§ Mr. Latham
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer which European Community countries require importers to pay value added tax on imports as soon as they land in the country to which they are sent; and whether he will consider a similar procedure in the United Kingdom, particularly with regard to imports from countries which themselves enforce this procedure against United Kingdom exports.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
Available information suggests that in principle Denmark, France, Germany, the Irish Republic and Italy require immediate payment of VAT on importation, but that in practice all countries except Italy allow approved importers to defer payment of VAT at importation under the general arrangements for deferred payment of customs duty. The United Kingdom, together with Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, operates a postponed accounting system linked to the periodic VAT return. The European Commission, in its proposal for a fourteenth Council directive on VAT, has recommended harmonisation of VAT import procedures within the Community on the basis of a postponed accounting system. There are no proposals to change our existing practice.