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UK Import Duty Relief - Helpful Authorisations for Companies

*Guidance from this post is accurate as of 05.04.2022. Guidance is gathered from HMRC sources.

We think it’s safe to say that Customs procedures, and discussing those available could not be deemed as exciting, but what about the opportunities and competitive edge the procedures can bring to your business?


We have seen on a number of occasions recently, Customs Authorisations can open up certain businesses to a wider market and save paying those pesky customs duties and taxes unnecessarily. Two of the most common but yet the most helpful (depending on your what your company does of course) are Inward Processing and Customs Warehousing Authorisations.


1. Inward Processing (IP) – For any company importing goods to be processed or repaired.

  • Example Scenario– A boat yard (no matter the size) who imports boats to be repaired. Or companies who import parts and materials to create other goods that will then be exported.

  • Benefit – If used correctly and goods re-exported then import taxes and duties are not payable on the goods or materials processed.

2. Customs Warehouse (CW) – For any company who wishes to import goods temporarily, depending on the reason, to delay or stop payment of duties and taxes.

  • Example Scenario’s – Companies who import goods to store prior to loading to vessels where the ships spares procedure can’t be used. Or Marina’s and Boat Yards who wish to store non-free circulation yachts on behalf of their owners to be re-exported at a later date.

  • Benefit – Can be used to store goods not destined for UK free circulation. Can be used to defer import taxes and duties until the goods are due to be sold.

Both Customs authorisations will require a Customs guarantee which can involve keeping the estimated liability amounts in a bond account with the bank. However, guarantee waivers are available if your company can show healthy financial records. Our clients currently do not appear to have an issue in getting a Guarantee Waiver granted.


Inward Processing (IP):

There are four options but the Full Authorisation is the least restrictive once authorisation has been granted.

  • Full Authorisation- Companies can apply to HMRC if they wish to use Inward Processing Relief regularly. It can be used as many times as required in a calendar year. No limit on value.

  • Retrospective Authorisation – If you’ve already imported goods for processing paid and paid duties on them then you can apply to get relief on these retrospectively as long as the import was within the last 12 months from date of application.

  • Authorisation by Declaration – No formal application required prior to import. Goods must be valued at no more than £500,000. It can only be used three times in a calendar year.

  • Authorisations covering Norther Ireland – If your goods are worked on across sites in NI and the UK then a single authorisation can cover both rather than having multiple.

If you are applying for an Authorisation then you will need to know the following:

  • Your goods’ commodity code (this will be at least 8 digits)

  • How you’ll value your goods if you release them to free circulation

  • The number of goods you’re going to process

  • The process you’re going to carry out

  • How long it’ll take you to process the goods

  • The number of products you’ll make

  • The rate of yield

  • What records you will keep and where you will keep them

  • Where you’ll enter the goods to inward processing

  • Where you intend to discharge them from inward processing

  • Names and addresses of anyone else that will be processing or repairing goods, for example sub-contractors

*Full Customs Guidance can be found here


Customs Warehousing (CW):


There are two types:

  • Public – A warehouse operated by a business to store others people’s goods.

  • Private – A warehouse operated by a business to store their own goods.

Once you have a CW authorisation you can import goods into the procedure (with no payment of VAT or DUTY) and then do one of the following things to move them on:

  • Release goods to another customs procedure such as inward processing or re-export back out of the UK.

  • Move goods to another customs warehouse (whether your own at another location or someone else’s)

  • Remove goods as a new finished product

  • Move goods to duty free sores, ships or aircraft

  • Make certain retails sales – An example is making sales to individuals outside of the UK

  • Import them into free circulation when you are ready to make a sale on the goods within the UK. This improves cashflow as duty can be applied nearer to the point of sale rather at bulk upon arrival to the UK.

*Full Customs Guidance can be found here


In summary - Boring to set up, perhaps difficult to navigate on your own, requires some extra admin and record keeping, but the potential benefits of each are exciting if it fits with your company, yes?!


If you wish to discuss your options then please contact chris@cartwrightcs.com. We can guide you through your applications and be your Customs Agent afterwards. We'll submit customs declarations on your behalf once authorisation have been granted.

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