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What is National Import Relief Unit?

National Import Reliefs Unit is a unit which operates under Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in order to control and assist local excise and inland Custom Offices to control imports from outside the European Union. It is a single national office with its office based in Northern Ireland. However, despite being the single national unit, it can exercise its control on imports which has below mentioned procedures and reliefs, such as:

  1. Inward Processing (IP) using a authorization by declaration;
  2. Community System of Duty Reliefs (CSDR);
  3. Outward Processing Relief (OPR) using a authorization by declaration;
  4. Returned Goods Relief (RGR)
  5. End Use using a authorization by declaration;
  6. Onward Supply Relief (OSR)

How Relief Under NIRU Can Be Claimed?

There are various ways by which relief on the import duty and other reliefs can be claimed. Some of them are listed as below:

How Relief Under NIRU Can Be Claimed?
  1. Inward Processing: Inward Processing, also called as IP, is a process which facilitates processing of goods into other goods by suspending the payment of duty at the time of import itself. This is mainly applicable for the traders who import goods for repair on a regular basis. However, for those, who do not import goods for repair on regular basis, a prior authorization may not be required to bring their products inside European Union territory. When import duty is suspended at the time of import, goods meant for repair or processing can be repaired or processed and can then be re-exported outside the European Union territory or as per Article 85 of the Union Customs Code, they are also authorized to be circulated within European Union at the lower cost as compared to the cost of the raw material which was imported.

    The goods which are imported under Inward Processing procedure need to have Import Entry acceptance by HMRC which in other words also means that the acceptance of the import entry by HMRC authorize goods to be imported under IP procedure. All the goods which are being imported under IP procedure need to have a prior authorization to use the same which could either be full pre-approved authorizations in case of regular importers or simplified authorizations and this process of getting the authorization at the time of import is called Authorization by Declaration, which is supervised by NIRU. Working of Inward Processing is as below:

    1. A declaration is made by the importer at the time of import using the relevant Customs Procedure Code i.e. CPC 51 00 0001 and CPC 51 00 0003 whereas the CPC for re-export of the repaired or processed good is CPC 31 51 000.
    2. NIRU gives you time frame of 6 months to submit Bill of Discharge, also known as BOD3 which is considered as a proof that you have re-exported or circulated the processed or repaired goods well within the guidelines.
    3. In case you fail to submit the same within the time-frame, you will receive a reminder letter for the same and if you still stand as defaulter, you will end up paying all the balance payment.
  2. Outward Processing Relief: Outward Processing Relief, also called as OPR, is a customs procedure which allows you to pay customs duty only on the added value of the re-imported goods, rather than on the entire value of the goods. In case the goods which have been re-exported are found to be irreparable, then you have to pay VAT on the full value of the new good, which has replaced the old one, unless you have a warranty or guarantee copy saying the replacement to be free of charge. In case to obtain authorization by declaration for repair by completing forms namely CPCs 21 00 004, 21 41 B51 and 21 51 B51.
  3. Community System of Duty Reliefs: Community System of Duty Reliefs, also called as CSDR, provides relief from customs duty and VAT (in few cases) on certain range of goods which are imported only for re-circulation. A prior authorization from HMRC is required to claim the relief from NIRU.The goods on which CSDR can be applicable are listed as below:
    1. Goods meant for educational, scientific or cultural purpose;
    2. Goods which can encourage trade, such as: goods for test and commercial samples ;
    3. Goods for purposes such as awards, decorations or private goods in case of inheritance.
    4. Imports of goods for museums and galleries can only be made to the establishments which are already approved by NIRU.
  4. Returned Goods Relief: Returned Goods Relief, also called as RGR, is a procedure to provide relief on those goods which are re-exported to their original state after being in free circulated in the European Union and it requires use of specific import Customs Procedure Codes in order to claim the relief from NIRU because it is NIRU which operates and regulates RGR and gives advice on the same to the traders. However to claim the Returned Goods Relief, the goods in picture need to meet below mentioned criteria:
    1. Goods should be in free circulation in the European Union and no refund of duty or VAT was claimed at the export;
    2. Goods need to be re-exported within 3 years of original export.
    3. Goods should be in same state as they were at the time of original export.
    4. In case for the goods to qualify for VAT relief, the application for Returned Goods Relief on re-import needs to be made by the original exporter.
  5. End Use Using A Authorization By Declaration: Authorization by Declaration End Use is restricted only to certain industries like aircraft maintenance and shipbuilding which satisfy two criteria i.e. a) Occasional Import b) They are not locally authorized.

    Apart from these mandatory requirements, the importer needs to meet the below mentioned criteria as well in order to claim End Use Relief, such as:

    1. It must involve only UK customs;
    2. The goods should not be transferred to any other person, authorized or otherwise;
    3. The importer must be established in the EU;
    4. The importer must not use Customs Freight Simplified Procedures to enter the goods;
    5. End Use Authorization cannot be used for more than 3 times in a year.
    6. The goods should be prescribed for end use wherein end-use goods include the following:
      • Shipwork goods;
      • Aircraft and its parts;
      • Fish;
      • Cheese;
      • Casein, which is used in cheese industry;
      • Hrdrocarbon Oil;
      • Marine Propulsion Engines;
      • Military Equipment
    7. End Use Relief can be claimed at the time of import by filling up the form C88 and once the goods have been put to end use, you need to fill up the form BOD4 to NIRU for availing the claim.
  6. Onward Supply Relief: Onward Supply Relief, also called as OSR, is a relief which can be claimed only the traders who are VAT registered in UK and the main conditions to claim Onward Supply Relief are as below:
    1. In case the goods need to be processed, Onward Supply Relief cannot be claimed on the same.
    2. In the import entry which is made to NIRU, details of the consignee such as name, address and VAT registration number must be mentioned;
    3. In case the customers are already there for a particular good, onward supply relief cannot be claimed on those goods;
    4. The goods need to be re-imported to another state within one month of their import; and
    5. The goods should be imported in the course of their zero-rated supply to another taxable person in another member state.

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