If you are considering moving to the UK and wondering what tax reliefs are available for bringing goods into the UK then this article provides useful information.
Moving to the UK – Who can claim relief
You can get relief from customs charges due on personal belongings and other goods when transferring your place of residence to:
- – Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales)
- – Northern Ireland from outside the EU
If you’re moving from the EU to Northern Ireland, you’ll not need to apply for transfer of residence (ToR) relief due to freedom of movement.
You can find more information on:
- – claiming Returned Goods Relief when you re-import goods that you previously exported from the UK
- – travelling to the UK
- – bringing goods into the UK for personal use
- – how to work out the value of imported goods
Moving to the UK – Transfer of residence relief
Transfer of residence relief is available when you:
- – transfer your normal place of residence — it allows you to import your goods, including animals and means of transport, with relief from import duties and charges
- – are a student coming for full-time study
- – are moving to the UK to get married or enter into a civil partnership
- – are moving following your marriage or having entered into a civil partnership
The relief exists for those persons who wish to make the UK their normal place of residence. This means the UK will be your main home. The relief is only available to ‘living persons’ and their personal property. It is not available to trusts, companies, corporations, associations, groups or organisations.
You cannot claim transfer of residence relief for goods imported from secondary and holiday homes.
Transferring your normal place of residence
You can claim relief on any personal property intended for your use or for meeting your household needs. This includes:
- – household effects, personal effects, household linen, furnishings and any equipment intended for your personal use or for use within your household
- – cycles, motorcycles, private motor vehicles (and their trailers), camping caravans, pleasure craft and private aircraft
- – household provisions necessary for normal family requirements, household pets and saddle animals
- – portable instruments of the applied or liberal arts required by you for your trade or profession
The relief does not apply to:
- – alcoholic beverages
- – tobacco and tobacco products
- – commercial means of transport
- – non-portable instruments required by you for your trade or profession
This relief does not remove the need for licences for restricted goods, such as firearms or endangered species.
Conditions for relief
To claim relief, you must satisfy all of the following criteria:
- – you’ve been resident outside the UK for at least 12 consecutive months, prior to the date of moving to Great Britain or Northern Ireland
- – you’re importing the goods within 12 months of coming to live in the UK
- – you intend to use the goods in the UK for the same purpose they were used for prior to moving to the UK
The goods can be imported in multiple consignments.
Any goods for which relief is granted cannot be lent, used as security, hired out or transferred to another person within 12 months of the date you moved.
How long you need to have owned the goods
You must have had the goods in your possession for at least 6 months prior to the date of importation. However, this restriction does not apply to items imported under marriage or civil partnership relief, or the relief for students.
Where you’re becoming a resident in the UK due to exceptional political circumstances (for example, political asylum), you may be able to:
- – have had possession and use of the goods for less than 6 months prior to moving
- – use the goods for a different purpose than they were used for prior to moving
- – use the relief for commercial vehicles and non-portable instruments of your trade or profession
- – lend, hire out or transfer the goods prior to 12 months after moving
If circumstances beyond your control mean you cannot comply with the relief requirements, HMRC will also consider waiving the following conditions:
- – being resident for at least 12 months outside the UK prior to moving — where you can show your intention to stay outside the UK for this period or longer
- – having and using the good for at least 6 months — where you can show a special case exists
- – having no more than 12 months to bring all items into the UK — where exceptional circumstances have prevented you from bringing the items into the UK (a lack of funds or space in your new home is not considered an exceptional circumstance)
If you think exceptional circumstances apply, you should include evidence of why you think they apply within your ToR1 form.
Prior approval for importing goods
You must get approval from HMRC before claiming the relief. You must complete a ToR1 form and provide details of goods being imported and evidence to support your claim.
Students moving to the UK for full-time study
For goods belonging to pupils or students moving to the UK for full-time study, relief is available on the following:
- clothing, including underwear
- objects and instruments normally used by students for their studies — including personal computers, calculators and typewriters
- household effects, including personal effects, household linen, furnishings and equipment
Alcohol, tobacco and tobacco products are excluded from relief.
If you’re a student coming to the UK for a period of full-time study, you do not need to complete the ToR1 form. You should tell your agent to declare the goods to customs procedure code (CPC) 40 00 C06. You’ll need to submit evidence of your period of study with your entry. The goods must be owned by the individual and be intended for their personal use.
Who can claim relief
Any person moving to the UK to enroll at a school, academy, college or university to study on a full-time basis, or a person acting on their behalf.
You’ll need to provide evidence of your period of study with your customs declaration.
At the end of your studies
If after you complete your studies you decide to make the UK your normal place of residence, you can apply for transfer of residence relief after your graduation. You’ll need to apply and import the goods on which you claim the relief within 12 months of graduation. You can apply using the ToR1 form.
Goods imported on the occasion of a marriage or civil partnership
Relief is available on trousseaux and household effects. Relief can also be claimed in respect of presents given on the occasion of a wedding or civil partnership, provided the person giving the present has their normal place of residence outside the UK.
Alcoholic goods, tobacco and tobacco products are excluded from relief.
Who can claim relief
People moving to or relocating back to the UK because of their marriage or civil partnership, or persons acting on their behalf.
Conditions of relief
To claim relief, you must satisfy all of the following criteria:
- – your normal place of residence must have been outside the UK for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the date of importation
- – you must be able to provide evidence of your marriage or civil partnership
- – the value of each gift cannot exceed £900
- – you must provide a guarantee for goods imported for up to 2 months prior to the date of the marriage or civil partnership ceremony
Moving to the UK – Importing vehicles
There are specific conditions you need to know for importing vehicles when moving to the UK, even if it’s for personal use.
Notification of Vehicle Arrival
When you make your declaration to claim relief or pay duty and import VAT for a vehicle you import permanently into the UK, HMRC will make the NOVA notification on your behalf and write to tell you when you can apply to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to license and register your vehicle.
You can find out more information by phoning: 0300 200 3700.
Tax-free scheme vehicles when moving to the UK
If your vehicle was originally supplied in the UK under a tax-free scheme as described in VAT Notice 707: Personal Export scheme for motor vehicles to destinations outside the UK, you can only re-import it into the UK free of duty and tax if it qualifies for one of the reliefs.
If it does not qualify for any of the reliefs, the duty and tax will normally be payable on the value of the vehicle at the time you re-import it, at the rates which then apply. However, if you bring it back to the UK within 6 months of the date by which it should have been exported under the original conditions, you’ll have to pay:
- – the VAT due at the time the vehicle was originally supplied
- – duty, if payable, based on the value of the vehicle at the time you import it
Find more information on bringing your cars into the UK.
How can MCL Accountants help?
Contact MCL Accountants on 01702 593 029 if you would like us to assist you with your tax queries if you are moving to the UK or if you need any assistance with the preparation and submission of your business accounts and self-assessment tax returns to HMRC.
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Ishan provides financial management, taxation and transactional advice to business entities of all sizes. His expert areas include statutory compliance, business taxation, personal tax & transactional processing and systems. Industry sectors include professional services, retail, hospitality and entertaining & media and advertising services.