UK Customs Declaration form – Explanation
How to apply for Transfer of Residence tax relief when you want to move your home to the United Kingdom from outside the EU to the UK.
UK Customs Declaration – Explanation
Are you moving to the UK? Whether you are a citizen of the UK, the EU (for now) or an American citizen, there are certain rules that you will have to follow when you transfer your residence to the UK.
You will need to fill in a form on the internet, the Transfer of Residence or ToR1 form. This form replaces several different forms that used to be in place for belongings, pets and vehicles. Now you fill in one form for all of these. You can find the updated forms on the HMRC website (the UK version of the IRS). The website contains all of the details. Some of it might be confusing, so we will try to help clear up some of the confusion.
To this form you will have to attach a copy of your UK passport if you are a citizen of the UK, or a copy of your UK visa. You might also be asked to show a contract for employment or something similar. You will be asked to supply a list or inventory of the things that you will be importing.
Most of SDC International Shipping’s customers will not be sending motor vehicles in their containers, as for the most part it is not possible to permanently import automobiles with the steering column on the left (outside of certified antiques that require specific permission). However, some of our clients have sent pleasure craft (called private vessels in their terminology), and those are also declared on this form now.
The vast majority of our UK relocation clients qualify for customs relief, meaning that they won’t have to pay import duties when they send a container full of their family’s personal effects and used household goods. To qualify for the exemption, you should have lived outside of the UK or any EU country for at least the last 12 consecutive months. If you have qualified for an exemption from import duties, than you are allowed to import goods within 12 months of coming to the live permanently in the UK. Goods that you import should have been in your possession for the past six months. Though not specifically stated, you should be able to send both an air shipment and a marine shipment.
What this means is that if you are moving to the UK, and you’re not sure where you going to live yet, we can keep your things in storage for several months. The storage facility can be at one of our warehouses in the United States, or we can send your cargo to a partner’s warehouse in the UK. There are certain advantages to each. If we send your things to the UK, it is a little more expensive, but you don’t have to worry about the 12 month window closing on you. Your goods would have already cleared customs and you can leave them in storage in the UK for as long as you like. And of course you will be able to get your things far more rapidly when you decide that you do want them. Please note that you need to supply a residential address for the UK.
If you have a specific schedule, say needing to take delivery of your goods at a known date within 12 months of your arrival in the UK, it will be better for you to let us store your things in one of our warehouses in the USA.
Even if you aren’t sending a shipment to the UK, you will need to fill in this form. You will later have to fill in a transfer of residence form. When you complete the process, you will be given information that you will need to fill in on further customs declarations.
The UK allows for the import of most things. In general, there are very few import restrictions. The only things that you can’t bring are things that are illegal in the UK, like illicit drugs, pepper spray, pornography, and offensive weapons.
If you are importing goods for commercial use, usually meaning raw materials or industry specific tools, they typically are not considered household goods. They may or may not be taxed, but they must be declared. From our experience clients who declare everything rarely have problems. These goods might be charged VAT. The current rate of VAT in the UK is 20%.
Please note that there is an additional tax relief available when you are returning goods to the UK. For instance you many have tools of professional trade that you took with you to the U.S. several years ago, like musical instruments and their equipment, for instance. If you are now moving back to the UK, these tools would be taxable.