Sky Plus and other DVRs exempt from import tax

DVRs should not be subject to import duties, according to a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The decision settles a legal dispute between pay TV operator BSkyB and UK Revenue and Customs (HRMC). The HRMC had decided that a satellite decoder with integrated DVR should be classified as a recording device and therefore subject to 13.9% import duty. However, European judges have ruled that the primary function of the Sky+ set-top is to receive TV channels and therefore exempt from the levy.

The ECJ’s ruling said: “Decoders with a hard disk drive – such as the Sky+ box – must be classified, for customs purposes, as set-top boxes with a communication function and not as recording apparatus. As a result, they are exempt from customs duties instead of being subject to a rate of 13.9%.”

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