It should be so easy. International clients (ie currently those non-EU) send in their windows, we process them and then return them. But sadly, to date things have not been so straight forward. Joseph, our friend in the US, sent us some windows from his UK built Vancouver 28. They were insured for a paltry £500 and we applied a commodity code since recommended by HMRC for Aluminium windows. This is notionally zero rated. We were expecting some VAT (on the £500 insurance value - a catch 22), but knew at worst we could claim this back as part of the quarterly return. Unknown to us, the HMRC has overlaid what was described as 'A20 duty' (Trump tax) which doubled the duty/VAT take, but more importantly was impossible to reclaim. Not good, annoyingly so.
So started our journey to obtain a so called Inward Processing Relief (IPR) number from HMRC, a journey continually frustrated by the inability of HMRC (as well as others) to provide simple guidance on how to complete the necessary form (SP3). The only way to find out what is in the form is to step through online, but then you're faced with questions using terminology only a customs expert could comprehend. You can only progress to the next page if it accepts your answers and you can't save an application part way through. So to get an overview you end up forced to enter rubbish just to get to the end... Crazy. Oh and when you speak to the HMRC 'helpline' they just read from a script and after 5 mins inform you that your time allocation is up and 'please call again'. When you call back they are busy... It just sucks!
However, we persevered and with the help of case officer Ellen at HMRC (a star in an otherwise empty sky) I'm pleased to report we now have our IPR number.
This means that when using UPS (our carrier partner), along with the IPR number we can now bring windows in as temporary imports in the knowledge that no duty or VAT will be charged.
So, irrespective of post-Brexit changes, our valued customers can be safe in sending windows in without incurring VAT or duty for us to recharge as a consequence.