Import VAT | Payments And Certificates Are Changing

As you know, when it comes to VAT, we have a not-so-secret weapon in the shape of Michele Harris. As a former HMRC VAT inspector for over 20 years, there isn’t much our Michele doesn’t know about VAT. However, as we approach new territory with Brexit, things are changing.


VAT Import Procedures

It has been known for some time that the current system for recording import VAT which produces the C79 VAT certificate, Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF), is being replaced by Customs Declaration System (CDS).

The implementation of this system is going to coincide with Brexit and should enable VAT payments to HMRC at the point of importation to be delayed. In fact, most of our clients will never pay this VAT to HMRC as it will be accounted for under a reverse charge entry on their VAT return.

What’s the new system like?

HMRC have spent a considerable amount of time trying to make the new system user-friendly and it seems they have succeeded. Michele explains: “Although I cannot discuss the specific of the prototype, I believe that the system will make the process easier, not harder, for businesses.”

What are the benefits?











This change will bring significant benefits to businesses who import goods from Europe and the wider world in a post-Brexit environment. The certificates (C79 and VPA) will be available going back six months – so, it’s important to remember to login and download your certificates each month.

Next steps

If this is a change that is likely to impact your business and you’d like some advice, email our VAT Director Michele at

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