End-Use Relief

Find out how to claim relief on duty for certain goods imported into the EU that are put to a specific use.

Goods imported into the EU are regulated by a range of measures aimed at giving EU and UK businesses an equal footing with businesses elsewhere in the world. One of these is End-Use Relief.

This allows a reduced or zero rate of customs duty on some goods when used for specific purposes and within a set time period. End-Use Relief does not apply to VAT or excise duties.

This guide is aimed at businesses importing these types of goods and:

  • explains where End-Use Relief applies and how to claim it
  • sets out the different types of authorisation available
  • gives guidance on using the Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom and other types of documentation needed for this relief
  • gives information on end-use for aviation and shipwork imports
  • tells you where to find further help

Eligible goods

End-Use Relief is available on certain goods imported into the EU that are to be put to a specific use within the customs territory of EU. To be eligible for End-Use Relief, products must meet defined criteria and be identified in the Trade Tariff. Find out how to use the Trade Tariff for end-use.

End-use goods include:

  • shipwork goods
  • aircraft and parts
  • hydrocarbon oil
  • marine propulsion engines
  • military equipment
  • fish
  • cheese
  • casein (used in the cheese industry)

You’ll need to check the Trade Tariff to find out if the goods you’re importing qualify for End-Use Relief. The footnotes in the Trade Tariff will tell you if your goods are eligible.

If you import these goods, you’ll be able to claim this relief if:

  • you’re authorised by HMRC
  • your goods are eligible for end-use
  • you put your goods to a prescribed use within a certain time

End-Use Relief means you pay either a reduced rate of import duty or none at all. It does not remove your obligation to pay any other importation charges to which your goods may be liable, including:

  • VAT
  • Excise Duty
  • Anti-Dumping Duty

How to claim End-Use Relief on imports

You’ll usually need to declare your goods at the time of importation by completing the Single Administrative Document (SAD) for import and export.

If you’re claiming End-Use Relief, you must give:

  • a description of your goods
  • a preference code
  • a customs procedure code
  • your end-use authorisation number

If you’re importing goods by post, make sure the package is marked with your:

  • end-use authorisation number
  • VAT number and commodity code (with the wording ‘goods eligible for End-Use Relief under commodity code…’)

For shipwork goods, you should replace the code with ‘goods eligible for nil rate of duty under shipwork end-use provisions’.

You can find out more about marking postal imports in sections 11.11 and 11.12 of Notice 3001: customs special procedures for the Union Customs Code.

How to use the Trade Tariff for end-use

You’ll need to check the Trade Tariff to find out if goods you plan to import qualify for End-Use Relief. The Trade Tariff is a 3 volume guide containing information on all aspects of trade procedure. It gives:

  • guidance on how to make an import entry
  • access to a full list of traded commodities and the codes used to determine rates of duty payable on them

You can also use the Trade Tariff to find commodity codes and other measures applying to imports and exports.

All imported goods need to be classified with a 10 digit commodity code. With this code, you’ll find a description of the goods and any prescribed use for them. The Trade Tariff tool has a full list of commodity codes.

You’ll also need to enter a customs preference code, customs procedure code, a document code and Additional Information (AI) statements, as well as your authorisation number to claim the relief.

Customs preference code

The customs preference code 3 digit number is used to identify if a reduction in or relief from customs duty applies and is entered in box 36 of the SAD.

You can get more information about preference codes in volume 3 of the Trade Tariff.

Customs procedure code

The customs procedure code is a 7 digit number used to identify the customs procedure that will apply to your goods.

You’ll need to use an appropriate customs procedure code when declaring your imported goods to make sure you can claim relief. This should be entered in box 37 of the SAD.

You’ll find a full list of customs procedure codes for imported goods in volume 3 of the Trade Tariff.

How to apply for end-use authorisation

You need to be authorised by HMRC to import or receive end-use goods. Authorisations are issued to the person importing or having the goods imported.

There are 4 types of authorisation:

  • end-use authorisation within the UK
  • end-use authorisation by declaration
  • authorisation if processing or movement involves more than one member state
  • retrospective authorisation

End-use authorisation within the UK

You’ll need to have end-use authorisation if you import or process, or intend to import or process, end-use goods on a regular basis using form SP1.

This type of authorisation can cover processing on your behalf by other companies, as long as all operations are solely in the UK.

You have to apply before importing and should name the other parties who’ll import or process goods under your authorisation in box 1b of the application form.

As the authorisation holder, you’ll be responsible for duty and associated charges for all goods entered to the authorisation including those imported by named processors on your behalf.

Once you’ve completed the SP1, send it to the address shown on the form. You’ll then receive an end-use authorisation number and letter.

End-use authorisation by declaration

Make this type of application if you intend to import goods on a one-off basis or up to 3 times in a calendar year for simple operations within the UK.

You cannot use simplified declaration procedures, for example Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP), with this authorisation. You also cannot use this type of authorisation for goods valued over £500,000.

The simplified end-use application is made within the C88 (SAD). When you complete the form, you’ll need to complete the relevant Statement Identifier Codes in box 44.

Multi State Authorisations

Multi State Authorisations are authorisations that are valid in more than one member state. They can apply to:

  • Temporary Admission
  • end-use
  • Inward Processing
  • Outward Processing
  • customs warehousing

Economic Operators must use a European Union Gateway website to access the EU Central Service site to request an authorisation.

Email: to get access to the website, include your:

  • name
  • contact email address
  • Economic Operator Registration and Identification scheme (EORI) number

HMRC will email you within 5 days to confirm you’ve been set up to access the European Union Gateway website, and give you the link to access it.

Retrospective authorisation

In exceptional circumstances, you can apply for retrospective authorisation by using form SP1. You’ll need to demonstrate a strong economic case if you do, and you cannot apply for retrospection more than once in 3 years.

As a general rule, you should always claim any form of duty relief on import.

End-use: other duty relief procedures and completion

It may be that you do not know at the time of import how your goods will be used. If you import them under another procedure and they qualify for end-use, you should still be able to claim relief.

Inward Processing and Outward Processing Relief

If you hold an Inward Processing (IP) and end-use authorisation, but you did not know the ultimate use of the goods at the time of entry, you can choose how to enter the goods. You can enter the goods that are to be processed to end-use, enter the goods to IP, or apportion entries between IP and end-use.

If they’re later exported outside the EU, you’ll be reimbursed under IP but not the end-use procedure. You can read more about IP authorisation in the Inward Processing guide.

You can re-import compensating products of Outward Processing Relief (OPR) to free circulation in the Union at a reduced rate of duty if they qualify for end-use after processing.

You’ll have to get authorisation before re-importation. See the Outward Processing Relief (OPR) guide to find out about OPR authorisations.

If you’re processing goods for an end-use trader in the UK, they need to hold a current end-use authorisation number. If they’re in another EU member state you’ll need to move them using commercial documents, for example invoice or transport documents, or shipping company manifests.

Tariff Quotas

Some Tariff Quotas only apply when the imported goods are put to a prescribed use. When claiming a Tariff Quota, you should enter your end-use authorisation number on the SAD, as well as your Tariff Quota Serial Number (TQSN).

Email: to get information on the TQSN.

Discharge of the end-use procedure

There are a number of ways the end-use procedure can be discharged. These are when your goods:

  • are put to a prescribed use – as listed in the Tariff in the customs territory of the EU – within the time limit given in your authorisation
  • are destroyed

Usually, the period during which goods need to be processed or put to a specific use (the throughput period) will not exceed 1 year after the goods enter free circulation, although air and shipping industry operators often need longer.

If you want to extend the throughput period, you should apply using form SP1no later than 2 months before authorisation is due to end.

Once you’ve discharged the goods, you must complete and submit a Bill of Discharge. Use:

  • form BOD2 for goods you imported with a full customs authorisation
  • form BOD4 for goods you imported using authorisation by declaration

You can find more information about the Bill of Discharge in section 6.3 of Notice 3001: customs special procedures for the Union Customs Code.

End-Use Relief for aircraft and aircraft parts

If your business operates in the civil aviation industry, you may be able to obtain duty relief on goods you import.

The definition of ‘civil aircraft’ covers all aircraft that have a civil registration, are leased by a civil airline or are used for recreational purposes. Gliders are excluded.

Relief from duty paid on importation is available for civil aircraft, ground flying trainers and parts in civil aircraft used in their:

  • construction
  • equipping
  • maintenance
  • repair
  • conversion

You’ll find the aircraft and parts covered by End-Use Relief listed in the Trade Tariff. They’ll be indicated by one of 3 footnotes:

  • ‘Entry under this subheading is subject to the conditions laid down in the relevant Community provisions. See also Volume 1 Part II paragraph 11.2.8.’
  • ‘Subject to end-use control – see Volume 1, Part 11.’
  • ‘For the construction, maintenance and repair of aircraft of an unladen weight exceeding 2000 kilograms and of ground flying trainers for civil use.’

The following goods are not eligible for relief:

  • test equipment
  • portable GPS equipment
  • ground handling and security equipment

Certain aircraft parts for civil and military aircraft may benefit from End-Use Relief. You can apply for authorisation using form SP1. You do not need to enter full details for civil aircraft or their parts, just put ‘civil aircraft and parts for civil aircraft’ in box 5.

Commission Regulation 1925/2017 abolishes the requirements of the end-use procedure in cases where a civil aircraft has been registered on the civil register of a member state or third country and declared to free circulation. This will apply to civil aircraft under commodity code subheadings:

  • 8802 11
  • 8802 12
  • 8802 20
  • 8802 30
  • 8802 40

Owners of single aircraft for private or business use can use the simplified procedure by completing the appropriate boxes in form C88 (SAD).

Airworthiness scheme

If you have a certificate of airworthiness for imported aircraft parts, you can present it with your import declaration SAD to suspend duty. The certificate must be issued by European aviation authorities.

Certificates exclude semi-manufactured parts or raw materials and damaged parts in need of repair.

Find out more about Airworthiness Certificates in section 7 of UK Trade Tariff: suspensions from Customs Duty.

Military equipment

End-Use Relief is available on certain weapons and military equipment when they’re used by, or on behalf of, the military forces of a member state.

Only the military force of the member state can import to this scheme. If you’re undertaking work for the Ministry of Defence, you should use IP.

End-Use Relief for shipwork goods

If your business operates in the shipwork sector or in the territorial waters, you might be able to import or receive certain goods at a reduced or nil rate of duty using End-Use Relief.

These goods must be put to a prescribed use in the customs territory of the EU within a specified time limit to qualify.

End-Use Relief for shipwork goods

Imported goods that are used in certain categories of ships, boats and other vessels qualify for End-Use Relief. These are goods that are used for:

  • construction
  • equipping
  • fitting out
  • maintenance
  • repair
  • conversion

End-Use Relief is also available on weaponry to be used on warships, provided it’s properly licensed. It’s only available for navigation equipment sold on a supply-and-fit basis.

All food and drink to be consumed on ships is excluded. Read Notice 69a to find out about duty-free ship stores provisions.

This relief does not extend to wind farms.

Items not covered by shipwork end-use include:

  • equipment for wind farms
  • remotely operated vehicles (unless they meet the conditions above and are necessary equipment for that ship)
  • navigation equipment sold on a supply only basis
  • items for ships stores such as toiletries, tobacco, cleaning products – but specialised paints varnishes, solvents and anti rust products are eligible
  • items of a personal nature for a particular member of crew

You can import raw materials used directly to manufacture or repair a ship, but not to manufacture into other products, even if that product is then used on an eligible vessel.

Details of the relief are set out in volume 1 of the Trade Tariff.

Goods for territorial waters

Goods destined for territorial waters within 12 nautical miles may also qualify for End-Use Relief. Qualifying goods listed in the Trade Tariff include:

  • goods used for work on temporary, or fixed drilling, or production platforms
  • pipes and cabling used to link fixed drilling or production platforms to the mainland
  • fuel needed for the operation of machines used to build, maintain or repair fixed drilling or production platforms

Excluded goods mainly include agricultural goods and foodstuffs.

Duty relief is no longer available if stored goods imported for use on drilling platforms are used in land-based activities.

If you regularly import shipwork goods, or goods used on the territorial waters, you should apply for authorisation using form SP1. You do not need to enter full details for each item. Enter ‘goods of any description for shipwork end-use’ in box 5.

End-use is complete either when goods are supplied as equipment on board a vessel, or when a vessel or platform is transferred back to its owner, or an authorised party, following repairs.

End-Use Relief for fish imports

There are 2 qualifying categories of fish. These are:

  • fish for processing
  • fish classified for use in the industrial manufacture of products under heading 1604 in the Tariff

End-Use Relief for cheese imports

End-use applies to cheese imports that are manufactured as processed cheese then used in the food processing industry.

Where to get help with End-Use Relief

The Trade Tariff

You’ll need to check the Trade Tariff to find out if your imports are eligible for End-Use Relief. You’ll also find details there about how to get a printed version.

You can contact the Tariff Classification Service and ask for their help in classifying up to 3 goods, but the advice you receive will not be legally binding.

You can self-classify your goods online at TARIC, the EU commodity code database. Search by code description on EU commodity code database.

Information about commodity codes for goods being moved within the EU is held at the Intrastat Classification Nomenclature.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

The UK Trade and Investment service is aimed at UK businesses that want to grow their business internationally. It also gives help to overseas businesses that want to locate in the UK.

If you import goods of a military nature, you may need to contact the BEISImport Licensing Branch. They issue import licences for specified goods on safety grounds.

You can call the BEIS Import Licensing Branch Helpline on Telephone: 01642 364 333.

For advice on import licences for food and agricultural products, contact either the:

  • Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Helpline on Telephone: 03459 335 577
  • Food Standards Agency Helpline on Telephone: 020 7276 8829

The Export Control Organisation has more information on exporting controlled goods.

You can also contact your trade association or local Chamber of Commerce for more advice. Find out how to contact your local Chamber of Commerce on the British Chambers of Commerce website.

How to get help

HMRC Central Tariff Quota Unit

Telephone: 01702 366 787

Food Standards Agency Imported Food Helpline

Telephone: 020 7276 8018

Defra Helpline

Telephone: 03459 33 55 77

HMRC Tariff Classification Service

Tariff Classification Service

National Import Reliefs Unit (NIRU) Helpline

Telephone: 0300 322 7065 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

Rural Payments Agency (RPA) Helpline

Telephone: 0345 603 7777

Buy a copy of the Trade Tariff

You can buy a copy from the Stationery Office (TSO).


Find more guidance and information about Trade Tariffs and import arrangements:

Published 6 August 2012
Last updated 12 February 2019 
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