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Part of a pan-EU or global supply chain and need to pay nil or reduce import duties?

Following UK’s exit from the EU, many UK and EU businesses with a very knitted supply chain saw immediate changes when it comes to sending goods for storing, processing or repair back and forth between the UK and EU.

For those traders who were primarily trading with the EU, the new rules meant that for such movement of goods they were liable for import duties, for example, which in turn affected their operational and production costs.

However, there are ways in which traders can get either partial or full relief from paying import duties if you are storing, temporarily using, processing, or repairing your goods, which are known as Customs Special Procedures.

Processing can be as simple as sorting and repacking the goods whilst repairing would be restoring the goods to their original working condition but not improving their performance. If you regularly have movement of goods which involved temporary import and exports as part of your supply chain or providing a service, you may need to consider one of the many types of Customs Special Procedures.

What are the types of Customs Special Procedures?

Customs Warehouse

A building or secure area within a building where goods subject to duty can be stored. Traders can then choose when to pay the duties or re-export the goods. You can apply for this authorisation yourself or use a freight agent or transport company warehouse.

Inward Processing

Inward Processing (IP) can be used for goods imported for manufacturing or repair. Goods imported under IP are not subject to duty and other taxes upon import into the UK. Companies using IP need an authorisation from HMRC unless you intend to use the Authorisation by Declaration IP (applying within your import customs declaration), which can be used no more than 3 times per year for goods valued up to £500,000 for each import.

Outward Processing

This is the reverse of IP, allowing traders to export goods for processing and only paying duty on the value added abroad rather than on the full value of the goods. Similar to the above you will need an authorisation from HMRC, unless using less than 3 times per year.

Temporary Admission

This allows goods to be brought into the UK for use for up to 2 years or in some cases more, before they are re-exported. For example, goods being used at a trade show or for music festivals. You can apply for an authorisation with HMRC or on your import declaration.

There are other types of Customs Special Procedures that can also be used such as End-Use and Returned Goods Relief. Further information about all these methods can be found on the website here.

Do you need help?

  • Our upcoming training course on 20th June will cover all of the above in more details, including the benefits for traders and how you can use the procedure. You can find out more and book your place here.

  • If you need any help completing an application for any of the authorisations, please get in touch with the team at or call 0161 393 4314. We have specialists who can provide step by step guidance and members access preferential rates.

  • Are you using customs special procedures and need help with customs clearance? Our customs team can also help. Simply email us at

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