Returned goods relief (RGR)

By Tolley

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

  • Returned goods relief (RGR)
  • Conditions
  • Eligible goods
  • Triangulation
  • RGR and IPR goods
  • RGR and End Use relief
  • Exporting goods that will be re-imported using RGR
  • Importing goods using RGR
  • Contacting HMRC

This guidance note provides an overview of how businesses can re-import goods into the EU without the requirement to pay customs duty and import VAT. This note can be used in conjunction with the RGR - checklist.

2913/92/EEC , Articles 185-18; Decision 1/96 of the EC-Turkey Customs Co-operation Committee ; 800/1999/EC ; 1291/2000/EC ; 2454/93/EEC , Articles 844-856 and 903; SI 1995/2518, regulation 121D; De Voil Indirect Tax Service V3.351 (subscription sensitive);HMRC Notice 236 ; Tolley's Customs Duties Handbook, Title IV (subscription sensitive)

RGR may be useful in the following situation:

A business manufactures bicycles in the UK and exports them to a customer located in the Ukraine. However, due to an outbreak of war, Ukraine is not allowing imports from other countries at present. The bikes get returned to business, but under RGR it does not have to pay customs duty or import VAT when they arrive back in the UK, as these goods are community produced goods and it is not the business’ fault that they are being returned.

Please see Example 1


The following conditions must be satisfied before an importer can use RGR:

  • the goods must have been in free circulation within the EU, with all duties / taxes paid, before they were exported to a non-EU country
  • if the goods or any components have been previously imported into the EU using any procedures that enabled the business to obtain relief for paying import duties / taxes, these taxes must subsequently have been paid prior to the goods being exported. Any export refunds must also have been repaid.
  • the goods must be re-imported in an unaltered state and only work required to keep the goods in the same condition can be undertaken. The work undertaken must not have upgraded the

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