Introduction

At Türner & Co, we specialise in providing comprehensive VAT and customs duty services tailored specifically for overseas businesses navigating the complexities of trade into the UK. With our exclusive focus on overseas and multi-national clients, we are uniquely positioned to offer expert guidance and support. This expertise has become increasingly important for our clients in the post-Brexit landscape.
If you are an overseas businesses with no UK presence, selling goods on DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) Incoterms® to UK businesses – from major UK supermarkets like Aldi, Lidl, or Wayfair, or to specific customers – presents unique VAT and customs challenges. At Türner & Co, we specialise in navigating these complexities, ensuring your business meets its UK VAT and customs requirements.
If you are undertaking construction and civil engineering projects in the UK, you may be required to import materials into the UK. We support our clients with this every day – to read more about VAT and construction and civil engineering projects in the UK, click here.

Our services

  • VAT registration confirmation: we assess your trade terms and contracts to determine UK VAT registration requirements, providing clear guidance on your obligations.
  • UK VAT and GB EORI registration: our team facilitates the UK VAT registration process and will obtain a GB EORI number linked to your UK VAT ID number – this is crucial for importing goods into the UK and recovering import VAT.
  • Standalone GB EORI number: urgently need to import goods into the UK? We can swiftly obtain a standalone GB EORI number to kickstart the process. Once you have a VAT ID and linked GB EORI number, we can facilitate import VAT recovery by correcting the earlier import declarations, resulting in no VAT cost to your business.
  • Invoicing guidance: we provide advice on invoicing UK customers, particularly during the period when you’re waiting for your VAT ID number, ensuring compliance with UK VAT law.
  • Bringing UK VAT compliance up-to-date: If you’ve been importing goods into the UK without a UK VAT ID number, we can assist with retrospective VAT registration and bringing your UK VAT compliance up-to-date. For more information on VAT compliance services please click here.
  • Customs duty assessment: our experts can determine whether your products are subject to customs duty, helping you manage your supply chain costs effectively. Unlike import VAT, customs duty cannot be recovered so the associated cost should be factored into your supply chain. We can also help you obtain a Duty Deferment Account with HMRC which can defer payment of customs duty for up to 6 weeks.
  • Logistics and customs agent support: we can provide essential information and instructions to your logistics provider or customs agent to ensure you can recover import VAT and use Postponed VAT Accounting (PVA), ensuring import VAT does not become a cost in your supply chain.
  • Customs Declaration Service (CDS) registration: we ensure your business is registered for the CDS, enabling deferred import VAT accounting, which is critical for cash flow management.

Why Choose Türner & Co?

  • Specialist team: exclusively dedicated to supporting overseas businesses inbound into the UK. We support our client with imports every day.
  • Expertise in Incoterms®: thorough understanding of Incoterms® for accurate and actionable VAT and customs advice.
  • Proactive approach: anticipating challenges and offering streamlined solutions for import processes and VAT compliance.
  • Comprehensive support: from initial VAT registration to ongoing VAT compliance, we cover all your VAT and customs needs.

Our experience in dealing with UK imports

Here at Türner & Co, we have unrivalled credentials in successfully managing VAT and customs duty on imports into the UK for our clients. Some examples are:

  • Working with a client’s UK customs agent and HMRC to make corrections to customs declarations, resulting in the recovery of over GBP 1 Million import VAT. We have assisted numerous clients with similar corrections, ranging from single, one-off imports, to multi-thousand-line corrections.
  • Providing supply chain consultancy for multiple clients, to ensure compliance with UK obligations, including place of supply optimisation, VAT liability and invoicing requirements.
  • Helping our clients to manage major UK customs changes, including changes to UK customs reporting systems, the introduction of new import VAT reporting methods and the new Border Operating Model.
  • Working with clients to review VAT liability and customs duty classifications.
  • Working with clients to obtain new Advanced Tariff Rulings to enable them to reduce risk and achieve beneficial terms with their partners.
  • Managing communications between clients and HMRC regarding the valuation of goods for customs purposes.
  • Supporting many clients during VAT and customs audits.

Contact Us

For expert support with UK VAT, customs duty and imports, Contact Türner & Co today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the VAT implications of selling on DDP Incoterms® to UK customers?

Selling on DDP Incoterms® typically requires the seller to handle VAT and customs duties, making UK VAT registration essential.

When do I pay import VAT?

The starting point is that import VAT is payable when goods are imported into the UK. Import VAT can be deferred if you have a Duty Deferment Account with HMRC or if you use the Duty Deferment Account of your customs agent, but to maximise cash flow we recommend that you use Postponed VAT Accounting – PVA – to manage import VAT. PVA removes this ‘up front’ cost, allowing you to account for import VAT via your UK VAT return.

What is Postponed VAT Accounting or PVA?

PVA allows you to defer import VAT, improving cash flow because you to account for import VAT on your VAT return instead of paying it upfront at the customs border or via your customs agent’s deferment account (for which you will be typically charged a usage fee). When you use PVA, the import VAT is shown on your UK VAT return but is fully recoverable on the same return, creating no cost at all to your business. Note: this assumes your business does not make VAT-exempt supplies.

How do I use PVA?

If you have a UK VAT-ID number, with a linked GB EORI number, you can use PVA. You will need to tell your customs agent so they can complete the import declaration correctly and you will need to register for the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). We can do this for you.

Can I import goods into the UK if I am an overseas business?

Yes, an overseas business can import goods into the UK. As long as you have a GB EORI number and a UK customs agent to submit import declarations on your behalf, you can import goods into the UK.

Do I need to pay customs duty on my imports into the UK?

Customs duty is not due on imports into the UK of less than GBP 135. For imports over this amount, customs duty may be payable. This depends on the type of goods being imported, their origin and whether there is Free Trade Agreement in place. It is possible to claim a preferential rate of duty – 0% – if the goods originate in a country with which the UK has a Free Trade Agreement. There is a Free Trade Agreement in place between the UK and the EU – The UK-EU Free Trade Cooperation Agreement – which applies 0% customs duty to goods of EU origin.

Can I reclaim customs duty?

No, customs duty is not recoverable. If customs duty applies to your imports, you will need to factor this into your supply chain and determine how the cost will be met. If you have overpaid customs duty, for example by using an incorrect commodity code for the goods being imported, you can apply for a refund.

What is an Incoterm®?

Incoterms® are an internationally recognised set of rules that clarify the responsibilities and terms that buyers and sellers use in international and domestic trade contracts. They are an important part of international trade and together with your terms and conditions of sale, form the basis of your rights and responsibilities.

Why are Incoterms® important?

They set out the seller and buyer’s responsibilities for importing goods into the UK. They do not just deal with VAT but cover all risks and responsibilities, e.g. liability for transport and insurance costs. They also define the point of delivery for the purpose of transfer of obligations from seller to buyer. If you have agreed DDP Incoterms® with a UK customer, you are responsible for importing the goods into the UK and will need a UK VAT ID number with a linked GB EORI number.

Do I have to register for UK VAT if I import goods into the UK?

Not necessarily – if your business activities in the UK do not create a VAT registration obligation, there is a mechanism for overseas businesses to reclaim UK VAT (including import VAT) from HMRC. There are strict rules and deadlines regarding these claims, we can support your business in confirming your eligibility to claim and preparation and submission of claims to HMRC.


Looking for something else?

Head back to VAT or see all the services we offer.

Want to find out more?

Speak to our team and find out how we can get you up and running for your next venture in the UK.

Contact Us
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