I moved to the UK in 2011 and spent some years moving round different places and staying in flatshares, etc. Now eights years later I'm somewhat settled (have indefinite leave, living in a house) I would like to bring my possessions from overseas. Until now they've just been sitting in my parents' shed.

Under guidelines on Transfer of Residence (ToR) there is relief from Customs and VAT on personal possessions if they are brought in within 12 months of immigrating, or (section 4.5) "in exceptional circumstances if you can give us a reasonable explanation for the delay". The items I'm planning to bring are not large or expensive (no furniture), it's just books, clothes for special occasions, kitchenware, and similar. However they're my things and I'd like to have them in the UK.

  1. What are likely to be considered "exceptional circumstances" for exceeding the 12-month relief for bringing goods from outside the EU?
  2. What options are there other than applying for relief? Is going through a Customs assessment and paying assessed duty an affordable option for a private individual like myself? (If total cost, including handling fees, is more than 100% of the replacement value I would not consider that affordable).

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