Following Brexit, the principles of export for processing, or repair which have long applied for non EU countries now apply to EU countries. This has made the process more significant for British business, with Germany and France popular destinations for specialist repair.
The core point we wish to make is that an ATA carnet can not be used for processing, or repair, as the goods will not be the same as when they left the UK, even if they superficially appear similar.
An ATA carnet by nature requires goods to be of equal value and more or less identical, on exit from and return to the UK.
When temporary export is needed for processing, or repair, there is still a system to avoid paying VAT and import duty for a second time. In the UK, this is known as Outward Processing Relief (OPR).
Act Before You Send
You need to apply for relief before the items are sent, retrospective claims are not normally possible. Your freight agent may do this for you, or at least help to ensure you have followed the correct procedure.
There can be other routes for occasional items but in most cases, customs form SP4 will need to be completed, online, or by post. Ensuring details are correct matters, from sub contractors, to customs codes.
Keeping customs informed is equally important. This may be because items are being returned in batches, rather than as they were sent, or repairs have been impossible and new items are sent instead.
In the latter instance, the likelihood is that you would become liable for VAT and duties, as if you purchased a new item.
OPR Scheme Principles
For duty and VAT relief to apply, the origin of items can matter and with Brexit, the date of purchase. In essence, where they applied, appropriate duties should have been paid at the time you acquired the items.
If you require machinery, or goods to be temporarily imported whilst yours are being repaired, this can not be included within the OPR application. You should use a different process called prior importation and provide a guarantee against duties.
Many countries have different customs procedures, or documentation for items entering under an OPR type scheme. You will need to meet these requirements, also check whether the goods you send are controlled and require a separate licence.
As with any goods leaving the UK, a reputable agent should be able to advise and the process is not too arduous. The economic advantages will in many cases make this worthwhile.
In a sense, your accepted OPR documentation is similar to a carnet for normal temporary exports. By all means visit our home page, for more information on using an ATA carnet and the benefits this can bring.