Export and Import Regulations and Taxes

Last Updated
August 22, 2009

Regulations and Taxes

(i) Duties and VAT

It is vital to ensure that you pay the correct duties and VAT on all products that you import. There are number of different excise duties (e.g. Alcohol or Tobacco duty) that apply to goods, and you need to be sure that you are paying the correct rates.

In the majority of cases, you do not need to charge duty or VAT on exports. You must have official or commercial evidence of non-EU exports to not charge VAT. The rules are different depending on the product and whether it is being exported in or out of the EU. Before you start exporting, you must make sure that you are fully aware of any duty or VAT you need to pay when exporting.

As small businesses may not be VAT registered, the rules will vary depending on the product, you should be certain to clarify the duty or VAT you will need to pay, and how this will change if you register for VAT in the near future.

Depending on the amount you import and export, some business will be entitled to claim back some of the duty or VAT payments that you make. A number of businesses are also entitled to delay payment of duties (mainly for goods imported from outside the EU).

(ii) Customs Entries

If you are importing from outside of the EU or from special EU territories (including the Canary Islands and the Channel Islands), then the goods you bring in will almost always need to be entered and declared to Customs and Excise as they arrive (Either yourself or by an approved agent).

The vast majority of exports outside of the EU or to special EU territories also need to be declared to Customs and Excise as they leave the country.

If you are importing or exporting from within the EU, then a customs declaration is not usually necessary. Although if you are VAT registered, and your EU imports or exports exceed a set amount (currently £233,000 a year) you will need to fill in a supplementary declaration form each month.

(iii) Training

The exact details of import and export regulations are long and complicated, one way to help improve your businesses ability is to undertake import/export training. This will help you (or a chosen employee) to understand in more detail the rules and regulations regarding the products you move.

This will help to ensure that you pay all necessary duty, and are able to claim back all the money you may be entitled to. The cost of training can be quite high, but if your business is looking at importing or exporting in the long term, then the cost will usually be more than worth it.

The government offers some basic training and education in importing and exporting.

1 Getting Started in Imports and Exports

2 Regulations and Taxes

3 Payments and Insurance with Exports and Imports

4 How Will Exports Be Sold

5 Import and Export Links and Web Sites

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