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Forms C79

Updated: Jan 12

Form C79 is issued by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to businesses importing goods into the UK. It details the Value Added Tax (VAT) paid on these imports and is crucial for VAT recovery. Given its importance in tax filing and potential implications on cash flow, accurate handling of this form is essential.


HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) provides the C79 form to VAT-registered firms in the UK. This form is a key document that specifies the Value Added Tax (VAT) paid on qualified purchases and expenses for a specific period, typically a quarter. The C79 form serves as the primary means for businesses to claim refunds on VAT incurred on eligible expenses, thereby allowing them to reduce their overall VAT liability and recover the VAT they have paid on their purchases.


Forms C79 are issued by HMRC. They not only affirm the input VAT amounts but also connect them to your business. HMRC issues the C79 with a reference to the EORI number that you need to have supplied to your shipping agent. This document confirms VAT paid as “Input VAT” and must be retained with the relevant purchase invoices.


Form C79


Import VAT Certificate

Form C79 also known as an Import VAT Certificate (C79) in the United Kingdom is a document issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that shows the amount of Value Added Tax (VAT) paid on goods imported into the country. It is used to provide evidence of the payment of VAT, which is necessary for reclaiming the tax. The C79 certificate (also known as the "import VAT certificate") is typically issued to the importer and serves as proof of the VAT paid on the imported goods. It is important to note that import VAT must be paid on most goods imported into the UK, regardless of whether the business is VAT registered or not.


As a business owner in the United Kingdom, it is important to be aware of the various taxes that apply to your operations. One such tax is Value Added Tax (VAT), which must be paid on most goods imported into the country. To provide evidence of the payment of VAT, an import VAT certificate (C79) is issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).


The Evolution and Current Status of C79 Forms

Historically, C79 forms were issued in paper format and sent by post. However, since 1st October 2022, HMRC has ceased issuing C79 forms in the post. Currently, these forms are obtainable through the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) portal, the same platform used for the Postponed VAT Accounting (PVA). Businesses are required to log into the CDS monthly to download their C79 certificate. This change represents a significant shift in how businesses access and manage their VAT reclaim process, emphasizing the importance of adopting digital processes in tax administration.


Purpose and Benefits of the C79 Form

The C79 form enables businesses to reclaim VAT on eligible expenses, thus reducing their overall VAT liabilities. This form provides a detailed breakdown of the VAT paid, including the VAT registration number, the period covered, and the total amount of VAT paid on eligible purchases and expenses during the specified period. By reclaiming VAT through the C79 form, businesses can enjoy cost savings, improved cash flow, and compliance with VAT regulations, providing a competitive advantage in the marketplace.


Obtaining and Completing the C79 Form

VAT-registered businesses automatically receive a C79 form from HMRC for each VAT accounting period. It is important to note that businesses are not required to supply extra information or complete any sections of the C79 form, as it is a declaration of VAT paid for a specified period. However, it is critical to double-check the form for completeness and confirm that all applicable VAT has been included.


Claiming a VAT Refund Using the C79 Form

To claim a VAT refund using the C79 form, businesses should review the form for accuracy, identify the VAT paid on eligible purchases and expenses during the covered period, record the VAT amount as input tax in their VAT records, and include the VAT refund in the VAT return for the corresponding period. It's crucial to maintain accurate and up-to-date VAT records to support any VAT reclaims made using the C79 form.


Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) Number

An important aspect of the C79 form is its association with the Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. Delays can occur if the business has not correctly quoted its EORI number to its agent, which can prevent a C79 from being issued successfully and delay the recovery of input VAT. It is vital for businesses to accurately include their EORI number to ensure the smooth processing of their C79 form.


Why Do You Need An Import VAT Certificate (C79)?

Import VAT must be paid on most goods imported into the UK, regardless of whether the business is VAT registered or not. The C79 certificate acts as proof of the payment of VAT and is required for reclaiming the tax. It is an important document that must be kept on file by the importer as evidence of the VAT paid on the imported goods.


What Can Happen If You Don't Submit Import VAT Certificates (C79)

If an import VAT certificate (C79) is not submitted in the United Kingdom, it can result in various consequences for the business. Here are some of the potential consequences:

  1. Penalties and Interest Charges: If VAT is not paid on imported goods in a timely manner, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may impose penalties and interest charges on the outstanding tax amount.

  2. Reputational Damage: Failing to submit an import VAT certificate can also damage a business's reputation, as it may be seen as failing to comply with tax laws.

  3. Audit and Investigation: If HMRC suspects that VAT has not been paid on imported goods, it may conduct an audit or investigation to determine the accuracy of the VAT returns.

  4. Legal Action: In severe cases, HMRC may take legal action against a business for failing to submit an import VAT certificate and pay the VAT owed on imported goods.

Therefore, it is essential for businesses to submit import VAT certificates (C79) and pay the VAT owed on imported goods in a timely manner to avoid these potential consequences.


How to Obtain an Import VAT Certificate (C79)?

The C79 certificate is issued by HMRC and is typically provided to the importer when the VAT on the imported goods has been paid. It is important to ensure that the VAT is paid in a timely manner to avoid any penalties or additional charges.


Who Issues VAT Certificate (C79) From HMRC

The VAT certificate (C79 certificate) is issued by HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) in the UK. The certificate shows the amount of VAT that a business has been charged on its purchases and imports and the amount of VAT that it has paid to HMRC on its sales.


HMRC issues the C79 certificate to businesses on a regular basis, usually every month or every quarter, depending on the business's VAT reporting period. The certificate is sent to the business's registered address or can be accessed through the business's online HMRC account.


How to Get a Copy of the VAT Certificate (C79) From HMRC

To get a copy of your VAT certificate (also known as a C79 certificate) from HMRC in the UK, you can follow these steps:


  1. Log in to your HMRC online account or register for one if you do not already have an account. You will need to provide your VAT registration number and other personal information to set up an account.

  2. Once you are logged in, select the "VAT" option from the list of available services.

  3. Under the "VAT" section, you will see a link for "View your VAT certificate (C79)". Click on this link to view your certificate.

  4. If you need to print a copy of your certificate, you can do so by clicking on the "Print" button on the screen. You can also download a copy of the certificate in PDF format.

  5. If you are unable to access your certificate through your HMRC online account, you can contact the VAT Helpline on 0300 200 3700 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm) to request a copy. You will need to provide your VAT registration number and other personal information to verify your identity.


It is important to keep your VAT certificate safe and secure, as it contains important information about your VAT registration and transactions.


Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) Number

Delays will arise in which the commercial enterprise has no longer correctly quoted its EORI range to its agent. This will save you a C79 being issued successfully which might also in flip, postpone the restoration of that input VAT. Where corporations rely on the marketer's invoice figures on which to recover the VAT, they could mistakenly consist of responsibility amounts as enter VAT on their VAT returns. This will result in compliance errors, as responsibility can by no means be recovered on a VAT go-back, and the input VAT can handiest be claimed when supported via a C79. Where C79 Forms have been lost, it's miles possible to attain duplicates, however, this also delays recovery of the VAT paid from HMRC.



The import VAT certificate (C79) is an important document for businesses importing goods into the UK. It provides evidence of the payment of VAT and is necessary for reclaiming the tax. It is important to keep the C79 certificate on file and to ensure that the VAT on imported goods is paid in a timely manner. By understanding the importance of the C79 certificate, businesses can better manage their VAT obligations and stay compliant with UK tax laws.


How a Tax Accountant Can Help You with HMRC Forms C79 in the UK

Navigating the complexities of tax compliance can be challenging for businesses, especially when dealing with specific forms like HMRC’s Form C79 in the UK. This is where the expertise of a tax accountant becomes invaluable.


Role of a Tax Accountant in Managing C79 Forms


  1. Expert Guidance on VAT Compliance: Tax accountants possess in-depth knowledge of VAT regulations, including the specifics of C79 forms. They can guide businesses on the proper procedures and compliance requirements, ensuring that all VAT-related matters are handled correctly.

  2. Assistance with VAT Reclaims: The primary purpose of the C79 form is to facilitate VAT recovery on imported goods. A tax accountant can assist in accurately claiming this VAT back, a process that can significantly affect a business’s financial health.

  3. Ensuring Accurate Record-Keeping: Accurate documentation is crucial for VAT claims. Tax accountants help maintain meticulous records, including invoices and receipts, which are necessary for substantiating claims made on the C79 form.

  4. Navigating Changes in VAT Processes: With the transition of C79 forms to the digital Customs Declaration Service (CDS), tax accountants can provide the necessary guidance to navigate these digital platforms, ensuring seamless compliance and transition.

  5. Dealing with Complex Import Transactions: Import transactions can be complex, especially when different VAT rates and regulations come into play. Tax accountants can provide clarity and assistance in such scenarios, ensuring the correct VAT amounts are reported and reclaimed.

  6. Avoiding Penalties and Legal Issues: Incorrect handling of C79 forms can lead to penalties, legal issues, and audits by HMRC. A tax accountant helps avoid such pitfalls through expert advice and proper form management.

  7. Time and Resource Management: Managing tax obligations can be time-consuming. Tax accountants take over this burden, allowing business owners to focus on core business activities.

  8. Advisory on Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI): They ensure that businesses correctly use their EORI number in transactions, an essential element in the issuance of C79 forms.

  9. Handling Audits and Investigations: In cases where HMRC initiates audits or investigations related to VAT payments, a tax accountant can represent the business, handling queries and providing necessary documentation.

  10. Strategic Tax Planning: Beyond compliance, tax accountants offer strategic advice on tax planning, helping businesses optimize their tax positions in accordance with current laws and regulations.


The role of a tax accountant in managing HMRC Forms C79 is multifaceted and crucial for businesses in the UK. From ensuring compliance to strategic planning, their expertise not only aids in navigating the complexities of VAT but also contributes to the overall financial health and efficiency of the business. In the intricate landscape of tax regulations, having a knowledgeable tax accountant is an invaluable asset for any business dealing with imports and VAT recovery.



 Most Important FAQs about Form C79


Q1: How do I correct errors on a Form C79 if I find discrepancies in the VAT amounts? A: If you find discrepancies in the VAT amounts on your Form C79, you should contact HMRC directly. It's important to provide detailed information about the discrepancies and any relevant documentation to support your claim. HMRC will guide you through the process of correcting these errors.


Q2: Can I use Form C79 for VAT reclaims on services, or is it limited to goods only? A: Form C79 is specifically for reclaiming VAT paid on goods imported into the UK. It does not apply to services. For VAT reclaims on services, other processes and documentation are required, as outlined by HMRC.


Q3: Is there a deadline for claiming VAT refunds using Form C79?

A: Yes, there is a deadline for claiming VAT refunds using Form C79. Generally, you must claim your VAT refund within four years from the end of the VAT accounting period in which the import occurred. It's crucial to keep track of these deadlines to ensure you don't miss out on potential refunds.


Q4: How does Brexit impact the use of Form C79 for businesses importing goods from the EU?

A: Post-Brexit, the rules for importing goods from the EU have changed. Form C79 is still used to reclaim VAT on goods imported into the UK, but the specifics may vary depending on the new trade agreements and regulations. Businesses should stay informed about any Brexit-related changes that might affect VAT reclaims.


Q5: Can a business delegate the responsibility of managing Form C79 to a third party, like an accountant or a tax advisor?

A: Yes, a business can delegate the responsibility of managing Form C79 to a third party, such as an accountant or tax advisor. These professionals can ensure accurate handling of the form and compliance with VAT regulations, which can be particularly beneficial for businesses not well-versed in tax matters.


Q6: What should I do if I haven't received my Form C79?

A: If you haven't received your Form C79, you should first check your HMRC online account, as the form is now issued digitally. If it's not available there, contact HMRC for assistance.


Q7: Can I use a digital copy of Form C79 for my VAT records, or do I need a hard copy?

A: A digital copy of Form C79 is acceptable for VAT records. There's no need for a hard copy, but it's important to ensure that digital records are securely stored and easily accessible.


Q8: How do I link the VAT paid on imports shown on Form C79 to my VAT return?

A: The VAT paid on imports shown on Form C79 should be recorded as input tax in your VAT accounts. This amount is then included in your VAT return for the corresponding period.


Q9: Are there any specific goods that cannot have VAT reclaimed using Form C79? A: Generally, VAT can be reclaimed on most goods imported for business use. However, there are exceptions, such as certain restricted or exempt items. Check HMRC guidelines for specific details.


Q10: How does Form C79 work in conjunction with Postponed VAT Accounting (PVA)?

A: With PVA, you can account for import VAT on your VAT return rather than paying upfront. Form C79 still provides a record of the VAT paid, which is essential for your VAT return and reclaim process.


Q11: What are the common mistakes to avoid when using Form C79 for VAT reclaims?

A: Common mistakes include not linking the VAT correctly to imported goods, missing deadlines for VAT reclaims, and inaccuracies in VAT records. Ensure all information matches your import documentation.


Q12: Can I use Form C79 for imports made before registering for VAT?

A: No, you cannot use Form C79 for imports made before you were VAT registered. The form is only applicable for the period during which you are registered for VAT.


Q13: How do I ensure compliance when using Form C79 for VAT reclaims?

A: Ensure compliance by maintaining accurate records, correctly calculating VAT reclaims, and adhering to HMRC guidelines and deadlines. Regular audits and checks can help in this regard.


Q14: What happens if I lose my Form C79?

A: If you lose your Form C79, you can download a copy from your HMRC online account. It's important to keep a backup of your digital records to prevent such issues.


Q15: Can I use Form C79 for reclaiming VAT on personal imports?

A: No, Form C79 is only for business imports. VAT reclaims on personal imports follow a different process.


Q16: How long should I keep my Form C79 records?

A: You should keep your Form C79 records for at least six years, as HMRC may request to see past records for audits or investigations.


Q17: Is Form C79 applicable for imports from all countries?

A: Yes, Form C79 is applicable for imports from any country into the UK, as it records VAT paid on all imported goods.


Q18: Can I amend a Form C79 if my business details change?

A: No, you cannot amend a Form C79. If your business details change, notify HMRC, and the changes will be reflected in future forms.


Q19: How does Form C79 affect cash flow management for a business?

A: Form C79 can impact cash flow, as it allows for the reclaim of VAT paid on imports. Efficient management of the reclaim process can improve cash flow.


Q20: Are there any digital tools or software recommended for managing Form C79 effectively?

A: Many accounting software packages can help manage Form C79 and VAT reclaims. Look for software that integrates with HMRC's systems for seamless management.



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