VAT Advice for Import and Export Businesses


Businesses involved in importing and exporting goods require a thorough understanding of their VAT obligations in order to ensure full legal compliance. The experts at The VAT People can provide the advice you need to make sure all of your responsibilities are being met, while maximising your profitability.

We offer a full range of VAT consultancy, support and advice services to help companies involved in international trade to understand which VAT rules apply to them, and to discuss any issues involving customs and excise duties or Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status.

Our team has decades of experience in this field, and can provide you with straightforward and commercially intuitive guidance on your VAT obligations to help you find the most efficient solution for your requirements.

For more information about the range of VAT advice and support services we provide for importers and exporters, call us today on 0333 3635 443 or fill out an online enquiry form and we will be in touch.

How we can help you

The VAT People can provide proactive advice in determining the correct duty and VAT values for your import and export activities, taking into account the full breadth and complexity of international rules and regulations.

We are happy to arrange a free, no-obligation discussion on any issue regarding customs duty, excise duty or VAT, as well as assisting in the establishment of the most appropriate and beneficial commodity codes.

Additionally, we can talk you through the law regarding AEO accreditation, discuss the potential benefits of securing AEO status and help you decide whether this is the right choice for your business.
You can find out more about the services we provide on the following pages: 

For more specifically tailored advice on our AEO consultancy offering and how we can support import and export businesses on customs issues, please visit our sister brand, The Customs People.


How does customs duty and import VAT work for non-EU imports?
If a business is importing goods from non-EU countries, there are three broad areas of compliance and opportunity to be considered: the commodity codes of goods imported, the valuation of imports, and any facilitation schemes that can be applied.

Importers are legally responsible for proactively determining and assessing the value of their goods and assigning the right commodity code descriptions, which are used to determine duty rates. Getting this right and declaring the information correctly is essential, as errors can lead to underpayment or overpayment of duty and import VAT, leading to a significant impact on profitability.

In addition, HM Customs & Excise has recently introduced stringent civil penalties on improper import declarations, placing an even greater focus on compliance.

At the same time, businesses should also be aware of a number of facilitation schemes that are available for importers and exporters, which can provide cash flow benefits as well as tangible duty and import VAT savings. Getting the right advice will help your company to achieve full compliance with the relevant regulations, while taking full advantage of any benefits available.

How does customs duty and import VAT work for EU imports?
Intra-EU transactions also need to be considered in a proactive manner, with specific VAT and statistical reporting (Intrastat) requirements in place. Failing to meet these responsibilities will create legal compliance issues for your business.

As the UK’s future relationship with the EU continues to evolve following Brexit, it is important to stay abreast of any regulatory changes that occur in order to remain on the right side of the law when it comes to import and export duties.

What is Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status?
AEO status is an internationally recognised quality kitemark, used by companies to demonstrate their secure role in the international supply chain. It denotes that their customs controls and procedures are efficient and in line with EU standards.

Exporters, importers and logistics firms have relied on the AEO scheme for many years as a means of simplifying customs procedures, in some cases gaining the right to fast-track their shipments through certain safety and security processes. Many companies are seeking AEO status as a means of ensuring their import and export activities can carry on seamlessly after Brexit.

By seeking expert VAT advice, you will be able to determine whether or not AEO status will be beneficial for your company’s goals.

Contact us

Get in touch with our expert team at The VAT People for more information on how to handle your VAT responsibilities when importing and exporting goods. Call us on our free helpline at 0333 3634 859, or complete our contact form with any other queries.

To find out more about the people who’ll be working alongside you to make the most out of your VAT opportunities, go to our team page. You can also visit our sister service The Customs People for more specialised advice on customs and AEO issues.

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