Import Duty and VAT on Inherited Goods

15/04/2023 - 6 minutes read

You can claim a relief to pay no Import duty and VAT on inherited goods if you’re importing such inherited goods into the UK.

Who can claim the relief?

You can claim relief from Import Duty and VAT on inherited goods if you inherit goods from a deceased person and are a:

  • UK resident
  • – non-profit making company established in the UK

In nearly all cases, you cannot claim relief on Import Duty and VAT on inherited goods before the death of a current owner. Even if you know that the goods are bequeathed to you in the will of the current owner. The only time you can claim relief on Import duty and VAT on inherited goods is if:

  • – the goods were bequeathed to the current owner in the will of a deceased person
  • – the will of that deceased person also stipulates that on the death of the current owner, the goods are to pass to you
  • – you can prove that the current owner has renounced ownership or been judged too ill or infirm to manage their own affairs
  • – you can provide a certificate or document given under the laws of the country concerned, stating that you can take the property absolutely under the terms of the will of the deceased person

In other situations, the goods will not qualify for the relief dealt with in this guidance.

Import Duty and VAT on Inherited Goods

Import Duty and VAT on Inherited Goods

Claiming relief on Import Duty and VAT on inherited goods if the benefactor died in the UK

You can claim relief if the benefactor was a resident:

  • – of the UK and their property was located outside the UK at the time of their death
  • – outside the UK, and their property had already been temporarily admitted into the UK at the time of the benefactor’s death

What you can claim relief on

You can get relief for any goods included in the estate of the deceased intended for your personal use or for meeting your household needs.

Examples include:

  • – jewellery
  • – stamp collections
  • – bicycles and private motor vehicles
  • – caravans and trailers
  • – pleasure craft and private aircraft

Other examples include:

  • – household furnishings
  • – family pets and saddle animals
  • – portable items (such as doctor’s bags, musicians’ instruments, photographers’ cameras and equipment) used by the deceased in their trade or profession

Goods you cannot claim relief on

You cannot claim relief for:

  • – alcoholic drinks, tobacco and tobacco products
  • – stocks of raw materials and finished or semi-finished products
  • – tools of trade other than the portable items
  • – commercial vehicles
  • – livestock and stocks of agricultural products which are more than what is required to meet a family’s normal needs
  • – goods bought from the executor of the estate
  • – goods bought or received as a gift from the person who legally inherited them

Before you claim relief on Import Duty and VAT on inherited goods

You should check if your goods are strictly controlled and if you will need an import licence.

When you get the commodity code for your goods using the tariff it will tell you if you need a licence.

When to claim relief

You should claim relief at the time of import. If you do not do this, we may accept a late claim and repay the appropriate charges subject to conditions.

Time limits for the arrival of goods in the UK

You should import the goods within 2 years from the date the estate is finally settled.

The goods do not need to have to arrive in the UK at the same time, but you must provide proof of inheritance each time the goods are imported.

If you consider that exceptional circumstances apply and you cannot import the goods within this period, you should provide evidence to support your claim to the National Imports Relief Unit.

After you’ve claimed relief on Import Duty and VAT on inherited goods

If you dispose of your goods

You must tell the National Imports Reliefs Unit if you dispose of or transfer your goods to another entity.

If you break the conditions of the relief

If you no longer meet the conditions of the relief, you must immediately notify the National Import Reliefs Unit orally, electronically, or in writing.

Provide full details of the importation and why you think the conditions of the relief have been breached.

How can MCL Accountants help?

Contact MCL Accountants on 01702 593 029 if you would like further information about Import duty and VAT on inherited goods or if you need any assistance with the preparation and submission of your business accounts or self-assessment tax returns to HMRC.