When importing goods to the UK, the RECEIVER or in some cases the SENDER will be charged import VAT and customs duties in relation to the customs clearance of the goods.

The duty of an item is based on the product HS-code and the product’s country of origin. Furthermore, there can special agreements or conditions that may have an impact on the calculation of duty.

Payment of customs duties in relation to customs clearance of goods is a cost for companies and it is important that customs declarations are processed correctly. It certainly of utmost importance whether 0%, 5% or 12% duty is calculated on a given shipment.

Regardless of whether the import takes place to a company’s subsidiary, UK VAT registration or directly to the end customer, the goods will be cleared through customs and duties will be calculated.

If the company has DDP deliveries without being locally registered, then both British customs duties and British import VAT will have to be registered in the financial accounts as costs.



It is a complex task and requires special skills to declare goods to customs and it is made even more challenging in the UK as there are even more difficulties than we normally experience.

There are many parties involved in a shipment to the UK. The company first hands over the necessary customs documentation (eg. commercial invoice) to the warehouse and/or the company’s freight carrier. In connection with the transport, the carrier hands over the documentation to their British partner, who ultimately prepares the customs documents at the border. Here, for example, there can be challenges with which data flows through several IT systems in the company and through to any business partners and to the carrier.

In addition, the UK has undergone a customs transformation this year. The British customs systems have been replaced which has created a few extra challenges for everyone. There are currently two customs systems in the UK, each with their own user interface.

It all sums up and increases the complexity and the risk of errors, which can result in large and incorrect customs invoices for companies in general.


Customs refund

However, it will be possible to review customs data and apply for a customs refund if there are errors in the British customs clearance. If the company can document that the customs clearance of the goods is incorrect, companies can apply to have both British customs and importVAT refunded.

The company must provide correct documentation as sub-appendices for the duty refund application, so that the customs processing can be reassessed.

If you have challenges with the settlement of British duties and need a review of the documentation with a scope to preparing an application, please contact TIMEVAT.