COVID-19: Import Reliefs

Are you importing medical supplies, equipment or protective garments during the Coronavirus outbreak? If so, the Guidance published by HMRC on 31 March will be of interest.

If you are a state organisation, or an authorised non-state body, you can get relief from import VAT and duty on imported goods for free circulation that are:

  • for distribution free of charge to those affected by, at risk from or involved in combating the coronavirus (COVID- 19)
  • to be made available free of charge to those affected by, at risk from or involved in combating the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, while remaining the property of the organisations importing them

The relief will apply to imports of protective equipment, other relevant medical devices or equipment for the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and applies until 31 July 2020

If you are from a non-state body, you can request authorisation by contacting the National Import Relief Unit (NIRU) by emailing for an application form.

You can use this link to find the COVID-19 Commodity Codes List (CSV, 6.01MB) you can claim relief on.

Goods imported into the UK for donation or onward sale to the NHS are also eligible for this relief and can be imported free of import duty and import VAT.

You can also claim relief if you’re a disaster-relief agency and are importing goods for free circulation to meet your needs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

If your goods are loaned, hired out or transferred to an organisation eligible for the relief, the relief will remain in place as long as the conditions continue to be met.

You must claim relief by completing an import declaration in CHIEF.

You can claim relief on your declaration in CHIEF by entering in:

  • box 37 the customs procedure code 40 00 C26
  • box 44, declaration/notes, enter document codes 9AID and/or 9AIV and status codes JP or UP as appropriate

N.B. This relief only applies to import duty and VAT.  Domestic supplies will be subject to their normal rate of VAT.


If you have any further queries regarding the above or you wish to speak to one of our advisors regarding this please call the Croner Taxwise Tax, VAT and Payroll advice line fill out the form to request a callback.

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VAT Advice Consultant
0844 892 2470

Sally is the Team Leader of the VAT Advice and Consultancy team at Croner Taxwise. She has worked in VAT since 1990, including eight years spent with HMRC, both as an Assurance and Enquiries Officer involved in presenting seminars and business education. Since joining private practice in 1999, Sally has specialised in providing VAT technical advice to a variety of clients, ranging from small one-man bands to large multi-national corporations, on the full range of VAT technical matters.

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