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Postponed Import VAT Accounting

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With effect from 1 January 2021, any imports from outside the UK, both from non-EU and EU exporters, can be subject to Postponed Import VAT Accounting (PIVA).

What are the benefits of PIVA?

The benefits of PIVA, is that the import VAT does not have to be paid, or deferred, on submission of the customs declaration and later reclaimed by the importer using the C79 import VAT certificate, but is instead entered direct to the importer’s VAT return, providing a cash flow benefit.

How to make custom declaration with PIVA

When making the customs declaration, the forwarder must select that PIVA will be used.  If the forwarder is using CHIEF, the following must be entered:

  • The importer’s EORI number starting with ‘GB’, which includes the VAT registration number in box 8 (Header Consignee), or, if applicable, the importer’s VAT registration number in box 44h (Registered Consignee)
  • ‘G’ as the method of payment in box 47e

If using CDS, the forwarder must enter the importer’s VAT registration number, at header level in data element 3/40.  VAT will be recorded against the importer’s EORI and will be at declaration level only.

Applying for PIVA

The importer must register online for PIVA using its Government Gateway account, which will allow access to an online monthly statement, available to download, showing all import VAT postponed in the previous month.  This import VAT should be included on the VAT return, as a payable and receivable. 

Note that, if the importer chooses to delay submission of the declaration under the six month window for submission from 1 January 2021, the import VAT will not be shown on the download, so must be estimated at date of import, using the records available for import, in order to be declared on the VAT return. 

Once the delayed declaration is made, the download will show the import VAT that was due and this can be used to adjust the estimate declared on the VAT return and account for any difference.

How does this apply to Northern Ireland?

For Northern Ireland, this applies to goods imported from outside the UK and EU only, as movements of goods between Northern Ireland and the EU, are still subject to dispatch and acquisition, for the next four years, under the Northern Ireland Protocol.

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