Accounting for import VAT on VAT returns

Feb 23, 2021

GOV.UK has set out in guidance how to account for import VAT on VAT returns. Postponed import VAT must be included on the return for the accounting period in which you imported the goods. If you adopt this method, you will receive monthly postponed import VAT statements online and these will help complete VAT returns.   Read the guidance.

When can you account for import VAT on your VAT return?

You can do this if:

  • the goods you import are for use in your business
  • you include your VAT registration number on your customs declaration.

Importing goods for both business and non-business purposes

Import VAT can be declared on your VAT return if you import goods which will be used for both business and non-business purposes.

Import VAT cannot be accounted for on your return if you import goods you know will be used solely for non-business purposes. Instead, when you complete your customs declaration, you should select that you will be making immediate payment or using a duty deferment account.

GOV.UK also sets out that import VAT can be accounted for on your VAT return where goods are in special procedures for customs purposes and certain excisable goods.  Read the guidance.  

When you must account for import VAT on your VAT Return

If you import goods that are not controlled into Great Britain from the EU between 1 January and 30 June 2021, you must account for import VAT on your VAT Return if you either:

When completing the supplementary declaration, you must ensure that you select that import VAT will be accounted for on your VAT Return.

You must also account for import VAT on your return if all of the following apply:

  • you import goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU in consignments valued £135 or less
  • the goods are not excise goods
  • you provide your VAT registration number to the business that supplies the goods to you.

Postponed import VAT statement

If you account for import VAT on your VAT return, a postponed import VAT statement  will be available online. Unless you have delayed your customs declaration, each postponed import VAT statement will show the total import VAT postponed for the previous month.

Statements will become available to view in the first half of each month.