Charities - importing goods

By Tolley
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The following Value Added Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Charities - importing goods
  • Goods that can be imported tax and duty free
  • Qualifying organisations
  • Claiming relief
  • Restrictions
  • Belated claims
  • Appeals and reconsiderations

This guidance note provides an overview of the types of goods that can be imported by a charity into the UK without the requirement to pay import VAT and customs duties. This note should be read in conjunction with the Importing goods from outside the EU, Charities - overview and Charities - recovering VAT and VAT reliefs guidance note. Please also VCHAR3000. lbelow:

Notice 317   (subscription sensitive); Council Regulation (EEC) No 918/83, Articles 65-69 and 79-85 (subscription sensitive); Value Added Tax (Imported Goods) Relief Order 1984, Schedule 2, Group 6
Goods that can be imported tax and duty free

The following goods are included within the scope of the import VAT and duty relief:

  • basic necessities that are intended for use by needy people. These include the following types of goods that are intended to meet the immediate needs of the people to whom they are distributed free of charge within the Customs union or overseas:
    • food
    • medicines
    • clothing and blankets
    • orthopaedic equipment
    • crutches
  • goods that will be sold or used at a charity event that is intended to benefit needy people. Any eligible goods can be used or sold for fund raising activities at occasional charity events (an event that is not normally held more than four times a year). The organisation must receive the goods free of charge from a person / organisation established outside of the Customs Union and the donor must not be seeking any commercial gain from the donation.
  • office material and equipment that will be used by the charitable organisation for the benefit of needy people. The organisation must receive the goods free of charge from a person / organisation established outside of the Customs Union and the

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