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UK Brexit VAT and duties refunds on Inward Processing

Following the UK leaving the EU Customs Union and VAT regime, it’s possible on temporary imports to reduce cash payments on custom and VAT

Following Brexit, it is possible to apply for a delay or reduction on import VAT and any customs duties you may pay when you temporarily import goods to process or repair. The applies both goods coming into the UK and EU, and then returning.  This includes a reassessed (i.e. reduced) VAT or tariffs if you retain the goods, but if you do reprocess them in such a way as to reclassify them for import taxes.

Note: full UK customs declarations and border controls apply since 1 January 2022.

There are different types of approvals for IPR

1 Full authorisation

A full authorisation allows you to use:

  1. inward processing regularly
  2. simplified declarations to import or export your goods
  3. inward processing if you import non-commercial goods and you’re not established in the UK

You should apply at least one month before you start importing as we need this time to process your application. If we need longer, we’ll contact you with a new date.

2 Retrospective applications

You can ask for an authorisation after you’ve imported your goods, even if you’ve already exported them. We’ll only authorise you where we’ve not given you a retrospective authorisation in the previous 3 years.

You’ll need to show us records that prove that:

  • the goods are eligible
  • you have a business need
  • you’ve followed the inward processing procedure properly
  • You’ll also need to send us a:
  • letter saying why you need this type of authorisation
  • list of imports you want to include in the retrospective period

The maximum period for a retrospective authorisation is 12 months before the date you apply on. Where the goods are sensitive, the maximum period is 3 months.

3 Declaration-by-declaration

You can apply for authorisation in your customs declaration at the border.

You can use do this up to 3 times in a rolling year for goods valued up to £500,000 for each import.

You cannot use it if any of the following apply:

  • you’re using simplified customs declarations
  • if you’re asking for a retrospective or backdated authorisation
  • if your goods are subject to anti-dumping duty
  • if you’re using economic codes 5, 6, 7, 8 or 12
  • you’re importing and processing:
  • controlled goods like arms, ammunition or chemicals that will be made into drugs
  • works of art, collector’s pieces and antiques
  • excise goods
  • meat for airline meals
  • catalysts, agents or items that help to manufacture or process goods for export

What you will need to apply for Inward Processing Relief

You will typically have to be established in the UK or EU to apply for their relief programmes. But it is possible to apply if a non-resident if you are willing to provide a guarantee.

Relief applications

You’ll need to gather this information together before you apply:

  • 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


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