VAT—importing goods
Produced in partnership with John Fuszard of Sagars Accountants Ltd

The following Tax practice note produced in partnership with John Fuszard of Sagars Accountants Ltd provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • VAT—importing goods
  • Position from 1 January 2021
  • The charge to import VAT
  • Import valuation
  • Low-value imports
  • Online marketplace sales
  • Relief from import VAT
  • Suspending payment of import VAT
  • Payment of import VAT—postponed accounting
  • Deferring payment of import VAT
  • More...

VAT—importing goods

Goods entering Great Britain (GB) are, in principle, subject to VAT. Import VAT is charged on goods that are imported into GB from outside the UK (or into Northern Ireland (NI) from outside the EU) at the same rate as if the goods were supplied in the UK. The importer must declare the goods and account for any import duty and import VAT.

It is possible for goods to be subject to both import VAT and customs duty, or to one but not the other. This Practice Note is about import VAT, and only mentions customs duty where this affects the liability to import VAT. For commentary on customs duty, see Custom duties: De Voil Indirect Tax Service [V17.1]. Some goods, such as alcohol and tobacco, are also liable to excise duty.

Position from 1 January 2021

The UK ceased to be an EU Member State on 31 January 2020. On that date, the UK entered an implementation period (IP), during which it continued to be treated as a Member State for many purposes, and remained bound by EU law. The IP ended at 11pm on 31 December 2020. On that date, a body of EU-derived rights and legislation, known as retained EU law, was converted into domestic UK law. For more on EU retained law and VAT, see Practice Note: Brexit and tax—the continued application

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