Customs warehousing

Persons interested in customs warehousing

You might be interested in this article if you:

  • want to be authorised to operate a customs warehouse (as the warehousekeeper) or
  • want to store goods in a customs warehouse (as a depositor).

The advantages of customs warehousing

Customs warehousing is particularly useful if you:

(a) want to delay paying import duty and/or VAT on your stocks of imported goods

(b) want to delay having a customs treatment applied to imported goods

(c) want to re-export non-Community goods (in which case import duty and/or VAT may not be payable at all)

(d) have difficulty at the time of import in meeting particular conditions (such as certain import licensing requirements)

(e) want to discharge another customs procedure (such as IPR) without physically exporting the goods or

(f) want to use a customs warehouse for co-storage of goods subject to another customs procedure (such as free circulation, IPR, PCC).

How to benefit from customs warehousing

There are different ways to benefit from the customs warehousing procedure with varying conditions and requirements. You should use this information to help you decide whether or not the use of customs warehousing has a part to play in your operations, in particular:

(a) if your operations are processing based with little need for storage, then another customs procedure may be more appropriate (such as Inward Processing Relief (IPR))

(b) if you want to benefit from customs warehousing but not have the responsibilities of a warehousekeeper, you may choose to be a depositor in a public warehouse

(c) if you want to be authorised for a customs warehouse, what type is most suitable for your business

(d) whether or not you can satisfy the requirements for authorisation and what type of authorisation is required

(e) whether you want to make declarations using simplified procedures for entry to and removals from customs warehousing 

(f) what records you need as an authorised warehousekeeper 

(g) how to enter goods for the customs warehousing procedure and especially the responsibilities of a depositor 

(h) requirements when goods are received at the warehouse 

(i) what forms of handling are allowed on warehoused goods and the requirements for temporary removals 

(j) how other kinds of goods can be stored with customs warehousing goods in your authorised premises or storage facility 

(k) use of the transfer system to other customs warehouses 

(l) how to remove goods from customs warehousing 

(m) if your goods are liable to excise duties, you should also consider applying for an excise warehouse approval for your premises;  and

(n) if your goods include certain specified goods, are you able to provide the appropriate guarantee for their movement within the customs warehousing arrangements.

Definition of a customs warehouse

A customs warehouse can either be a defined location (such as premises or place) or an inventory system authorised by HMRC for storing non-Community goods, that are:

  • chargeable with import duty and/or VAT or
  • otherwise not in free circulation.

Depending on the circumstances, a defined location can be the whole of a building, a small compartment in a building, an open site, a silo or a storage tank.

Public and private customs warehouses

A customs warehouse can be either a public or a private warehouse.

A public warehouse is authorised for use by warehousekeepers whose main business is the storage of goods deposited by other traders (depositors).

A private warehouse is for the storage of goods deposited by an individual trader authorised as the warehousekeeper. The warehousekeeper need not necessarily own the goods but must be the depositor.

Please read the articles below for further information or contact RKG Consulting.