Import VAT and duty

If you import goods into Great Britain from outside the UK or from outside the EU to Northern Ireland you may have to pay import VAT on goods.

This applies if the goods you buy are subject to VAT in the UK. For most imported goods the standard 20% VAT rate is applied.

If you use an import agent to deal with customs for you, they will pay the import VAT and duty and then invoice you for these charges. You'll also receive a monthly statement from HMRC detailing the import VAT due on your imported goods.

Any VAT registered business can decide how to account for the import VAT. You can choose to use Postponed Accounting or pay the import VAT on when the goods arrive.

Postponed accounting

This allows you to pay and reclaim VAT on the same VAT return, rather than paying import VAT on or soon after the goods arrive at the UK border. This is designed to improve the cash flow for businesses regularly importing goods.

See Use postponed accounting for imports.

Importing goods up to £135

If your business is based in Great Britain ( England, Scotland or Wales) Imported goods up to the value of £135 are treated as reverse charge VAT.

VAT is not charged but needs to be declared on the VAT return using the reverse charge mechanism.

See Was this useful?