The Single Administrative Document (also known as the C88 in the UK) is used for import declarations when trading with non-EU countries and for moving non-EU goods within the EU.

Import duty and value added tax

Import duty and value added tax (VAT) are normally payable as the goods enter the UK. The import duty is determined from the value of the goods on the commercial invoice, insurance and cost of freight. VAT is charged on the total including import duty. Relief may apply in special cases.

Most business transactions involving goods and services are subject to VAT and applies equally to locally produced and imported products. There are three rates:

  • standard rate is 20%
  • reduced rate is 5%
  • zero rate.

Late VAT payments are subject to rising percentage surcharges depending on the frequency of offences in 12-month periods.

VAT paid on a business visit can be reclaimed. Most goods imported for use or demonstration at exhibitions are usually exempt from VAT if covered by appropriate documentation.

Import duty rates vary depending on the type of goods; many goods are duty free. In some cases, additional duties may be charged, depending of the country of manufacture.

VAT reclaim services

There are a range of companies that provide VAT reclaim services in the UK. Austrade London can provide further advice.

To obtain advice about the VAT, visit the VAT Notice 700: the VAT guide.