Postponed VAT accounting
Since 1 January 2021, businesses registered for VAT have been able to account for import VAT on their VAT return, often referred to as postponed VAT accounting. For most businesses, this means that they can declare and recover import VAT on the same VAT return. The normal VAT recovery rules regarding any VAT that can be reclaimed apply.
This applies to all customs declarations that require businesses to account for import VAT, including supplementary declarations, except when HMRC have notified a business otherwise.
These rules save businesses from having to pay import VAT (at the port of entry) and to recover at a later date. This offers cashflow benefits for affected businesses. HMRC has confirmed that the postponed VAT accounting rules are to remain in place permanently.
Businesses are able to account for import VAT on imports into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) from anywhere outside the UK. Businesses in Northern Ireland can use the postponed VAT accounting for goods imported from outside the UK and EU. The VAT rules for the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and the EU have not changed and remain subject to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
VAT registered businesses do not need any specific approval from HMRC in order to account for import VAT on their VAT return.