Delaying Import VAT and Duties 

Today (15 April 2020) is the day for payment under the Duty Deferment arrangement*. If you are experiencing severe financial difficulty as a result of Covid-19 and unable to make payment of deferred customs duties and import VAT due on 15 April 2020, you can contact HMRC for approval to enter into an extended period to make full or partial payment without having your guarantee called upon. The arrangement will not suspend your deferment account.  

The account holder should contact the Duty Deferment Office by: 

Registered account holders will need to provide an explanation of how Covid-19 has impacted their business finances. 

You will be able to use your deferment account during the extended payment period agreed unless you default on a subsequent payment in that period, in which case HMRC may consider suspending the account. The outstanding payment will not affect your duty deferment limit so you will not need to increase your guarantee to cover the outstanding payment. Where HMRC agree to an extended payment period, interest will not be charged on the outstanding payments provided they are paid in full by the agreed date. 

If you do not use duty deferment account 

Businesses who pay cash or an equivalent on importation and are facing severe financial difficulties as a direct result of Covid-19 can contact HMRC to request an extension to the payment deadline at the time the payment is due. You will be asked to provide an explanation of how Covid-19 has impacted on your business finances. HMRC will consider this request and decide whether to agree an additional time to pay. The decision will be taken on a case-by-case basis and could be refused. 

*A duty deferment account lets you make one payment a month through Direct Debit instead of paying for individual consignments.  You can apply for a duty deferment account if you’re an importer or someone who represents importers and have an authorised guarantee in place. 

For further information contact Naveen Sahney, VAT + Customs Duties Adviser, nsahney@garbutt-elliott.co.uk