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Posted Wed, 15 May 2024 07:02:46 GMT by HarvestTheSun
Hi I intend going to Spain on a driving holiday in my old (but not yet a classic) car. If my car breaks down whilst I’m travelling in / through any of the European countries along the way, and I get it repaired, do I have to pay any import charges on the new (or used) parts or fitting costs when bringing the vehicle back to UK? I would endeavour to get like-for-like replacements and I doubt it would increase the value of the vehicle. Thank you for your help
Posted Fri, 17 May 2024 15:01:39 GMT by Customs oldtimer
Hi If you break down and need repairs that should be OK. If you are taking the car overseas specifically for repair or refurbishment then you may need to use more specific customs procedures.
Posted Tue, 21 May 2024 09:18:19 GMT by HarvestTheSun
Thank you for your response. However, I am looking for a definitive answer rather than an opinion. Can you site any references upon which you have based your opinion?
Posted Wed, 22 May 2024 17:54:15 GMT by Customs oldtimer
Ok It’s not opinion but decades of experience but I was keeping my response simple rather than getting too technical. Nor am I an HMRC employee Bringing goods back into the UK is technically subject to customs formalities but for most travellers this isnt obvious. HMRC call it declaration by conduct or an oral declaration ie walking or driving through a customs post or speaking with a customs officer. If you are bringing something back to the UK you are actually claiming returned goods relief. To obtain the relief goods must be returned within three years . Normal repairs are permitted but goods cannot have been exported with the intention of being repaired. HMRC guidance on this is here. If goods are exported with the intention of being repaired then duty and import VAT is due on the cost of those repairs . Specific procedures should be used. The EU will generally need a special import permit inward processing relief .
Posted Thu, 23 May 2024 07:58:29 GMT by HMRC Admin 20
Hi HarvestTheSun,
Customs charges on goods you export or take out of country for repair are covered in below guidance.
Using outward processing to process or repair your goods
Thank you.
Posted Thu, 23 May 2024 10:14:14 GMT by HarvestTheSun
Thanks, Customs Oldtimer, the first document you quoted contains exactly the wording I wanted to hear and I am exceedingly grateful for your time in finding it for me… “The goods must be re-imported in an unaltered state, apart from any work that may have been carried out to maintain the goods in working order, the goods cannot have been upgraded to increase their value.” I do have a follow-up question…. For example… a differential gear (component) within the axle (unit) fails and therefore the car becomes undriveable. Replacing the entire “unit” with one which is pre-owned would be the usual repair procedure because the cost of fitting a used “unit” would be less expensive than replacing the broken “component” - especially when taking into account the new gaskets / bearings / seals and labour required when reassembling. With the used axle fitted I would say that, when I returned to the UK, no charges should be due because I am “…maintaining the goods in working order”. I also assume that no declaration would be required. But… If I have the car repaired AND return with the original damaged “unit” (brought back for spares) would I have fees to pay? If so, upon which item / unit / component / labour would the fees be based? I appreciate this is “nit-picking” - but my car is rare, the parts are expensive and I don’t want to be on the wrong side of the law !!! Thanks very much

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