Special Customs Procedures Guidance

As the UK left the EU, single market and customs union, many companies are facing challenges within their supply chains, specially within the EU.   The below provides a summary of key guidance about different special customs procedures available to exporters and importers to pay less import duties.  This includes guidance from both the UK Government and the EU.

What are special customs procedures?

Special customs regimes allow for customs duties and other taxes due on goods to be relieved or suspended so long as the requirements of the procedure are met.   Traders do need to become authorised though before using these, and they do so by applying to HMRC or respective customs authority if outside the UK.

What kind of special customs procedures are available?

The below provide an overview of some of the customs procedures available:

  • Inward Processing Relief

  • Outward Processing Relief

  • Customs Warehouse

  • End use

  • Returned Goods Relief

  • Temporary Admission

Each of these procedures have special customs procedure codes which you would need to use in your export and/or import declarations.  For further guidance on CPCs, please go here:

What is Inward Processing Relief (IPR)?

This special procedure is used to delay or reduce import duties or VAT on goods that traders bring into the UK to process, repair or upgrade.    Please check useful guidance:

What is Outward Processing Relief (OPR)?
When you export goods outside the UK for processing or repair and then re-import them, you can use outward processing to reduce your duty payments.  Please check useful guidance:
What is a Customs Warehouse?

A Customs Warehouse allows organisations to store goods with duty or import VAT payments suspended.  If goods you import and then also re-exported, you will be exempt from paying import duties and VAT on those goods.  Check useful guidance below:

What is End Use | Specific Use?

Becoming an Authorised Use relief trader will help to reduce your payments when you import goods for a specific use. This can include repairs, maintenance or processing.

What is Returned Goods Relief?
This special procedure enables traders to claim relief when paying customs duty and VAT when re-importing goods to the UK which have been previously been exported.  The relief does not apply where those goods were exported from the UK as a result of their removal from Northern Ireland.  Check further guidance below:
What is Temporary Admission?
Temporary admission procedure allows you to temporarily import goods free from payment of Customs Duty and Value-Added Tax (VAT) as long as you do not alter the goods and use them for up to 2 years or more before re-exporting them.  Check below further guidance:
Other Useful Guidance related to Special Customs Procedures
Other Useful Guidance related to Commercial Samples
The below guidance is useful for companies who are either exporting or importing commercial samples:

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