HMRC's National Import Reliefs Unit (NIRU)

National Import Reliefs Unit - Community System Duty Reliefs

Community System Duty Reliefs (CSDR) provides relief from customs duty, and in some cases VAT and excise duty, on a range of goods imported to free circulation:

  • for educational, scientific or cultural purposes
  • to encourage trade (for example, goods for test and commercial samples)
  • for other purposes (for example for awards and decorations, or when inherited, or received as private gifts)

Key features

  • CSDR requires the use of specific import Customs Procedure Codes to claim relief from customs duty and / or import VAT charges
  • authorisation is required from HMRC's National Import Relief Unit (NIRU) or other government departments to use a number of the CSDR reliefs
  • some of the CSDR reliefs carry specific post import disposal restrictions

You can read more about each of these reliefs by reading the relevant notice on the HMRC website:

  • Museums and galleries - imports of goods for museums and galleries can only be made to NIRU (National Import Reliefs Unit) approved establishments. For more information read Notice 361.
  • Imports by charities free of duty and VAT - read Notice 317.
  • Importing scientific instruments free of duty and VAT - for use in educational establishments, as well as the NHS - read Notice 340.
  • Importing donated medical equipment free of duty and VAT - for research, diagnosis and treatment for a health authority or hospital department - you'll also need approval from HMRC - read Notice 341.
  • Importing miscellaneous documents and related articles - read Notice 342.
  • Importing capital goods free of duty and VAT - the organisation claiming this relief must comply with the conditions listed in section two of the Notice 343. Read Notice 343.
  • Importing animals for scientific research free of duty and VAT - read Notice 365.
  • Importing biological and chemical substances for scientific research - Read Notice 366. Contact NIRU for more details.
  • Importing commercial samples of negligible value - read Notice 372.
  • Importing inherited goods free of duty and VAT - read Notice 368.
  • Importing blood grouping, tissue types and therapeutic substances - read Notice 369.
  • Importing goods for disabled people free of duty and VAT - read Notice 371.
  • Importing goods for test free of duty and VAT - read Notice 374.