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Pay No Import Duties or VAT on Prototypes Imported for Testing

Pay No Import Duties or VAT on Prototypes Imported to the UK

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Does your company test a lot of prototypes throughout the year? Do you get them imported to the UK? Did you know you can get these parts shipped tax-and-duty-free? That is over 20% of added costs saved on each order. In this article, we cover:


  1. What You Can Claim Relief On
  2. When To Claim Relief
  3. How To Claim Relief
  4. After The Testing
  5. Left Over Goods
  6. Records You Must Keep

So What Exactly Can You Claim Relief On?

You can claim relief on Customs Duty and VAT on goods imported to the UK for any of the following purposes:

  • Testing
  • Analysis
  • Examination


Do note that you can’t claim relief if the testing is, or is part of, a sales promotion or publicity exercise.

When to Claim Relief

You should claim relief at the time of import. However, If you did not do this at the time, you may still be eligible for a late claim.

How to Claim Relief

To claim relief, you’ll need to label the imported prototypes:

  • For goods imported by freight, enter the code, ’40 00 C33,’ in box 37 of the declaration statement.
  • For goods imported by post, write ‘Goods for test – relief claimed’ clearly on the package and its accompanying customs declaration (CN22 or CN23).


Working with HLH Rapid — If you intend to claim relief, inform us as soon as you can, we’ll make a note of it and label your prototypes before shipping them out of our facility.

After the Testing is Over

After the testing and examinations end, you must contact the National Imports Reliefs Unit telling them:

  • Where you imported the goods
  • The number and date of the import declaration
  • The quantity of goods imported, their value and the date you received them
  • Details of the tests carried out, where the tests were carried out and where records are available for inspection
  • The date on which testing is finished
  • Details of any goods remaining and what you intend to do with them


If you are a regular user of this relief, you may be exempt from some of the steps above. Contact the National Imports Relief Unit here for more information.

What To Do With Left Over Prototypes

For any products left over as a result of not using them in the tests or those not completely used up (including waste and scrap), you have three options. You can:

  • Pay duty and VAT
  • Destroy them free of duty and VAT with permission from the National Imports Relief Unit
  • Convert them into waste and scrap and pay any duty and VAT that may be due

Records You Must Keep

Keeping records is a part of any good practice. In this case, it’s a condition. Be sure to keep the records listed below for a minimum of 4 years.

  • Any National Imports Relief Unit acknowledgement letters
  • Receipts
  • Bills
  • Invoices
  • Insurance documents
  • Evidence of disposal


For more information on how we ship your parts and prototypes, contact us at Ready to get your prototypes made today? Get a quote here.

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