The clause determines when a liability to import duty is incurred. This is a necessary part of establishing a stand-alone customs regime as both businesses and HMRC need to know the point at which any money is due. The clause sets out a framework for determining the point at which liability to import duty is incurred. The general rule for importers wishing to release their goods for free circulation—that is, to discharge all customs obligations—is that the liability is incurred when HMRC accepts their declaration. For example, if a business were importing electronic goods from east Asia and declared the goods for free circulation, the liability for import duty would arise when HMRC accepts that declaration.
Similarly, the general rule when importing something under the temporary admission or authorised use procedures is that liability is incurred when HMRC accepts the declaration, but at a reduced rate. However, to facilitate trade and support businesses, liability can be deferred. In cases where goods are declared for a transit procedure, inward processing or a storage procedure, liability does not occur at the point when HMRC accepts the declaration, although liability may arise at a later date. The clause also makes further provisions governing these situations, including the consequences for liability purposes of the incorrect usage of the special procedures or their breach. The clause makes it clear when liability to import duty is incurred.