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What are Special Customs Procedures and how can they benefit your business?



Special Customs Procedures allow you to store, temporarily use, process, or repair your goods and get partial or full relief from import duty, or in some cases suspension. Thus, these procedures help simplify customs processing and reduce VAT and Customs Duty owed. These are very useful if you are a business that usually re-imports or re-exports as part of your business process.


Inward processing


Inward processing is a customs special procedure that allows you to suspend Customs Duty and import VAT on goods you bring into the UK for repair or as materials for manufacturing. You will not need to pay duty or import VAT on the goods if you re-export them following processing or repair.


For example, this may apply if you’re bringing your camera equipment into the UK from France for repairs with the intention of returning them to France. Or, if you’re bringing in fabric to be made into dresses which you will then export.


Outward processing


Outward processing allows you to temporarily export goods outside the UK for processing or repair and pay less Customs Duty and import VAT when you re-import them into the UK.

This may apply, for example, if you’re exporting a batch of computers to Germany to be repaired and returned to the UK. Or if you’re exporting bales of fabric to Romania to be made into prom dresses and then re-imported into the UK.


Temporary Admission


Temporary Admission is a special procedure that allows you to temporarily import goods into the UK or move goods from Great Britain into Northern Ireland without paying Customs Duty or import VAT. You may use the goods for up to two years or more, before re-exporting them.


For example, this may apply if you’re temporarily bringing in samples, professional equipment or items for auction, exhibition or demonstration into the UK.


You can apply for Temporary Admission if you’re the person using the goods or you’re arranging for the goods to be used on your behalf.


Returned Goods Relief


Returned Goods Relief allows you to claim relief from Customs Duty and import VAT if you’re re-importing items into the UK that have previously been exported. When you re-import your items, you’ll need to make sure they’ve not been altered, apart from work to maintain them.

This may apply, for example, if you’re re-importing office furniture, equipment or instruments because you’re moving back to the UK from an EU country where you previously exported the goods to.


Customs warehousing


Customs warehousing allows you to suspend Customs Duty and VAT on goods that you import into the UK and store in a warehouse to be re-exported. Duty and VAT will only become payable when the goods are removed from the warehouse into UK circulation.


For example, no duty or VAT will be payable if you import children's toys from China to be stored in a warehouse in the UK before being re-exported to Portugal.


How would I know which approvals and special procedures I need?


If you’re using an intermediary to move your goods, they may already have approvals and special procedures in place that you can make use of. You should check this with your intermediary.


To find out more, go to HMRC’s simple online trader tool where you can check what options are available and most suitable for you.

Need further support?



Source: HMRC

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