Reader question: A. recent article says there is a “Returned Goods Relief” to provide relief from UK VAT and duty on items imported into France and then returned. I want to repatriate objects from my house in France to London. They were mostly brought over 15 years ago. How do I get this? MRS
This, where applicable, ensures that UK customs do not treat the items as ordinary UK purchased items which could incur UK VAT and in some cases import duty.
It concerns articles exported less than three years ago, but official rules status that this can be waived (on request) for personal property of a UK resident which is returned for personal use. This includes furniture and equipment to be used within your household.
This is separate from the ‘personal deduction’ values which travelers can bring with them tax-free, and is also different from the rules applicable when returning to the UK from France, known as ‘residence transfer deduction’.
According to the guidelines, you can “claim” relief from returned goods simply by going through a green border channel (nothing to declare) or by making an oral declaration.
In certain circumstances, however, it may be necessary to complete documents, which can be found at the link above. If you need to enter commodity codes for items, they can be found here.
To avoid problems, we suggest ask HMRC directly for advice on your individual case.
They may allow you to use the paperless rule, based on your own statement of facts.
It should be noted that in the future, people wishing to bring into a French second home gardening or DIY equipment and other bulkier items for temporary use likely to attract the attention of French customs could look into the French process of a Temporary Import Document ATA Carnet.
This provides for exemption from French import VAT and duties on items that are not permanently imported (see here).
What are the post-Brexit rules for moving items from a French home to the UK?
Summary of post-Brexit rules for importing items into France from the UK