as a representative, the completion of Box 54 depends on the type of representation that you have shown in Box 44 of the declaration. Enter as appropriate:
In signing box 54, a legal declaration is being made that the details shown on the declaration and any continuation sheets are true and complete and that the requirements of any national or EC legislation have been met.
This depends upon whether representation is involved and the type of representation agreed between the parties concerned.
If you are acting as a direct representative, that is you are making a customs declaration on behalf of a principal in their name, the principal is the declarant and liable for the customs debt, not you.
If you are acting as an indirect representative, that is you are making a customs declaration on behalf of a principal in your own name, then you are the declarant. However, both you and the principal are liable for the customs debt. Therefore we will pursue both you and the principal for the payment of the debt. If one of you is insolvent, the debt will be claimed in the insolvency. If only one of you is established in the Community, we will pursue that debtor.
If you make a declaration in your own name on your own behalf, you are the declarant and liable for the customs debt.
The debtor will be the member company which makes the customs declaration.
We issue a post clearance demand note (C18) informing the appropriate person that a customs debt is due. This includes any voluntary disclosures that have been made to us.
We will charge interest on the customs debt if it is not paid by the due date. The due date is ten days from the date of issue of the C18. Interest will however be waived if payment is received within five days of the due date.
The rate of interest charged is the same as that charged for all UK departmental duties and taxes, and is subject to a minimum charge of £25. Any interest charged will be notified separately.
The rate of interest is available on our website hmrc.gov.uk.
We have three years from the date the customs debt was incurred, usually the date the original declaration was accepted by Customs, to notify you of the customs debt. However, if the customs debt was the result of an act that has or could have given rise to criminal proceedings, we can notify you and pursue the debt after the three year period.
A payment can be made at importation as a security for duty before the customs debt is properly established. We refer to this as a payment ‘on deposit’. Therefore it is a form of security for duty - not payment of the duty. If the deposit is not sufficient to cover the customs debt once established, then the balance will be due from the customs debtor or debtors.
Any deposit remaining once the customs debt has been established, will be repaid to whoever provided the original deposit.
These are procedures available to you if you are liable for the customs debt and consider you have:
These procedures are subject to legal requirements which specify when a repayment or remission of import duties can be made.
These are contained in Council Regulation 2913/92 (the Community Customs Code), Articles 235 to 242 and in Commission Regulation 2454/93, Articles 878 to 909.
Repayments and remissions are defined in Code Article 235.
Repayments: the total or partial refund of import duties or export duties which have been paid.
Remissions: either a decision to waive all or part of the amount of a customs debt or a decision to render void an entry in the accounts of all or part of an amount of import or export duty which has not been paid.
In general terms, remission is where the customs debt has not been paid and is either no longer legally due or we have decided not to pursue the debt after reconsidering the relevant circumstances.
Code Articles 236 to 239 state the particular circumstances that may justify a repayment or remission claim.
These are where:
You need to present applications for repayments and remissions within certain time limits and they differ according to the basis of the claim as follows:
Your application should be made on a form C285 but see paragraph 8.6. We can, however, accept a letter from you provided it contains the same information required by the C285. Your application should be accompanied with the supporting evidence (including a copy of the original customs declaration) and:
for the following:
You should use form C&E 813 or C&E 823 for claims for refunds under Inward Processing Relief (IPR) (Drawback), as explained in Notice 221 Inward Processing Relief.
In this situation, we can accept incomplete repayment/remission claims but they must contain a minimum amount of information as follows:
We will indicate the time period within which you will be required to provide the additional information/documentation to complete the claim.
We will consider accepting a ‘protective’ claim if you can show that you may have a claim in the future but it depends on the result of a future event. An example is where a classification decision is being challenged at the European Court of Justice and if the decision results in a lower duty liability, it could apply to you.
A protective claim can be incomplete as shown in paragraph 8.7. Claims will not be protected, if the only reason for protection is that a BTI application has been made or is pending. You should mark the claim indicating it is a protective claim. It should state the future event on which the claim depends and how this could justify the remission/repayment claim.
Documentation that supports the claim should be retained in case we need to refer to it at a later date. When the future event has occurred, you should inform us so that we can process the claim in the normal way.
The amount of import duty claimed on an individual customs declaration must exceed €10. As regards each declaration, a claim for a lower amount will normally be refused, unless there are exceptional circumstances. The appropriate exchange rate to reach the current amount in sterling is published on the CHIEF noticeboard and on our website hmrc.gov.uk.
All applications for repayments and remissions have to be made to us in the first instance and usually we make the decision. However, we are required to refer certain cases to the European Commission for its decision. These include special situations not covered by existing legislation or precedent where the amount of customs debt involved exceeds €500,000.
If we decide to submit your case to the Commission, we are legally required to consult you on the form and content of the submission. During the Commission’s consideration of the submission, we must consult you concerning any further information that we are asked to provide. The time taken from sending the submission and the Commission reaching a decision can vary depending on the complexity of the case but it can be over a year.
The minimum amount of essential information has not been included in the application.
If you are a mail order customer, you may ask us to invalidate the relevant customs declaration and repay duty paid subject to the following conditions:
Mail order includes internet ordering/buying and is defined as:
A specialised economic activity involving goods selected from a catalogue and sold on a retail basis. Catalogue means any offer to the public using any medium whatsoever which is reproduced in bulk and lists the articles for sale in such a way that the following criteria are met:
Following the receipt of a valid claim, (with all necessary supporting information), if we fail to issue a repayment within 30 working days, you may request payment of interest from HMRC. Interest is payable on the number of days above 30 that it took to repay your claim. A claim for interest must however be made in writing at the same office the original claim was made, and within three years of the date repayment was issued.
Generally, import VAT is treated the same as customs duty including who pays it and when, the recovery of debts not paid at importation and who is entitled to repayment/remission.
contains information on import VAT on goods entered for warehousing or to a free zone.
If you are responsible for any breach of, or failure to comply with:
you will be committing an offence which could result in prosecution and a fine.
Any goods in respect of which an offence has been committed may be seized by us as liable to forfeiture. If we seize the goods in the presence of you or your representative, we shall give you a copy of form C156 which, amongst other things, sets out your right of appeal against the seizure. If we seize the goods in the absence of you or your representative, we shall send you a formal Notice of Seizure which will also set out your right of appeal against the seizure.
If we subsequently decide not to offer you restoration of the seized goods or we only offer to restore them on payment by you of a sum of money with which you are unhappy, you can appeal against this decision. Full details of how you should go about this, and the time limits on making your appeal, are set out in Factsheet HMRC1.
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
Excise, Customs Stamps and Money
Imports Policy and Procedures
10th Floor Central, Alexander House
21 Victoria Avenue
Please note this address is not for general enquiries.
For your general enquiries please phone our Helpline 0300 200 3700.
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 hmrc.gov.uk and under quick links, select Complaints and appeals.
HM Revenue & Customs 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 HM Revenue & Customs unless the law permits us to do so. For more information go to hmrc.gov.uk and look for Data Protection Act within the Search facility.
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