There are special procedures for importing goods into the UK. Following the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, the process for importing goods from the EU effectively mirrors the process for all other international destinations.
A number of easements had been put in place to help ensure a smooth transition for goods coming from the EU. This included a delay in the requirement for full customs declarations and controls until the end of this year.
From 1 January 2022, businesses will no longer be able to delay making import customs declarations under the Staged Customs Controls rules that have applied during 2021. This will mean that most businesses will have to make declarations and pay relevant tariffs at the point of import.
However, the introduction of some declarations has been deferred until 1 July 2022. These include:
– requirements for full safety and security declarations for all imports – new requirements for Export Health Certificates – requirements for Phytosanitary Certificates – physical checks on sanitary and phytosanitary goods at Border Control Posts
If you are moving goods to or from the UK, you need to ensure that you have all the correct procedures. This is a complex area, and you may need to consider the support of a customs agent to help with your import and/or export declarations. Customs declarations can be complicated and time-consuming to complete. Most businesses use a specialist such as a customs agent, broker, freight forwarder or fast parcel operator to submit import and export customs declarations on their behalf. HMRC publishes a regularly updated list of customs agents and short parcel operators who may help. The list is known as the register of customs agents and fast parcel operators. However, it should be noted that businesses on these lists are not vetted, approved or recommended by HMRC, and proper due diligence should be used in selecting an adviser from the list. HMRC’s guidance is clear that if your goods do not have the proper paperwork or if the information is incorrect or missing, your interests may be seized, and you may face delays and have to pay extra charges. If you are moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the free Trader Support Service can help guide you through the necessary processes. This service can also help businesses who import goods into Northern Ireland from the rest of the world. The use of this service is optional.
The UK has confirmed that it will neither accept nor seek any extension to the Brexit transition period which expires on 31 December 2020. The EU has formally accepted this position. With just over six months to go before the end of the transition period there remains a lot of work to be done if agreement is to be reached. This move could result in the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
From 1 January 2021, the UK will have autonomy to introduce its own approach to goods imported to GB from the EU. Recognising the impact of Coronavirus on businesses’ ability to prepare, and following the announcement in February that the UK would implement full border controls on imports coming into GB from the EU, the UK has taken the decision to introduce the new border controls in three stages ending 1 July 2021. This flexible and pragmatic approach will give industry extra time to make necessary arrangements.
The stages are:
From January 2021:
Traders importing standard goods, covering everything from clothes to electronics, will need to prepare for basic customs requirements, such as keeping sufficient records of imported goods, and will have up to six months to complete customs declarations. While tariffs will need to be paid on all imports, payments can be deferred until the customs declaration has been made. There will be checks on controlled goods like alcohol and tobacco. Businesses will need to consider how they account for VAT on imported goods. There will also be physical checks at the point of destination or other approved premises on all high risk live animals and plants.
From April 2021: All products of animal origin (POAO) – for example meat, pet food, honey, milk or egg products – and all regulated plants and plant products will also require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation.
From July 2021: Traders moving all goods will have to make declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant tariffs. Full Safety and Security declarations will be required, while for SPS commodities there will be an increase in physical checks and the taking of samples: checks for animals, plants and their products will now take place at GB Border Control Posts.