Visiting forces

By Tolley

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

  • Visiting forces
  • Taxes covered by the relief
  • Eligible forces
  • Supplies to US NATO visiting forces
  • Supplies to other NATO visiting forces
  • Supplies to the American Battle Monuments Commission
  • Motor vehicles
  • Customs & Excise warehousing
  • Landfill Tax

This guidance note provides an overview of the reliefs that are available in respect of supplies made to certain visiting forces in the UK.

Taxes covered by the relief

If the visiting force is eligible for relief they will be able to purchase goods or services without the requirement to pay the following:

HMRC Notice 431 
  • Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) levies (see Notice 800: Common Agricultural Policy export procedures  for more information)
  • Air Passenger Duty
  • Climate Change Levy
  • Customs Duty
  • Excise Duty
  • Landfill Tax
  • VAT
Eligible forces

A business can supply goods and services free of taxes and duties to the following forces providing that all of the relevant conditions have been satisfied:

  • any NATO visiting forces based in the UK. Currently NATO forces include Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and United States of America (USA)
  • the NATO IMHQ at Northwood and Innsworth
  • the American Battle Monuments Commission in respect of supplies of goods and services for the maintenance of the US military cemeteries at Brookwood and Madingley

It is important to note that British forces based in the UK cannot use the relief outlined in this guidance note. Reliefs are also not normally available to non-NATO visiting forces based in the UK.

'Visiting forces' are defined as a body, contingent or attachment of the armed forces of a sovereign state stationed in another sovereign state on the invitation of the host state's

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