Purchase goods from Great Britain and rest of the world (NI)

Overview for businesses in Northern Ireland

When you purchase goods from Great Britain or the rest of the world, you may have to pay import VAT if the goods you import are subject to VAT in the UK. For most imported goods the standard 20% VAT rate is applied.

Any VAT registered business can decide how to account for the import VAT. You can choose to pay the import VAT on or soon after the goods arrive at the UK border or you can use postponed accounting to pay and reclaim VAT in one go on imports from the rest of the world. Find out how to use postponed accounting.

You need to make customs declarations when importing goods. You can do this yourself or hire a customs agent or transporter to do it for you.

Before you start, make sure you have an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number starting with XI.

HMRC guide to importing goods from UK (opens in new tab)

Create a purchase invoice without postponed accounting

  1. Go to Purchases, Purchase Invoices, and select New Invoice.

  2. In the Supplier field, select your overseas supplier from the list, or type the supplier name.

    If the supplier is not a saved contact, select Add a supplier to create a record for them.

    Make sure each supplier record has the correct country set on their address and a VAT registration number where applicable.

  3. On the first invoice line, select a product from the list, or start typing its name to find it. If the product is not a saved item, enter a description for the item or select Create item to create a record for it.

  4. In EU Goods/Services select Goods (and related services).

  5. Select the VAT rate that you would apply if the purchase was made in your local region.

    Repeat steps 3 to 5 on a new line for as many items as you need to add to your invoice

  6. Select Save.

The VAT return

If the VAT rate was set to standard or lower rate, VAT is reported in T1 - The total VAT on sales and T2 - The total VAT on purchases.

The net value is recorded in T4 - The total amount of VAT that is repayable.