Import customs process

Import customs process


There are four primary options when it comes to how to handle the customs process for imports from the EU. These are: Deferred Declarations, standard import procedure (full declaration), Simplified Declaration procedure, and Transit.

We suggest that you use the standard import procedure. Deferred and Simplified procedures quite simply attract greater administration, and whilst it defers the payment of duty for up to 6 months, it opens up room for potential issues at a later stage that are avoided when using standard import procedure.

Assuming that you have decided to use Ital Logistics as your Customs Intermediary, having completed a ‘Direct Representation’ letter, below is the procedure for a simple permanent export to the EU.

  • Beforehand, you should have checked that your EU supplier has done everything that they need to do to pass EU customs. This will include:
    • Holding an EU EORI number
    • Has any relevant export/specialist licenses/certificates required
    • Has organised export declaration in their country’s declarations system or will allow our partners to arrange
  • On receipt of your booking, our partners in the EU country will contact your supplier and obtain the necessary information to be able to verify the above
  • If our partners are to handle the customs process on your supplier’s behalf, they will obtain the Commercial Invoice(s) and Packing List(s) and all the necessary data to complete a customs entry
  • Our partners will then pass the same documentation, including the cleared EAD along with the unique Movement Reference Number (MRN)
  • If our partners are not handling your suppliers customs arrangements, they would still obtain a copy of the Commercial Invoice(s) and Packing list(s), and provide the cleared EAD and its MRN
  • We would then enter the data into our system, submit this via API to CustomsPro for review and submission to HMRC, hopefully obtaining clearance
  • Depending on your commodityt, there may be Customs Duty and Import VAT to pay. See section below VAT and Duty

There are other stages which we and our partners will perform, but in simple terms, the above outlines the process.

Just one more thing though, if you currently buy on EXW basis, consider changing this to FCA.

Import VAT & Duty

Customs Duty (if applicable) should be paid once the goods arrive in the UK. You can pay this directly to HMRC, via us (for a fee), or use a duty deferment Account which means you can delay payment. Guidance on how to set up a Duty Deferment Account can be found here.

With regards to Import VAT, HMRC has devised a new system to alleviate cash flow and enable speedier transit through customs. This is called Postponed VAT accounting. You do not need to apply for this, plus you can use it for imports from the rest of the world. Some common questions are answered by HMRC here.

Our standard import processes will be on the basis that you use Postponed VAT Accounting, although we would request your confirmation that you are doing so.

If you are not VAT registered, then Import VAT must be paid as the goods arrive in the UK, along with, where applicable, any Customs Duties.



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