BADA seminar
Marco Forgione and Mark Dodgson of BADA hosting the Q&A session with HMRC attendants at the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington.

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The event, Importing antiques & works of art: How TA can help you, addressed an area that many dealers continue to find baffling.

In some cases during an hour-long Q&A session, the HMRC attendant Lynne Goodwin’s advice was in direct contrast to that which dealers had received from their local offices. 

“There’s no excuse for it,” said Goodwin after a dealer outlined her struggles with a local office.

Goodwin added that it was a period of change for HMRC with the closure of 137 local offices and only 13 regional offices to take their place.

Temporary Admissions Timeline

Temporary Admissions refers to a mechanism which was developed for helping dealers and auctioneers with import VAT. It allows for goods to be imported but, when they are re-exported within a given time-period, they incur no liability to Import VAT.

  • Prior to June 1995 no import VAT was charged on antiques and works of art.
  • From June 1995 import VAT was charged at 2.5%.
  • From July 1999 import VAT doubled to 5%

During the latter period, the art and antiques trade worked with HM Customs & Excise to sweeten the pill and to discuss interaction of Import VAT with the Margin Scheme. This eventually led to the Temporary Admissions scheme.

The phrase “Import” here refers to goods imported from countries outside the European Union (goods imported from countries like France or Germany are not subject to Import VAT and do not  benefit from TA).

However, Britain leaves the EU ‘imports’ could include goods arriving from other EU states, depending on the negotiated settlement and Britain’s access to the single market.