Importing goods from outside the EU (rules until 31 December 2020)

Produced by Tolley
Importing goods from outside the EU (rules until 31 December 2020)

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

  • Importing goods from outside the EU (rules until 31 December 2020)
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) - impact on import relief authorisations
  • VAT on imports (goods bought outside of the EU)
  • Non-UK business (with or without a UK establishment)
  • Import valuation
  • Incidental expenses
  • First destination
  • Declaring imports
  • Value declaration
  • Amending a customs entry
  • More...

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - impact on import relief authorisations

As a consequence of the outbreak of coronavirus, certain requirements relating to customs authorisations during the pandemic may be relaxed, and some additional reliefs from duty and VAT have been introduced. See further in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and VAT - reliefs and measures for imports and exports guidance note.

VAT on imports (goods bought outside of the EU)

Different rules apply to the importation of goods into the UK from a country outside of the EU. This guidance note is intended to give a general overview of the rules and procedures adopted in respect of imported goods. This guidance note only covers VAT and not customs or Excise duty. If the goods are being purchased from a vendor in another EU member state, please see the Buying goods from other EU vendors (rules until 31 December 2020) guidance note for more information. More information on customs duty and import procedures can be found in the ‘Union Customs Code’ subsection.

Import VAT and customs duty are normally charged and are usually payable at the point when the goods enter the UK (unless the supplier or his agent has been approved to use the duty deferment facility, see the Delaying payment of import taxes and customs duties (rules until 31 December 2020) guidance note for more information). Goods normally enter the UK at a port or airport.

Import VAT is charged at the same rate as if the goods were supplied in the UK. Therefore, zero-rated goods, such as books, should be imported without VAT as books are currently zero-rated in the UK. Please see the Overview ― zero-rating guidance note for more information on the types of goods that can be imported at the zero-rate.

It is important to remember that customs duty could also be charged on the goods as a separate tax even if the goods are liable to VAT at the zero-rate.

Non-UK business (with or without a UK

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