Check how to pay duties and VAT on imports


Last updated: 16 November 2021

If you’re a business importing goods from outside the UK, you can pay Customs Duty, excise duties and VAT in a number of ways.

Not paying at the time goods enter the UK

Duty deferment account

duty deferment account lets you make one payment a month by Direct Debit instead of paying for individual consignments.

This means:

  • you delay paying the charges for an average of 30 days
  • you do not have to pay immediately each time you want to clear your goods
  • HMRC can normally clear your goods more quickly because they do not have to handle payments for each transaction

You’ll be able to get copies of your duty deferment statements online.

Postponed VAT accounting

Postponed VAT accounting lets you declare and recover import VAT on your VAT Return. You can check when you can account for import VAT on your VAT Return.

Paying at the time goods enter the UK

Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system

You can use the flexible accounting system when your goods move across the border if:

  • you want to pay by bank transfer, guaranteed cheque or bank draft
  • you’re a Direct Trader Input (DTI) agent

You use the account in a similar way to a bank current account, with the exception that there are no charges for using the account, no overdraft facility and no interest.

Customs Declaration Service

If you use the Customs Declaration Service you can use cash accounting to pay for your customs duty and import VAT.

You can also use immediate payment methods such as:

  • online or telephone banking
  • card
  • CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System)
  • Bacs (Bankers Automated Clearing System)

Find more information on how to pay for imports declared using the Customs Declaration Service.

Import VAT certificates (C79)

If you’re registered for UK VAT, check how to get your import VAT certificate (C79). You’ll need this to claim import VAT as input tax on your VAT Return if you have not used Postponed VAT Accounting.