Imports ― deferring import VAT

Produced by Tolley

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

  • Imports ― deferring import VAT
  • Duty deferment
  • What is duty deferment?
  • How long are payments deferred for?
  • Who can be approved for duty deferment?
  • What form does the application take?
  • What are the guarantee (and guarantee waiver) requirements?
  • Simplified Import VAT Accounting (SIVA)
  • What is SIVA?
  • How far can import VAT guarantees be reduced?
  • More...

Imports ― deferring import VAT

This guidance note looks at the ways that import VAT (and import duty) can be deferred under duty deferment and Simplified Import VAT Accounting (SIVA).

For importing goods from outside the UK generally, see the Imports ― overview (rules from 1 January 2021) guidance note. For movements of goods and Northern Ireland, see the Northern Ireland ― overview guidance note.

In-depth commentary on the legislation and case law can be found in De Voil Indirect Tax Service V3.351A.

It is worth noting that from 1 January 2021, payment of import VAT is usually (but not always) deferred under postponed accounting rather than duty deferment or SIVA. Postponed accounting is explained in the Imports ― postponed accounting for import VAT guidance note.

Duty deferment

What is duty deferment?

Broadly, import duty is normally payable at the point that goods are imported into the UK. Import VAT can normally be accounted for later under postponed accounting but there are exceptions to this (see the Imports ― postponed accounting for import VAT guidance note for when postponed accounting applies).

Providing certain conditions are satisfied, duty deferment allows the importer to delay the payment of any import duty and import VAT.

How long are payments deferred for?

The payment of the duty and import VAT not covered by postponed accounting is deferred until the 15th of the month following import (or the next working day if the 15th is not a working day).

In essence, this means that payment can be deferred for between two and six weeks.

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