Before you begin importing fitness equipment from Germany or France for commercial purposes, there are a few things you should be aware of. Also, if your UK company has been importing from the EU, Brexit has resulted in a few adjustments to import and export procedures that took effect from January 2021. Here’s all you need to know about importing gym equipment from the EU to the UK.

Getting Started

To prepare your business for import, you will need to obtain a UK EORI number. EORI numbers for importing to England, Wales, and Scotland begin with GB, whereas those for Northern Ireland begin with XI. If your company already has an EU EORI number, you can import to Northern Ireland but not to Great Britain.

Before ordering your equipment, confirm that the company providing it has the necessary export declarations, permits, and certificates to export to the United Kingdom. You will also need to get VAT registered to be eligible for a VAT refund later on.

Commodity Codes and VAT

Commodity Codes
Commodity codes are ten-digit numbers used to classify goods for import and export. You need the right commodity code to fill in declarations, check licenses and restrictions, and pay duty and VAT.

The commodity codes for importing fitness equipment begin from code 9506:

  • Exercising equipment with adjustable resistance mechanisms is under code 9506911000 and is subject to a 20% VAT.
  • Equipment without resistance mechanisms falls under code 9506919000 with a VAT of 20%
    Other sporting equipment (for exercise and fitness, wrestling, gymnastics, and so on) falls under code 95069990 and is VAT exempt (0%)

Because Great Britain and Northern Ireland have trade agreements with the EU, goods coming from Europe are eligible to a tariff preference (i.e. 0% import duty rate) in both territories of the United Kingdom. To receive this preferential rate, you’ll need to prove that your fitness equipment complies with the rules of origin.
To calculate the total VAT payable, you’ll need to provide:

  • Date of import
  • Part of UK the goods are going to
  • Country the goods are coming from
  • Customs value of the goods – there are precise rules on how to calculate this
  • Costs of shipping up to the UK border
  • Cost of insurance up to the UK border

The VAT for importing gym equipment from EU to UK is 20% of the customs value, including freight and insurance costs. VAT registered businesses can claim back any VAT paid on imported goods. For that, you’ll need to provide your import VAT Certificate (C79).

Import Declarations

You need to declare your fitness equipment if it is going into Great Britain. However, for equipment going to Northern Ireland, you won’t be asked for an import declaration.

To complete an import declaration by yourself, you’ll need to pay for specialist software that can access the CHIEF system. Therefore, it is advisable to let your freight forwarder take care of filling and submitting the import declarations for your goods.

Because gym equipment does not fall under the category of “controlled goods,” your carrier has the option of submitting a full declaration, a simplified declaration, or a delayed declaration.up to six months later.

A full declaration includes:

  • A customs procedure code
  • A commodity code
  • A declaration unique consignment reference number
  • The departure point and destination
  • The consignee and consignor
  • The type, amount and packaging of the goods
  • The transport methods and costs
  • The currencies and valuation methods
  • The certificates and licences

If your business is established in the UK and you want to speed up the customs process, your freight forwarder can make a simplified declaration for you. A simplified declaration requires:

  • An EORI number
  • HMRC authorisation
  • Special computer software that communicates with CHIEF or the CDS to submit supplementary declarations
  • CHIEF badge confirmation
  • HMRC software testing
  • An account for paying duty and VAT

You will need to pay all duty before your goods can be released. Therefore, when your declaration is accepted, HMRC will tell you how much you owe so that you can pay the duty.

After importing fitness equipment, it’s best to keep records of all paperwork involved in the process for four years.

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To import gym equipment into the UK, you’ll need to work with a freight forwarder specialising in speedy, cost-effective delivery throughout Europe and the UK. Barrington Freight provides a low-cost freight forwarding option with a team dedicated to providing a professional and dependable service every time. Get started now by visiting Barrington at the Bowden Terminal in Basildon, Essex, near the M25. Or you can call us on: 01268 525 444