On 31 December 2020, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) updated its guidance with respect to the ability to claim relief from import duty and value added tax (VAT) on goods imported into the United Kingdom in certain circumstances. In all cases, the guidance covers who can claim, how to claim and when to claim. The following situations are covered:
- disabled people: the import of goods that are specifically designed or adapted for use by disabled people, including blind or partially sighted people, for everyday activities is subject to relief;
- charities: the import of goods by bodies specializing in the welfare of needy people that have been provided free of charge by an organization that is not established in the United Kingdom is subject to relief;
- scientific instruments: the import of scientific instruments by organizations involved in non-commercial and non-profit activities in the field of education or scientific research is subject to relief;
- substances for chemical or biological research: the import of those substances from outside the European Union and United Kingdom is subject to relief. The guidance contains a list of substances eligible for relief and how to obtain approval to claim the relief;
- inherited goods: the import of those goods by a UK resident inheriting goods bequeathed to them in the will of a deceased person is subject to relief;
- decorations and awards: persons are eligible for relief provided that the decorations or awards have been given to the persons in a country outside the United Kingdom or that the eligible persons will be giving a decoration or award to persons in the United Kingdom; and
- blood grouping, tissue typing and therapeutic substances: those goods are subject to relief provided that they are liable to a positive rate of import duty or are products of a non-human origin.