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Apply for an account to defer duty payments when you import or release goods into Great Britain

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Apply for an account to defer duty payments when you import or release goods into Great Britain

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Find out how to apply for a duty deferment account so you can delay paying most customs or tax charges when you import goods into Great Britain or release goods from an excise warehouse.

If you import goods regularly, you can apply for a duty deferment account to delay paying most customs or tax charges, for example:

  • Customs Duty
  • excise duties
  • import VAT

You can also apply to delay paying duties on goods released from an excise warehouse.

A duty deferment account lets the importer (or someone who represents them) make one payment a month through Direct Debit instead of paying for individual consignments.

If you’re registered for VAT and your business imports goods, you can account for your import VAT on your VAT Return instead of paying the VAT by duty deferment. You must do this if you’re delaying your declarations.

Who can apply

You can apply for a duty deferment account if:

  • you and your importing business are established in the UK
  • you’re VAT-registered and not accounting for import VAT on your VAT Return

If you’re established outside the UK, we’re putting a process in place for you to apply for a duty deferment account and will update this guidance soon.

Before you apply

You can apply for a guarantee waiver approval with your duty deferment account application.

To complete your application you’ll need your business’s:

  • EORI number
  • name associated with your EORI number
  • registered company number (if this applies), in the UK this will be from Companies House
  • UK address associated with your EORI number
  • correspondence address
  • VAT number (if this applies)
  • company directors’ and officials’ details, including date of birth
  • person responsible for customs authorisations, their details and practical customs experience
  • your estimated debt

If you apply for a guarantee waiver you may also need:

  • records of any times when your business has not followed customs or tax rules in the last 3 years
  • financial records

Apply to defer Customs Duty, excise duty and import VAT

If you want to defer Customs Duty, excise duty and import VAT you must:

  1. Decide if you want to reduce financial guarantees by using a duty deferment account guarantee waiver approval or Authorised Economic Operator customs simplification (AEOC).

  2. Apply for a duty deferment account and optional guarantee waiver– send with your application a Direct Debit instruction.

If you are not applying for, or have not received a guarantee waiver approval, you will need to provide a guarantee from a financial institution that’s established in the UK and regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority.

You should not submit a guarantee unless we ask you to provide one after you have applied for a duty deferment account.

If you’re applying to defer excise duty

This application would apply to any excise duty deferred at importation or released from an excise warehouse.

You also can still use the Excise Payment Security System after 1 January 2021 for duty deferment that is not part of importation or releasing goods from an excise warehouse.

If you’re applying to defer import VAT

You can apply to defer import VAT if you are a trader who is either:

  • not VAT registered
  • VAT-registered and not accounting for VAT on your VAT Return

You do not need to apply for a deferment account to defer import VAT if you are using postponed VAT accounting for imports.

If you’re applying for a guarantee waiver of up to £10,000 per month

You may need to tell HMRC more information about your finances using form PFS1 if you:

  • do not file accounts at Companies House
  • file consolidated accounts at Companies House

Authorised Economic Operators for Customs (AEOC and AEOF) do not need to upload a PFS1.

If you’re applying for a guarantee waiver of over £10,000 per month

You will need to provide additional information about your financial standing using the PFS1 form and provide supporting documents with your application.

Authorised Economic Operators for Customs (AEOC and AEOF) do not need to upload a PFS1.

After you’ve applied

If your application is approved

When we have all the information to process your application, we will aim to complete this within 30 working days. If you need to apply for a financial guarantee, this may take longer.

If your application is approved and a Direct Debit is in place you will get a deferment approval number. You will need to use this on your import declarations or to remove goods from an excise warehouse.

If you do not use your duty deferment account immediately, you will still need to provide your direct debit instruction. We will not be able to activate your account if you do not provide it when you submit your application. This may cause a delay in activating your account when you do need to use it.

If the amount of your deferral limit is less than your guarantee waiver

If there’s a gap between your requested deferral limit and the amount of guarantee waiver you qualify for, we’ll advise you of your options to:

  • provide a full or partial guarantee
  • accept a reduced deferral limit

If we do not get a reply from you in 30 days, we may reject your application.

If your application is rejected

If your application is rejected we will inform you of your right to request a review or appeal the decision.

Finance dashboard duty deferment account statements

If you have only subscribed to the Customs Declaration Service to view your postponed VAT accounting statements online, you will get a Customs Declaration Service deferment account ‘suspended’ notification. This suspension only applies to your Customs Declaration Service deferment account status. It does not affect your Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight ( CHIEF) deferment account.

If you have a Customs Declaration Service deferment account and are eligible to use the Customs Declaration Service, you must set up a new Direct Debit. You will get a Customs Declaration Service deferment account ‘suspended ’ notification if your Direct Debit has not been set up for the Customs Declaration Service.

Authorise someone to use your deferment approval number

You can give someone authority to use your duty approval number in your duty deferment application using form C1207N. This needs to be submitted as part of your application for it to take effect immediately, if you are approved.

If you’re using the CHIEF system

You can also give someone authority to use your duty approval number to request deferment of duty payment using:

  • the online form
  • form C1207N
  • form C1207S– this can be used on a one-off basis and can only be done when your account is active

If you’re using the Customs Declaration Service

You can also give someone authority to use your duty deferment approval number by logging into your Customs Declaration Service dashboard and using the view your customs financial accounts service.

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