UK & EU - Returned Goods Relief (RGR)

Site updated regularly - Page last updated November 2016

Return Goods Relief

Using a mobile device? Why not use our new mobile-friendly website.
Click here to visit this same page in a different layout.

Jump to:

  • Related Links
  • All of the information shown below has been taken from the Public Notice: 236 Importing returned goods free of duty and tax. ukimports

    If the goods you are importing into the UK or EC, then you may qualify for relief from Customs Duty and / or VAT. Please take a few moments to read the information below, and see if you are eligible.

    Should you have any questions, then please contact us. ukimports

    .................................................................

    What are the conditions for relief from customs duty?

    We outline the conditions for customs duty RGR in the checklist, below.

    In addition, you must comply with the following requirements if you claim customs duty RGR on reimported goods that were previously held under Inward Processing Relief (IPR) or end-use relief.

    IPR goods.
    You can claim RGR on the reimportation of non-free circulation goods (or goods incorporating non-free circulation components) which were previously relieved from customs duty under IPR arrangements, as long as you:
    - pay the amount of duty originally relieved under IPR;
    - meet all other relevant RGR conditions in the checklist at section 5; and
    - declare the goods to Customs Procedure Code (CPC) 40 00 58.

    Where goods have been imported more than once under IPR, the sum you must pay for RGR purposes is the amount which would have been due had the goods been diverted to free circulation after completion of the last IPR transaction. You must include details of the amount previously relieved under IPR on Form C1314 which is to accompany the import declaration Form C88.

    End-use goods.
    You can claim RGR on reimported goods which were previously imported under end-use relief, as long as you meet all the relevant conditions in the checklist below.
    If you reimport the goods to end-use again, you can claim relief from paying a reduced rate of duty under end-use by using RGR. To claim both end-use relief and RGR, declare the goods to the appropriate end-use CPC (for example, 94 00 38) and include the statement ‘Relief claimed under Council Regulation 2913/92, Articles 185-187’ in Box 44 of Form C88.
    If you do not reimport the goods to end-use again, you can use RGR to reduce the amount of duty due on reimport by an amount equal to any duty paid under end-use at the time of previous importation. If the amount of duty paid on the previous importation is more than the full amount due on reimport, we require no further payment BUT we cannot give any refund. You must declare the goods to CPC 40 00 58 for RGR purposes and complete Form C1314.

    You can find further information about IPR and end-use in Notices 221 Inward Processing Relief and 770 Imported goods: end-use relief.

    RGR is not limited to goods moving solely between the UK and third countries. You can also claim customs duty and CAP RGR on “triangulation” goods. ukimports

    back to top 

     

    What is triangulation?

    Triangulation is the exportation of goods from one Customs Union country to a third country, followed by their reimportation into another Customs Union country - for example, France to America and then back to the UK. If you reimport such goods you can claim customs duty and CAP RGR as long as you meet the conditions in the checklists below, and you present the following with your import declaration:

    - Information Sheet INF3 (and for IPR goods, Information Sheet INF1 too) or

    - equivalent documentary evidence confirming that the goods were originally exported from the Customs Union, and at that time satisfied the conditions for acceptance as returned goods.

    The UK versions of the INF3 and INF1 are Customs Forms C&E1158 and C&E1143 respectively. ukimports

    back to top 

     

    Checklist: entitlement to relief from customs duty

    Important: You must meet all conditions 1 to 5 below before we will allow customs duty RGR.

    Conditions to be met

    Additional guidance
    1. The goods were exported from the Customs Union.

    ‘Exports’ for customs duty RGR purposes include:

    - any goods which have been physically sent to a third country
    - goods shipped as stores on vessels or aircraft which leave Customs Union territorial waters or airspace
    - goods supplied to work points and platforms on the Continental Shelf outside territorial waters.

    Note:
    - Goods are eligible for RGR if they have been exported to a place outside the Customs Union, and are returned to the UK via another Member State or country having a Customs Union with the EC where they were not declared for free circulation.
    - All other goods which have been dispatched directly to and returned directly from another Member State are not eligible for customs duty RGR.
    - You must use an ATR Movement Certificate to obtain relief on goods in Chapters 25 to 97 of the Tariff (with the exception of coal and steel products in Chapters 26, 27, 72 and 73) if dispatched directly to and returned directly from Turkey. These goods are covered by the EC-Turkey Customs Union, and customs duty RGR does not apply to their movement within the Union. Notice 812 European Community preferences: Trade with Turkey provides further information about the ATR procedures. You can use the RGR procedures described in this Notice for all other goods dispatched directly to and returned directly from Turkey.
    - With the exception of certain CAP goods (paragraph 7.1 of Notice 236), goods which were previously exported from countries before they joined the EC are eligible for RGR on return from a third country on or after the date they joined.
    - Goods manufactured in the EC and then placed in an EC free zone or customs warehouse before being sent to another Member State have not been exported for RGR purposes. ukimports

    2. The goods were:

    - in free circulation; or
    - products of an IPR operation; or
    - previously imported under end-use relief.

    These are goods of wholly Customs Union origin (including component parts), or goods imported into the Union on which all the import formalities have been completed, and all the duty due has been paid and not repaid in whole or part.

    The section above on conditions for relief from duty, gives more information on IPR and end-use goods. You may have to pay some customs duty on these goods when reimported. ukimports

    3. The goods were not temporarily exported for process or repair, and are returning in the same state as at export from the Customs Union.

    (‘Processing’ includes work done on goods, erecting or assembling goods, or fitting them to other goods. It excludes simple use of the goods e.g. the running of machinery or the display of exhibits, and also the dismantling and return of parts from Customs Union goods).

    Goods temporarily exported for process or repair in a third country are not eligible for RGR on reimportation (unless returned unaltered). You should use the Outward Processing Relief arrangements in Notice 235 Outward processing relief for those goods

    We will allow RGR on goods which did receive some treatment outside the Union as long as:

    (a) the treatment was limited to:

    maintaining the goods in sound condition, for example routine servicing or lubrication of machines; or

    handling which only altered the goods’ appearance, for example affixing of operating instructions in foreign languages; or

    carrying out unforeseen repairs or restoration work on goods which were found to be defective or unsuitable for their intended use, or suffered damage, provided the work (including incorporation of any spare parts):
    - was solely to enable them to be used as intended; and
    - did not increase their value at the time of export from the Union (N.B. if value did increase, the OPR charging rules under “(b)” will apply); or

    (b) the goods were exported without the intention of return to the Union, but were found to be defective or unsuitable for their intended use only after a process had begun on them, for example cloth discovered to be the wrong quality after starting to be made up into garments.

    If that process would have made the goods liable to duty had they been exported under Outward Processing Relief (OPR), the rules in force for charging duty under the OPR arrangements will apply (Notice 235 Outward processing relief).

    Any process or repair not covered by (a) or (b) will make the goods ineligible for RGR. ukimports

    4. The goods are declared for free circulation within 3 years of their last export from the Customs Union. You may exceed this time limit in special circumstances. Paragraph 2.4 gives more information. ukimports

    5. Goods exported from the EC which under the CAP procedures:

    required an export licence;
    were exported under an Advance Fixing Certificate;
    were subject to a claim for any refund, or benefited from any other financial advantage;
    were subject to any levy;

    must meet the additional conditions for relief from CAP charges even though they may not be liable to CAP charges at import. If you do not meet the additional conditions, you cannot claim customs duty RGR alone.

    Whatever their position, you must support CAP goods exported from the EC with a statement from the relevant paying agency in the exporting Member State before we can consider RGR.

    The checklist in section 7 of Notice 236, sets out the conditions for CAP RGR, and how you can obtain the paying agency statement. ukimports

    ukimports

    back to top 

     

    What are the conditions for relief from VAT?

    We outline the conditions for VAT RGR in the checklist at section 6. If you are a taxable person, RGR saves you having to pay and reclaim VAT several times on, for example, goods taken outside the EC on approval and brought back unsold, or tools and equipment which are returned after use outside the EC.

    However, if you are registered for VAT, you can still choose as an alternative to claiming VAT RGR, to pay or defer the VAT due on reimportation and subject to the normal rules, deduct it as input tax on your next VAT return. We will issue the usual VAT certificate or VAT copy of the declaration in such cases. Most goods are liable to VAT at the rate of 17.5%, but certain works of art, antiques and collectors’ items are entitled to an effective VAT rate of 5%. For full details and conditions, see our Notice 702 VAT Imports.

    For VAT purposes, we treat goods returned to the UK from the Special Territories and countries which have customs unions with the EC as imported goods. That is because these areas are outside the VAT fiscal territory of the Community. If you want to claim VAT RGR on such goods, you must declare them on Form C88 and use CPC 49 00 58 or 49 00 63. You can also claim a waiver of the three year time limit (paragraph 2.4) using the former CPC. ukimports

    back to top 

     

    Checklist: entitlement to relief from VAT

    All of the following conditions must be met:

    Conditions to be met

    Additional guidance
    1. The goods were last exported from the EC by, or on behalf of, the importer.

    For VAT RGR purposes, “exports” include when goods are sent to the areas defined in the checklist for customs duty RGR in section 5, and also when sent to the Special Territories and countries having a Customs Union with the EC. ukimports

    2. The goods meet conditions 2-5 in the checklist for customs duty RGR in the "relief from duty" checklist, above.

    These conditions apply whether or not the goods are potentially liable to customs duty on import.

    For VAT purposes, processing and repair includes any done in the Special Territories and countries having a Customs Union with the EC, as well as outside the Customs Union.

    If the goods are products of an IPR suspension operation on which VAT was previously suspended, you must pay the amount suspended on reimport.

    If OPR charging rules apply to the goods not originally intended to be reimported, you must pay the relevant VAT on reimport.

    The 3 year time limit can be exceeded in the same way as for customs duty. ukimports

    3. In cases other than IPR suspension, if the goods were supplied in, acquired in or imported into the EC before their export, VAT was accounted for or paid and neither has been nor will be repaid as a result of their export.

    Repaid does not mean deducted as input tax.

    Taxable persons who zero-rated goods on export can still claim VAT RGR on reimport of those goods.

    Goods obtained by individuals which were zero-rated for VAT under any personal export scheme are not eligible for VAT RGR. ukimports

    4. The goods were not exported with a view to avoiding or abusing the normal VAT supply rules by using RGR. For example, by selling “offshore” to another UK company so that the latter can obtain goods relieved of VAT after reimport by the exporter.

    The following are examples of legitimate reasons for reimporting goods sold outside the EC where VAT RGR can still properly be claimed. They include where goods are:

    - rejected by the customer based outside the EC; or
    - not able to be delivered to the customer based outside the EC; or
    - re-purchased by the original EC exporter, or sent back to them for repair or renovation. ukimports

    ukimports

    back to top 

     

    How do I claim RGR on reimportation?

    You must complete a full customs import declaration Form C88 unless you:

    - used a carnet or the duplicate list procedure for exporting the goods or

    - used CPC 23 00 21 to export the goods, and are now reimporting them to the simplified declaration procedure under CPC 61 23 01 or

    - are approved to use other simplified procedures for example under CFSP (Notice 760 Customs Freight Simplified Procedures) or

    - are reimporting goods below a certain value by post.

    When you fill in Box 37 of the customs declaration you must use the appropriate RGR CPC, see section 8.

    Depending on the CPC, in some cases you will also need to complete claim form C1314 to help establish entitlement to RGR, and in others you will be bound by a specific declaration built into the relevant CPC.

    In addition, we cannot normally allow RGR unless at the time of import, you produce acceptable evidence of previous export of the goods from the Customs Union, EC or UK, as appropriate, and their duty status at export. By “duty status” we mean whether the goods are in free circulation, products of an Inward Processing Relief (IPR) operation, or end use goods.

    It is important to establish duty status because, in the case of returning goods or any of their components which were previously imported and declared to IPR or end use, you may have to pay some duty. You must declare ex-IPR and end use goods to CPC 40 00 58 and provide details of any duty to be paid on Form C1314 as explained in paragraph 2.1.

    You must still prove previous export of the goods from the Customs Union, but if you have tried unsuccessfully to get details of their duty status at export and the amount of any duty to be paid now, we may be able to make enquiries to establish those details for you. Declare the goods to CPC 40 00 58 along with Form C1314 and supporting evidence of previous export, and tell our import officer why you cannot prove duty status. For example, because the previous exporter has gone out of business and you cannot get the information from them.

    We will release your goods if we are satisfied that all the conditions for relief are met. If there are any doubts or unresolved aspects concerning the claim, we will still release the goods if you give us financial security (for example a cash deposit or banker’s guarantee) to cover the duty and/or tax at stake, either pending production of further evidence from you, or while we undertake any enquiries about duty status for you.

    Important: Please bear in mind that you are liable to fines if you make false statements to obtain, or try to obtain, relief to which you are not legally entitled. The goods involved are also liable to forfeiture. ukimports

    back to top 

     

    What is acceptable evidence of export?

    Customs certified copy 3 (or an authenticated photocopy) of the export SAD (Form C88 in the UK), or the officially authenticated Information Sheet INF3 (supported by Information Sheet INF1 if appropriate) described in paragraphs 2.2 and 3.5, are the normal forms of evidence to prove that the goods, at the time of previous export from the Customs Union, satisfied the conditions for acceptance as returned goods. If the goods were exported from the UK under the New Export System (NES), quoting the NES declaration reference counts as the equivalent of producing a hard copy of the export SAD copy 3.

    We will consider alternative evidence which clearly relates to the goods being imported, and confirms the previous export of those goods and their duty status at export (that is goods in free circulation, products of an IPR operation or end-use goods). Provided therefore the goods are readily identifiable and duty status is apparent from the details thereon, we may accept one or more of the following documents as evidence:
    - a document that proves the goods were previously in the Customs Union (or in the UK for excise duty relief)
    - a copy of the export invoice
    - a copy of the export airway bill or bill of lading
    - a commercial certificate of shipment prepared at the time of export
    - a certificate of posting relating to the export of the goods
    - a copy of the import invoice if it clearly shows that the goods are being returned
    - a suitable statement from the manufacturer or exporter if other than yourself
    - a preferential origin Form EUR1 in certain cases (contact our National Advice Service for further details) or
    - in the case of collectable items, catalogue information or qualified opinion from collectors’ houses such as Sothebys or Christies.

    See paragraph 4.1 if you can produce evidence of previous export, but cannot establish the duty status of the goods at that time.

    If you are regularly importing returned goods and presentation of the evidence at the time of import is difficult for you, we may be able to offer alternative arrangements – contact our nearest international trade office for details. ukimports

    back to top 

    .................................................................

    If you would like more advise relating to Returned Goods, then please contact us. ukimports

    back to top 

    .................................................................

    (Click here to go back to previous page)

     

    Customs Procedure Codes (CPCs) for RGR

    This section summarises the main RGR CPCs and when they can be used.

    Please note: The CPCs shown in the table below have been taken directly from Notice 236. Since the introduction of SAD Harmonisation, these CPCs have now been replaced. Please contact us if you are unable to the replacement CPC, then please contact us. ukimports

    Form

    Form Title
    07 00 03

    is for excise goods returned to the UK to be warehoused for excise duty purposes only.

    The CPC provides relief from customs duty, CAP charges and VAT. You must submit Form C1314 with the import declaration. ukimports

    07 00 04

    is for excise goods returned to the UK to be deposited in licensed or registered premises without payment of excise duty.

    The CPC gives relief from customs duty, CAP charges and VAT. You must submit Form C1314 with the import declaration. ukimports

    23 00 21 is for free circulation goods which are being temporarily exported for use in a third country, and ultimate return in an unaltered condition. ukimports
    40 00 58

    allows for relief on reimport of any one or any combination of customs duty, CAP charges, excise duty and VAT, and is for goods not appropriate to any other RGR CPC.

    You must submit Form C1314 with the import declaration. We will allow release of the goods before production of export evidence, but you will need to give us financial security (for example a cash deposit or banker’s guarantee). We will discharge it on receipt of the evidence required. ukimports

    40 00 59 provides relief from customs duty and VAT on technical equipment reimported by certain marine research bodies approved by us to operate special arrangements for RGR. ukimports
    40 00 60

    is the basic RGR CPC for claiming relief from customs duty only. It does not provide relief from other duties or VAT. It only applies to goods which were in free circulation at the time of export.

    You should use this CPC only when all other conditions for customs duty RGR are met (see checklist above), and you can produce evidence of export and free circulation status with the import declaration. ukimports

    40 00 63 has the same scope as CPC 40 00 60 but provides VAT relief in addition to customs duty RGR. You should use this CPC when the reimportation meets the conditions set out in the checklists above and there is no VAT to be paid at import under those conditions. ukimports
    40 71 16

    covers goods reimported from outside the Customs Union which are declared to RGR from a customs warehouse.

    You must quote one of the above CPCs in the 40 00 series in Box 44 of the SAD, and meet all the conditions of, and produce the documentary evidence required by, the latter CPC. ukimports

    61 23 00

    provides relief from customs duty and VAT on EC-owned containers, trailers, pallets and packings (including empty boxes and re-usable lashings).

    You must have exported the goods, and have had them returned empty to you. ukimports

    49 00 58 provides relief from excise duty and/or VAT for goods which are Community goods reimported from one of the Special Territories or countries having a Customs Union with the EC. It also provides relief from CAP charges if required. You must submit Form C1314 with the import declaration. ukimports
    49 00 61 is the equivalent to CPC 61 23 00 and used to claim relief from VAT on containers, trailers, pallets and packing reimported from one of the Special Territories or countries having a Customs Union with the EC. ukimports
    49 00 63 can be used if you are claiming relief from VAT only on goods reimported from one of the Special Territories or countries having a Customs Union with the EC, and there is no VAT to be paid at import under the conditions laid down in the checklist for relief from VAT, above. ukimports
    49 71 16

    covers goods reimported from the Special Territories or countries having a Customs Union with the EC which are declared to RGR from a customs warehouse.

    You must quote one of the above CPCs in the 49 00 series in Box 44 of the SAD, and meet all the conditions of, and produce documentary evidence required by, the latter CPC ukimports

    61 23 01

    is used only for free circulation goods last exported as freight under the temporary export procedure (CPC 23 00 21).

    The simplified import declaration procedure under this CPC provides relief from customs duty and VAT if the importer and exporter are the same person. ukimports

    61 23 04 provides relief from customs and excise duties on goods in free circulation at export, which are now reimported for simultaneous release for free circulation without payment of VAT for zero-rated onward supply to another EC Member State. ukimports

    ukimports

    back to top 

     

    Note: This information contained on this page is only a brief section of the information that can be found in Public Notice 236. Please ensure that you read the full document and discuss the criteria with your preferred clearing agent to ensure that your goods are eligible for relief.

    Click here to read / download Public Notice 236

     

    back to top 

    .................................................................

     

    Related Links


  • Finding Duty and VAT rates
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  •