Paying your dues

Bringing goods into the UK without making a customs declaration and, if needed, paying excise duty and VAT, is smuggling and is a criminal offence.

But, there are steps you can take to reduce or delay the amount of duty you need to pay and, if you overpay for any reason, you can apply for a full refund.

There is no duty, or reduced rates, when you import from some countries with which the UK has a trade agreement. To take advantage of these rates, you must make sure that you use the correct commodity code and that your goods meet the rules of origin – can you prove that they originated in the relevant country?

If you do make a declaration using these preferential rates, you must keep all the relevant paperwork for at least four years, including a copy of the declaration, proof of origin and all supporting documents, in case HMRC makes a check.

There are other situations which might mean no duty is payable, such as on goods which are being imported for repair, or goods which are only being brought into the country temporarily.

An experienced freight forwarder can help you navigate all of the options, so if you’re looking for some friendly, knowledgeable advice, do get in touch with us on 01952 270699 or email