VAT – Trade between Ireland and Great Britain

Postponed accounting

Postponed accounting for VAT on import is now available to all VAT registered traders.

The Revenue Commissioners may exclude traders who do not fulfil certain conditions and requirements from using this scheme.

This scheme:

  • provides for postponed accounting for VAT on imports from non-EU countries
  • enables you to account for import VAT on your VAT return
  • allows you to reclaim VAT at the same time as it is declared in a return. This is subject to normal rules on deductibility.

The Revenue Commissioners may exclude traders who do not fulfil certain conditions and requirements from postponed accounting. The conditions and requirements which must be fulfilled will include compliance with tax and customs law. A business may also be required to satisfy Revenue of the viability of their business operations and their capacity to pay their VAT liabilities.

How to use postponed accounting

To use postponed accounting, an importer should enter a code on the import declaration. This code will allow the VAT on import liability to be accounted for by the importer in their VAT Return. The VAT Return will contain new boxes (fields) to capture this information. If an importer wishes to pay VAT at the time of importation, the relevant code should not be entered. You will find further information about how to use the scheme in Postponed accounting.


All persons registered for VAT and Customs and Excise (C and E) at 11:00pm on 31 December 2020 are automatically entitled to avail of Postponed Accounting. In order to use postponed accounting, you must enter certain codes on your import declarations. You will find further information in Payment of Import Duties for UK Imports.

Where a trader is excluded by Revenue from the postponed accounting scheme, the code should not be entered on the import declaration. In that case, VAT will have to be accounted for and paid on importation. Customs staff will ensure that any importer who has been excluded is not allowed to avail of the scheme.


Postponed Accounting will not apply to goods purchased from Northern Ireland. These purchases will be treated as EU intra-community acquisitions as at present.

The VAT Return and Annual Return of Trading Details (VAT RTD) will require additional entries relating to postponed accounting. The amended VAT Return and VAT RTD applies for all VAT periods or accounting periods commencing from 1 January 2021.

Next: Reclaiming VAT incurred in Great Britain