Reply To: Import of wine from Italy

Trevor S

The only possibility I can think of is that whoever completed the customs documentation selected the “Postponed Import VAT Accounting” (PIVA) option – either without checking with you first, or at least without explaining the implications clearly. Otherwise (without having “duty deferment” arrangements in place with HMRC) either import VAT would have been paid by someone, or your wine wouldn’t have been released!

HMRC’s PIVA guidance is here: Essentially it allows goods to pass through customs without import VAT being charged, although duties are still charged at the border, which ties in with the paperwork you’ve received.

Monthly PIVA statements can then be downloaded from HMRC via the Government Gateway showing how much VAT should be paid (by including it in box 1 of the VAT return) and reclaimed (by including it in box 4). Assuming that you’re not already set up to be able to download these statements, you’ll need to follow these instructions:

Ultimately (assuming that the wine is for taxable business use) you don’t actually owe HMRC anything, because you would be able to reclaim the VAT on the same return that you pay it on.  But the figures from the PIVA statement should still be included in boxes 1 and 4.