Freight containers (until 31 December 2020)

Produced by Tolley
Freight containers (until 31 December 2020)

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

  • Freight containers (until 31 December 2020)
  • What is a container
  • VAT treatment of supplies of containers
  • Sale of containers exported outside of the EU
  • Records
  • Sale of containers to EU VAT registered business customers
  • Leasing or hiring containers
  • Temporary movement of containers to other EU member states
  • Container repairs

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marked the end of the Brexit transition / implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time, key transitional arrangements came to an end and significant changes began to take effect across the UK’s VAT and customs regime. This document contains guidance on subjects potentially impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see the Brexit — overview guidance note.

This note applies to transactions whilst the Great Britain was a member of the EU and during the transition period that ended on 31 December 2020. For information on Northern Ireland see the Northern Ireland topic.

This guidance note provides an overview of the zero-rating provisions that relate to supplies of freight containers that will be removed from the UK.

What is a container

From a VAT perspective, a container is treated as an article of transport equipment, such as a lift-van, moveable tank or similar that meets the following conditions laid down in HMRC Notice 703/1:

  1. fully or partially enclosed to constitute a compartment intended for containing goods

  2. of a permanent character and accordingly strong enough to be suitable for repeated use

  3. specially designed to facilitate the carriage of goods, by one or more means of transport, without intermediate reloading

  4. designed for ready handling, particularly when being transferred from one mode of transport to another

  5. designed to be easy to fill and to empty, and

  6. having an internal volume of one cubic metre or more

HMRC also goes on to state that the term container includes:

  1. the accessories and equipment of the container, appropriate for the type concerned, provided that such accessories and equipment are carried with the container. The term ‘container’ does not include vehicles, accessories

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