top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Applying for ‘returned goods relief’ to take items from France to UK

We take a look at the steps to take if you want to take belongings with you when moving countries

According to the guidelines, you may ‘claim’ Returned Goods Relief simply by going through a green (nothing to declare) border channel, or by making an oral declaration. Pic: Gary Perkin / Shutterstock

Reader question: A recent article said there is ‘Returned Goods Relief’ to provide exemption from British VAT and duty on items taken into France and then returned. I want to repatriate items from my house in France to London. They were mostly brought over 15 years ago. How do I obtain this?  M.S.

This, where applicable, ensures that UK customs does not treat the items as being ordinary French-bought ones which could attract UK VAT and, in some cases, import duty.

It relates to items exported less than three years ago, but official rules state that this can be waived (on request) for the personal property of a UK resident that is being returned for personal use. This includes furnishings and equipment for use within your household. 

This is separate to the ‘personal allowance’ values that travellers may bring with them tax-free, and is also different from the rules applying when moving back to the UK from France, referred to as ‘transfer of residence relief’.

According to the guidelines, you may ‘claim’ Returned Goods Relief simply by going through a green (nothing to declare) border channel, or by making an oral declaration. 

Under some circumstances,  however, it may be necessary to fill out paperwork, which can be found on the link above. If you need to enter commodity codes for items, they can be found here.

To avoid issues, we suggest asking HMRC directly for advice on your individual case.

It could be that they will allow you to use the rule without paperwork, based on your own declaration of the facts.

Note that, in future, people wanting to bring in gardening or DIY equipment and other larger items to a French second home for temporary use that might attract the attention of French customs could look into the French process of a carnet ATA temporary import document. 

This provides exemption from French import VAT and duty on items not being brought in permanently (see here).

Related articles

What are post-Brexit rules for moving items from a French house to UK?

Recap of post-Brexit rules for bringing items into France from the UK

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now