C79s and reclaiming import VAT - how is it changing?

If you import goods into the UK, you should be familiar with import VAT.  But recent changes at HMRC have led to changes in how you re-claim VAT.

Previously when you imported goods into the UK you would either:  

  • Pay VAT to your freight operator and re-claim this on your VAT Return using a C79 certificate which HMRC  issues in the post.  
  • Declare “Postponed VAT Accounting” so you wouldn’t pay the VAT to your freight operator but simply declare the value based on your PVA certificate (accessed online) on your next return.  This was brought in with Brexit so not everyone uses it but it‘s the better option since it saves you paying VAT out then reclaiming when the certificate arrives in the post.   

 From 1st October 2022 HMRC will no longer issue C79s in the post.  You will now obtain them by logging into the Customs Declaration Service (CDS), the same portal as you would use for the PVA.    

 If you haven’t got a portal you can set one up here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-access-to-the-customs-declaration-service   

 It takes around 5 minutes to register for the CDS and you should receive confirmation of your registration within 24 hours. You will need to log into the CDS monthly to download the C79 certificate. If you’re setting up the portal, we’d recommend adopting PVA in its entirety as it saves you paying anything out that you’ll then have to reclaim, boosting your cashflow.     

For support or any other enquiries please contact Nicola Glass, our Bookkeeping Supervisor.