Trading Places?

VAT and Customs Treatment of Imports, Exports and "Intra-EC" Transactions

By Andrew Rimmer

This book introduces the main concepts and trade facilitation reliefs that businesses must understand if they are to trade internationally with the least intervention and disruption from the UK's Tax Authorities. The worst-case scenario is for an importer to have their goods still within Customs' control, instead of being where they are needed because the correct procedures have not been followed. Allied to this is the need for businesses to secure the release of their goods, paying as little import duty and import value-added tax (VAT) as possible. While import VAT is recoverable by most businesses, it is still a major cash-flow cost, which has to be funded. Import duty is an absolute cost so importers must review all available means to reduce or remove the duty payable. The European Community now has 27 Member States and, on behalf of the European Commission, each is tasked with controlling the movement of goods, capital, and people, both into and out of the EC. Ensuring that duties and taxes are collected, while allowing the free movement of goods, is a vital objective both to the Commission and each Member State. For example, Customs import duties are uniform across all Member States, being collected on behalf of the Commission, while each Member State levies and retains its own import VAT. In the UK, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are required by the Commission to protect the EC's borders and to prevent smuggling, avoidance, and abuse. While not wishing to hamper the international movement of goods, HMRC will always place their 'policing' duties above the commercial interests of any business. The book highlights the means of importing goods and arriving at the Customs value on which import duty and import VAT are computed. It also provides commentary on export procedures and the VAT treatment of intra-EC trading, including potential fiscal barriers to exploiting non-UK markets. Chapters on potential pitfalls and planning for international trade provide the reader with an overview of 'best-practice,' when looking to import or export goods.

239 pages

Publication Date: 12/1/2010
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781907444005