The Northern Ireland Duty Reimbursement Scheme

Could you be due a duty refund?

If you’ve paid import duty on goods moving to Northern Ireland since Brexit, you could be due a refund. Read all about the Northern Ireland duty reimbursement scheme in this article.

When and why you could have incorrectly paid EU duty in Northern Ireland

Since Brexit, Northern Ireland has been caught in limbo between the territories of the European Union and the United Kingdom. The small nation shares the same island as the Republic of Ireland, which is part of the EU; however, Northern Ireland is part of the UK as per the Acts of Union.

Due to a history of political unrest between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, a hard border between the two nations was discouraged by both sides during the Brexit negotiations.

The solution was to create a customs border between Northern Ireland and Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales), and a unique piece of legislation called the Northern Ireland Protocol was implemented.

One of the concerns that this sea border couldn’t eliminate was the risk of goods moving from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland without being declared. Therefore, taxes have been levied on “at risk” goods moving into Northern Ireland from Britain.

This is why you could have paid import duty and VAT on goods entering Northern Ireland since January 2021, even if the goods were solely for use and sale within the United Kingdom.

Until now, there has been no way to circumnavigate this or reclaim duties. However, the Northern Ireland duty reimbursement scheme has recently been launched to address this as part of the Windsor Agreement.

How does the Northern Ireland duty reimbursement scheme work?

If you have paid or suspended EU duty on goods that have been imported into Northern Ireland since January 2021, you can apply for a reclaim if the goods have been used or sold within the UK.

To begin a claim, you need to have all the documentation relating to the import clearance (declaration, invoice, packing list, transport documents), and evidence that your claim meets one of  the following conditions:

  • Your goods were physically sold (or are intended for retail sale) in Northern Ireland.
  • The goods have been exported to Great Britain or another location outside of the EU.
  • Your goods have been consumed in Northern Ireland.
  • The imported goods have permanent installations in Northern Ireland.
  • Your goods have been destroyed in Northern Ireland.

Further evidence may be required for processed (consumed) goods, such as installing components into products sold outside of the EU, or if your goods are subject to EU trade defence measures.

Note that your entire shipment does not need to qualify for reclaim. A partial refund can still be applied if your goods went to different destinations.

When can you claim duty reimbursement in Northern Ireland?

If you have paid EU import duty on goods entering Northern Ireland between 1st January 2021 and 30th June 2023, you can apply for Northern Ireland duty reimbursement until 30th June 2026.

For goods that you have been notified of owed duty for since 30th June 2023, you have three years from the date of notification to submit your reclaim.

Note that goods imported into Ireland that did not enter free circulation due to suspension, such as those held in a bonded warehouse, should also be applied for so that they can be released.

Your customs clearance agent can also apply for a reclaim on your behalf.

Need help with applying for the Northern Ireland duty reimbursement scheme?

Customs Support is here to help. As experts in duty management throughout the EU and UK, we have a deep understanding of legislation within both territories.

Furthermore, we have been collaborating with authorities as they have worked to solve the Northern Ireland riddle, so we have the focal experience and knowledge required to manage your reclaims.

Contact us for help with applying for your Northern Ireland duty reimbursement today.