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Trade Tariff: Commodity codes, duty and VAT rates

When books and magazines are exported or imported queries often arise about commodity codes and VAT duties.

There is a very useful UK Government website www.trade-tariff.service.gov.uk that can better answer many of the queries you may have than this article can.  The key thing is that virtually all books and magazines are ZERO VAT RATED. If a shipper wants to add VAT at Customs Clearance they are probably using the wrong commodity code. Getting this right well ahead on paperwork is the best thing to do. There are exceptions to products that we might consider to be books but they are rare, Diaries the most common exception, see below for more information.

Books

The commodity code for most books is 4901100000 there is more information about book commodity codes at www.trade-tariff.service.gov.uk/trade-tariff/headings/4901 and there is information about the zero vat rate at www.trade-tariff.service.gov.uk/trade-tariff/commodities/4901100000

Regularly shipper/customs clearance agents try to add VAT when clearing imports. It really helps to get the correct commodity code on the paperwork for imports. If your customer clearance agents query this Zero VAT rate there is more information available; Rates of VAT on different goods - www.gov.uk/guidance/rates-of-vat-on-different-goods-and-services#printing-postage-publications---books-magazines-and-newspapers and Zero VAT Rating of Books and Printed Matter - www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-notice-70110-zero-rating-of-books-and-other-forms-of-printed-matter/vat-notice-70110-zero-rating-of-books-and-other-forms-of-printed-matter#meaning-of-the-group-3-items .
     

Magazines

The commodity code for most magazines is 4902900000 there is more information about magazine commodity codes at www.trade-tariff.service.gov.uk/trade-tariff/headings/4902 and there is information about the zero vat rate at www.trade-tariff.service.gov.uk/trade-tariff/commodities/4902900000

It is worth making a special note that when importing books or magazines into the United Kingom we would expect the VAT duty to be zero.  The links above give more detail of why we would not expect anything other than zero VAT duties.

Regularly shipper/customs clearence agents try to add VAT when clearing imports. It really helps to get the correct commodity code on the paperwork for imports. If your customer clearance agents query this Zero VAT rate there is more information available; Rates of VAT on different goods - www.gov.uk/guidance/rates-of-vat-on-different-goods-and-services#printing-postage-publications---books-magazines-and-newspapers and Zero VAT Rating of Books and Printed Matter - www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-notice-70110-zero-rating-of-books-and-other-forms-of-printed-matter/vat-notice-70110-zero-rating-of-books-and-other-forms-of-printed-matter#meaning-of-the-group-3-items .

 

Diaries

The commodity code for diaries is 4820105000 there is more information about the diaries commodity codes at www.trade-tariff.service.gov.uk/trade-tariff/commodities/4820105000 .  The VAT rate on importing Diaries is the standard rate for VAT unlike standard books it is NOT ZERO rated. When we sell Diaries in the UK we have to add VAT.