Union Customs Code ― Returned Goods Relief (RGR)

By Tolley

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

  • Union Customs Code ― Returned Goods Relief (RGR)
  • Background
  • Conditions
  • Eligible goods
  • Triangulation or export and reimport via different EU member states
  • Claiming VAT relief
  • Waiver of the three-year time limit
  • Movements to / from other EU member states
  • Parts and residue of goods previously exported
  • Exporting goods for re-import under RGR
  • Interaction with other customs procedures
  • Re-importing goods under RGR
  • Checklists
  • Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA)

This guidance note provides an overview of Returned Goods Relief and how it operates since the introduction of the Union Customs Code (UCC). For details of the scheme that operated before the UCC as introduced, please see the Returned goods relief (RGR) guidance note.


This guidance note provides details of how Returned Goods Relief works and explains how a business can import goods into the EU in the same state that they were in when previously exported from either:

  • the EU, and total or partial relief from customs duty is obtained
  • the EU, and total or partial relief from VAT or CAP charges is obtained

Notice 236 ― returned goods relief 

The business must ensure that it meets the relevant conditions for relief for each type of tax / duty (if relief is being claimed for more than one, the business must meet the specific conditions for each).

It is important to note that RGR does not override any import restrictions / prohibitions / licensing restrictions that may relate to the goods that are being reimported.

If goods are being temporarily exported for processing and return, then please see the Union Customs Code - Outward Processing guidance note for more information. RGR cannot be used in respect of goods that are reimported in a processed or repaired state. If no processing / repair work is undertaken and the goods are reimported in the same condition they were in when they were originally exported, then it may be possible to use RGR if the relevant conditions are satisfied.

There are no post importation restrictions placed on goods that are reimported using RGR, and they can be sold, processed, repaired or exported.

Relevant legislation

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