VAT and Excise Paperwork
The movement of goods between EU (European Union) Member States and countries outside of the EU, usually referred to as Third Countries requires your business to complete the appropriate paperwork. VAT and excise duty that may be attached to the goods you are moving has to be properly accounted for, and any taxes due paid in full. It is important with international trade to understand the tax that your goods may attract. Excise duty in particular must be carefully tracked to ensure the right levels of excise duty are attached to your goods. HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) have vast amounts of detailed information on their website about the excise tax and VAT paperwork.
VAT PaperworkAll businesses that move goods that have VAT attached to them must ensure their VAT records include details of the goods they are importing. If your business will trade more than £260,000 worth of VAT goods with any other EU Member State, you must also complete the Intrastat form.
Your VAT tax return is the main document you must submit when VAT goods are bought into the UK. The paperwork can be vastly simplified if you use the electronic VAT tax return forms you can access online. More details about this system are available on the HMRC website. Registration is completely free.
All goods that are usually liable for VAT must be accounted for on your VAT tax form. This includes any goods that are zero-rated when they are exported to a country outside of the EU. Note that VAT goods that you import but that have a value of less than £18, do not have to be recorded on your VAT paperwork.
Excise Tax PaperworkYour business must complete all the appropriate paperwork for any excise consignments of goods that move into the UK from outside of the EU, or between EU Member States. In most cases your goods will move between tax warehouses. Each consignment must travel with an AAD (Accompanying Administrative Document). The AAD contains basic information about your consignment including the origin of the goods, the details of the financial security your business has to ensure the excise duty can be paid and a certificate of receipt.
Note that if your business is handling excise goods that have already been released into the open market (called free circulation) of the country that dispatched them to you, must travel with an SAAD (Simplified Accompanying Administrative Document). The SAAD applies unless your business is distance selling over the Internet. If this is the case, special distance selling regulations apply about the paperwork that should accompany your excise goods, and the tax that may have to be paid.
More information about the AAD and SAAD can be obtained on the European Commission website. Details about excise goods and the distance selling regulations are on the HMRC website. You can also contact the HMRC national helpline on: 0845 010 9000 that can also help your business obtain the AAD and SAAD forms.
Importing excise goods from outside of the EU will also require an SAD (Single Administrative Document) also known as form C88 to be completed for each consignment. You can read more about import procedures and the paperwork that your business must complete in the HMRC Notice 501.
If your business will be operating or using an excise warehouse you must also submit a W8 internal accompanying document that covers the storage of tobacco and alcohol. These returns must be completed on a monthly basis. HMRC should have supplied your business with W1 forms. If not, contact them as you will need to complete this form.