An Introduction to Import Duty and Taxes

  • Price: £3.60
  • Published: November 2014
  • Type: Business Information Factsheet
  • Format: PDF

Many UK business proprietors source goods from abroad, either to build a stock of reasonably priced items to supply to customers at a profit, or because they require components for products they make. However, following the introduction of the single market in the European Union (EU), goods entering the UK from other EU member states are no longer described as imports, but as 'acquisitions'. Only items entering the UK directly from non-EU countries count as imports.

Some items purchased abroad for commercial purposes (mainly but not exclusively from non-EU countries) are liable for the payment of various import duties and taxes, including customs or import duty, excise duty and import VAT. The UK import duty and tax system is complex, and liability for such taxes generally varies according to the type of item being imported, its country of origin and its value.

This factsheet explains the main UK import duties and taxes, the rates and allowances applied, and the various duty and VAT relief schemes available.

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