“And now, the end is near, and so we face, the final curtain” – Paul Anka.
Yes, we can’t get away from it, Brexit is happening and from 1st January 2021, unless something out of the ordinary happens, all movements of goods in and out of the EU will be subject to customs clearance, irrespective of whether or not a trade deal is reached.
Prior to the first potential Brexit cliff-edge moment back in March 2019, we made preparatory adjustments to our own bespoke software to enable entry of all relevant customs data and facilitate submission to our customs partners. As time has passed, with further investment, we are now linking our software via an API to CustomsPro, a new software system designed and operated by Channel Ports Limited, our selected customs partner for Ro-Ro movements. This will enable us to manage your customs requirements with greater efficiency.
What this means for you, our customers, is [hopefully] a ‘seamless‘ transition to a new regime that after an initial bedding in period will become second nature, just as it was ‘in the olden days’.
So, let’s begin…
Back in February 2019 we provided an initial overview based on our knowledge at the time. Since then, HMRC has changed course in some areas, withdrawing TSP (Transitional Simplified Procedures) for one, which was designed as a temporary easement for imports. And at that time there was no real clarity on how the export process would work. Thankfully though, the mist is starting to clear, despite the fact that the HMRC still has some areas to finalise and communicate. Nevertheless, the HMRC website is a useful resource, and at the foot of this page are several links which should be useful.
Declaring your Export or Import to Customs can be complicated, and whilst you can make your own declarations, unless you are fully versed with this, most businesses use the services of a Customs Intermediary to complete customs processes for you. Should you use a Customs Intermediary, you must provide a formal written authorisation, empowering them to act as a ‘direct’ or ‘indirect’ representative. Direct’ or ‘Indirect’ is explained here.
Export or Import, and whether or not you decide to use Ital Logistics as your Customs Intermediary, you will need an EORI number. HMRC ‘force fed’ EORI numbers on most businesses last year, but if you do not yet have one, full information on how to apply, and why, can be found here.
For Imports, you should register for Postponed VAT Accounting, and also consider obtaining a Duty Deferment Account. See our Import Customs Process page for further information.
If you decide that you want to use Ital Logistics as your Customs Intermediary, you will need to complete a ‘Direct representation’ form.
Furthermore, more precise information will need to be provided at the time of booking, just like now for non-EU movements, in order to be able to make accurate customs declarations. The below list is the minimum required, although additional information, such as licences for example, may be required for certain types of goods which may be under more strict control in either the UK or one of the remaining EU countries.
- Exporter and Importer details
- Description of goods
- Packaging details
- Weights, gross and net
- Sales Value and Currency for each type of goods
- Country of Origin
- EORI numbers (exporter and importer) **
- HS Classification Code(s) (Commodity Code)
- Customs Procedure Code
- You should also provide a Commercial Invoice and a Packing List
** If you, our client (principal), is a freight forwarder, then this must be the EORI number of the UK exporter or UK importer as relevant.
And now those extra links:
- To find HS Classification Codes, refer to https://www.trade-tariff.service.gov.uk/sections to locate the code, and then go to https://www.check-future-uk-trade-tariffs.service.gov.uk/tariff to clarify as the UK has reduced the tariff.
- To determine the Customs Procedure Code, refer to this link.
- To find out if your goods are subject further control, refer to these export and import links
- How to export goods from GB into the EU from January 2021
- How to import goods from the EU into GB from January 2021
With the above preamble out of the way, let’s get down to the process.