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Advice to Help Get Through Brexit

The following are  some hints and tips regarding the Brexit process.

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If you need more help then please contact us.

General Information

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Travelling to The EU from 1 January 2021

The Government has put together a “Visit Europe from 1 January 2021” webpage.

This can be found at:  https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021

This page tells you how to prepare if you’re planning on travelling to Europe from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

Current guidance at the 1 October 2020 is:

PASSPORT: CHECK IF YOU NEED TO RENEW

You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 6 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

If you do not renew your passport, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

You can check whether your passport is valid for the country you are visiting.

These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.

HEALTHCARE CHECK YOU’RE COVERED

You should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be valid up to 31 December 2020.

It’s particularly important you get travel insurance with the right cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition. This is because the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies do not.

ENTERING OTHER COUNTRIES

Border control: you may have to show your return ticket and money

At border control, you may need to:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • show you have enough money for your stay
  • use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing

VISAS FOR SHORT TRIPS: YOU WILL NEED ONE IF YOU’RE NOT A TOURIST

If you are a tourist, you will not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You will be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

Different rules will apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. If you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total.

You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel.

Check each country’s travel advice page for information on how to get a visa or permit.

Travel to Ireland will not change from 1 January 2021. You will also be able to work in Ireland in the same way as before.

Travel

There may be changes from 1 January 2021. What these are will depend on how you are travelling.

Driving

You may need extra documents from 1 January 2021.

You might need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some countries.

If you are taking your own vehicle, you might also need a ‘green card’ or valid proof of insurance and a GB sticker.

PET TRAVEL: ALLOW AT LEAST 4 MONTHS TO ARRANGE

From 1 January 2021 you will not be able to use the existing pet passport scheme. Instead you will need to follow a different process, which takes 4 months.

Follow the guidance about pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021 here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit


MOBILE ROAMING: FREE ROAMING MAY END

From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end.

Check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges you might get from 1 January 2021.

A new law means that you are protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing.

Once you reach £45, you need to opt in to spend more so that you can continue using the internet while you are abroad. Your phone operator will tell how you can do this.

OTHER CHANGES FROM 1 JANUARY

You will need to declare cash of £10,000 or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you take it between the UK and any other country.

If you are a business you may need to make a customs declaration if you take goods with you to sell abroad or use for business.

The E Commerce Directive after the Transition Period

At the end of the transition period, the eCommerce Directive will no longer apply to the UK. You should begin to prepare for these changes now.

The following has been extracted from the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-ecommerce-directive-after-the-transition-period

Changes from 1 January 2021

Rules relating to online activities in European Economic Area (EEA) countries may newly apply to UK online service providers who operate in the EEA from 1 January 2021.

The eCommerce Directive currently allows EEA online service providers to operate in any EEA country, while only following relevant rules in the country in which they are established. This framework will no longer apply to UK providers as the UK will have left the EEA

You should consider whether your services are currently in scope of the Directive, and if so, ensure that you are compliant with relevant requirements in each EEA country you operate in.

Depending on the nature of your online services you may already comply with these requirements. This could mean that there are little or no immediate changes you need to make to be compliant from 1 January 2021.

You may also wish to seek legal advice.

The government intends to fully remove the eCommerce Directive’s Country of Origin principle from UK legislation, to bring EEA online service providers in scope of UK laws, which they were previously exempt from. As this principle is found in a number of pieces of legislation it will be removed at different points, when parliamentary time allows and as of 16 October no legislative changes have occurred.

The eCommerce Directive applies to “information society services.” These are defined as any service that is normally provided:

  • for payment, including indirect payment such as advertising revenue
  • ‘at a distance’ (where customers can use the service without the provider being present)
  • by electronic means, and
  • at the individual request of a recipient of the service

This covers the vast majority of online service providers, for example online retailers, video sharing sites, search tools, social media platforms and internet service providers.

The Directive refers to this as your ‘place of establishment’ and is the fixed establishment where you pursue your economic activity for an indefinite period of time. See paragraph (19) of the recitals to the Directive for further guidance:   https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:L:2000:178:FULL&from=EN

Check for new legal requirements

If you are established in the UK, you should check for any legal requirements in any EEA countries you operate in. The rules that you may need to start following are those that fall within the Directive’s ‘coordinated field’. This covers legal requirements in individual EEA states which apply to information society services, for example, rules relating to:

  • online information
  • online advertising
  • online shopping
  • online contracting

UK online service providers may also become subject to ‘prior authorisation’ schemes, such as licensing requirements, in EEA countries where they operate.

Recommend actions

We also recommend that you ensure that you have processes in place for ongoing compliance if individual EEA states change their requirements governing online activities and you consider legal or other professional advice ahead of the 1 January 2021.

Importing

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Importing Goods by Post from 1st January 2021

(FROM THE EU INTO GREAT BRITAIN) FROM 1 JANUARY 2021

The Government has issued guidance on preparing to import goods from the EU to Great Britain from 1 January 2021.

See:  https://www.gov.uk/prepare-to-import-to-great-britain-from-january-2021

The process for importing goods from the EU will change. Businesses in Great Britain need to complete the following actions to continue importing from EU countries from 1 January 2021.

Great Britain is England, Wales and Scotland. Guidance on moving goods into, out of and through Northern Ireland will be added to GOV.UK in the coming weeks.

The guidance covers:

NOTICE 144: TRADE IMPORTS BY POST HOW TO COMPLETE CUSTOMS DOCUMENTS 

This notice is for postal importers of trade consignments who have to make a declaration on a Single Administrative Document (SAD).

This notice is intended to give general guidance to postal importers of trade consignments for which a declaration (entry) on a SAD is required. Further information on the completion of SAD forms is contained in the Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom (the Tariff).

This notice is not the law and does not change the law.

IMPORT DECLARATION

All goods arriving in the United Kingdom by post from any country outside the EU must be declared to HMRC. In most cases, this means the sender making a Customs declaration on a form which is attached to the package. However, certain goods must be declared on a SAD – this is a UK and EU form used to legally declare imported goods to Customs also known as an import entry.

In the UK, the SAD is also known as Form C88. The specific version for postal imports is Form C88A.

WHEN IS A DECLARATION ON SAD REQUIRED?

A full import declaration on a SAD is required for all postal imports exceeding £750 (1,000 Euros) declared to home use and free circulation. For imports declared to one of the special procedures (that is, temporary admission, customs warehousing, inward processing and end use) a full customs declaration (SAD) is required to be submitted to CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) in some cases (including where an “authorisation by declaration” (formerly known as a “simplified” authorisation) is used. The submission of the declaration to CHIEF allows for the guarantee (which is new requirement under the Union Customs Code) to be taken where necessary. A SAD is also required for returned goods relief over £600.”

WHAT FORM DO I USE TO DECLARE (ENTER) TRADE IMPORTS BY POST? 

The SAD for postal imports is form C88A. You must use this when declaring your goods to HMRC. They will send you a copy to complete and return. Another form, C87 Notice of Arrival of Goods by Post also accompanies the SAD. This advises you that the goods have arrived in the UK but cannot be delivered until you complete and return the SAD form to HMRC. It also gives a Customs reference number associated with your package. Please quote this number if you need to speak to HMRC about your package.

Use one SAD for goods covered by each Commodity code. Additional forms can be obtained by contacting HMRC at the postal depot where your package is being held.

Guidance on completion of the SAD is covered on the webpage outlined above.

If you have a question about Excise or Customs Duty use the webpage above or:

Telephone: 0300 200 3700. 

The address for questions by post is:

HM Revenue and Customs
EEC
10th Floor SW
Alexander House
Victoria Avenue
Southend-on-Sea
Essex
SS99 1AA

APPLY TO IMPORT MULTIPLE LOW VALUE PARCELS ON ONE DECLARATION FROM JANUARY 1 2021

You can use the bulk import reduced data set to declare one or more low value parcels in a single import declaration when you import goods to Great Britain.

If you have free circulation procedure goods contained within one or more postal packets, you may be able to use this process where:

  • each postal packet is sent from a country or territory outside the UK to a recipient in Great Britain
  • at the time of import, each postal packet contains goods with a relief from import duty available to the recipient of the goods
  • the postal packets are imported in such manner as may be specified in a notice published by HMRC
  • the total value of each postal packet imported is £135 or less
  • the VAT for each postal packet is subject to UK supply VAT, rather than import VAT

A postal packet is where goods are contained in:

  • a letter
  • a parcel
  • a packet
  • another article transmissible by post

If you are already using low value bulking of imports or have used low value bulking of imports, you still may need to apply for authorisation for the bulk import reduced data set.

HMRC will check your records and tell you after 1 October 2020 if you need to apply for authorisation.

To become authorised to make these bulk declarations, you will need to:

  • be established in the UK
  • have a good customs compliance record, including VAT Returns and duty deferments
  • show how you’ll identify and report any errors found after you’ve submitted your final bulked declaration, where applicable
  • carry out declaration procedures to a professional standard
  • have procedures in place to make sure you do not import prohibited goods
  • have licences for any restricted goods
  • have procedures in place to manage customs declarations

You may also need to apply for import licences and certificates for some goods you import.

Applications advice can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-to-import-multiple-low-value-parcels-on-one-declaration-from-1-january-2021

After you have applied HMRC will send a letter telling you if your application has been successful. It will also set out the conditions of the authorisation, such as how you:

  • make declarations
  • keep records
  • tell HMRC about any issues or errors

You also will get an authorisation number that you can use on your declarations in the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system.

Once you are authorised, you must:

  • maintain complete and accurate records for 4 years for import and export purposes
  • maintain complete and accurate records for 6 years for VAT purposes
  • follow the conditions set out in the authorisation letter
  • inform HMRC about any changes to your information in your application
Importing Goods from the EU to GB from 1st January 2021

The process for importing goods from the EU will change. Businesses in Great Britain need to complete the following actions to continue importing from EU countries from 1 January 2021.

At the moment matters are very much “in progress” with HMRC compiling lists of customs agents and fast parcel operators to help businesses import goods post 1 January 2021. (See below for websites). 

DECLARING GOODS FROM 1 JANUARY 2021

From 1 January 2021, you will need to make customs declarations when you import goods from the EU. These rules currently apply to importing goods from the rest of the world, including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

You can make the declarations yourself or hire someone else such as a courier, freight forwarder or customs agent.

HIRING A PERSON OR BUSINESS TO DEAL WITH CUSTOMS FOR YOU

You can hire a person or business to deal with customs for you, such as:

  • freight forwarders
  • customs agents or brokers
  • fast parcel operators

What they can do for you (and who will be liable) depends on:

  • the services they provide
  • what you want them to do
  • the commercial agreement you have with them

From 1 January 2021 they will need to be established in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.

FREIGHT FORWARDERS

Freight forwarders move goods around the world for importers.

A freight forwarder will arrange clearing your goods through customs. They will have software to communicate with HMRC’s systems. You can find out how to use a freight forwarder on the British International Freight Association and Institute of Export websites.

 See: https://www.bifa.org/home

See: https://www.export.org.uk/

CUSTOMS AGENT OR BROKER 

Customs agents and brokers help your goods clear through customs. You can hire a customs agent or broker to act as a:

  • direct representative
  • indirect representative

You can search these out on the internet. 

Examples are: HansenMac:  https://hansenmac.com/

 Typically they will:

  • Check the classification and valuation of your goods, and making sure you use the right commodity codes
  • Liaise with government agencies and customs authorities on your behalf
  • Advise on any necessary licenses for import of restricted or hazardous goods
  • Prepare and submit documents which have to be filed to clear customs processes
  • Help arrange correct payment of import duties and VAT as necessary

See: https://smallbusiness.co.uk/customs-brokers-2544117/

Further Information can also be found at UK Import Services Ltd: https://www.ukimports.org/services/import/customs-clearance/customs-clearance-broker-agent-information.php

FAST PARCEL OPERATORS

Fast parcel operators transport documents, parcels and freight across the world in a specific time frame. They can deal with customs for you, as part of their delivery.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/international-trade-fast-parcel-operators

HMRC list of customs agents and fast parcel operators can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/list-of-customs-agents-and-fast-parcel-operators?utm_source=c531715c-739b-46aa-a269-5c5ece94f2e6&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=daily

See: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/919622/list-of-customs-agents-17-sep.csv/preview

See:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/919623/list-of-fast-parcel-operators-17-sep.csv/preview

Customs Declarations for Goods Into the UK

From 1 January 2021, if you are a UK-based business bringing or receiving goods from the EU, you must complete an import declaration to get your goods through customs.

You can do this yourself, but as completing a customs declaration can be complicated and you will need compatible software to do it, many smaller and medium sized importers typically use a specialist. Please see our guide entitled “Importing goods from the EU to Great Britain from 1 January 2021” if you are thinking of this approach.

For Government advice on using a specialist see:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/appoint-someone-to-deal-with-customs-on-your-behalf

HOW TO SUBMIT A CUSTOMS DECLARATION IF YOU ARE DOING IT YOURSELF

Most declarations are submitted electronically through Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. If you are going to do this yourself, rather than appoint an agent, you will need to:

  • apply for access to CHIEF
  • buy third party software that can submit declarations through CHIEF

To apply for CHIEF see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/import-and-export-request-for-chief-access-c1800

Use form C1800 to access Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) and give traders full contact details that need to be linked to their “badge”.

This form is interactive (one that you complete on screen) and you must use Adobe Reader to complete it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader here: https://get.adobe.com/reader/?loc=uk

 There are different rules for:

  • carrying merchandise in your baggage with a value less than £873
  • importing goods by post
  • importing multiple low value parcels on one declaration

Please see our guide on importing goods by post.

BRINGING MERCHANDISE TO THE UK IN YOUR BAGGAGE 

Merchandise in baggage are commercial goods (for trade or business use) where:

  • a commercial transport operator does not carry them for you
  • you have travelled to the UK carrying goods in your baggage

You can bring goods to the UK in your baggage, but you will need to make a declaration.

From the 1 January you may need to:

  • apply for an EORI number starting with GB at least 48 hours before travelling if your business does not have one already
  • work out the weight and value of your goods
  • check whether your goods are restricted goods
  • check whether your goods are alcohol, tobacco or fuel
  • obtain any licences or documents needed for importing
  • if you’re making your own declaration, software that works with CHIEF

To apply for an EORI number see: https://www.gov.uk/eori

Guidance on restricted goods can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/restricted-goods-merchandise-in-baggage


MAKING A DECLARATION

Goods you must declare in advance – you or your appointed customs agent must submit a full declaration before you travel to the UK and: 

  • their value is over £873
  • they weigh more than 1,000kg
  • they are excise goods
  • they need a licence
  • they are restricted goods
  • they are goods you’re putting into another process or claiming relief

You may submit your declaration no more than 5 days before you travel to the UK.

ARRIVING WITH GOODS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN DECLARED IN ADVANCE

If you arrive in the UK with goods that you have not declared in advance, you must go to the ‘Goods to Declare’ channel or the red point phone in the customs area. You must make a declaration and pay any duties and tax due to a Border Force officer.

GETTING DUTY AND VAT REFUNDS

You may be able to ask for a refund after you’ve made your declaration if:

  • you do not travel
  • your goods are lost or destroyed before they reach the UK
  • you make a mistake when you work out your duty

To get a refund, you must apply within:

  • 3 years of making the over payment of Customs Duty or import VAT
  • 12 months for duty you’ve paid on damaged or defective goods
  • 3 years if after making a declaration you did not actually travel

Find out how to claim a refund for Customs Duty and also use this process to claim back your import VAT if you are not registered for VAT here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bringing-merchandise-to-the-uk-in-your-baggage

If you are VAT registered, you must claim import VAT back on your VAT Return.

WHEN TO SUBMIT

You must normally submit a full declaration at the time the goods enter the UK unless you are putting them into temporary storage.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-a-full-import-declaration

It is a different process if you’re using simplified declarations procedures.

APPLY TO USE SIMPLIFIED DECLARATIONS FOR IMPORTS

To find out about the different simplified declarations for imports and what you need to do to get authorisation to use them, see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-simplified-declarations-for-imports

When you make a customs declaration on imports, you may be able to make a simplified declaration when your goods arrive at a UK port or airport.

You can enter the goods to free circulation and special procedures:

  • inward processing
  • outward processing
  • authorised use
  • temporary admission
  • storage such as customs warehousing

To check whether you can use the simplified declaration procedure see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-a-simplified-frontier-declaration

Exporting

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Exporting - Getting an EORI Number

From 1 January 2021 you’ll need an EORI number to move goods between the UK and the EU.

You can apply for your EORI number in advance. It can take up to a week to get one.

You will not usually need an EORI number if you only:

  • provide services
  • move goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland
  • If you use a post or parcel company they’ll tell you if you need an EORI number.

You will need an EU EORI number if your business will be making customs declarations or getting a customs decision in the EU. Get this from the customs authority in the EU country where you submit your first declaration or request your first decision.

IF YOU ALREADY HAVE AN EORI

From 1 January 2021 you’ll need an EORI number that starts with GB to move goods to or from the UK.

Check your EORI number. Apply for a new one if yours does not start with GB.

BEFORE YOU APPLY 

To apply you may need your:

  • VAT number and effective date of registration – these are on your VAT registration certificate
  • National Insurance number – if you’re an individual or a sole trader
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) 
  • Business start date and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code – these are in the Companies House register
  • Government Gateway user ID and password

If you need a Government Gateway user ID, use either:

  • the one for your business or organisation
  • your own if you’re applying as an individual

If you do not already have a user ID, you’ll be able to create one when you apply.

To apply for an EORI number see: https://www.gov.uk/eori?step-by-step-nav=1faad9b3-e5ef-47f6-a3ba-4715e7e4f263

Export Licences and Certificates from 1st January 2021

Licences, certificates and special rules for taking goods out of the UK from 1 January 2021. Note this guidance will apply if the UK and EU do not reach an agreement (“a deal”).

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/export-licences-and-certificates-from-1-january-2021?step-by-step-nav=1faad9b3-e5ef-47f6-a3ba-4715e7e4f263

There is specific guidance on exporting the following:

ANIMALS, PLANTS FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

  • live animals and animal products
  • live animals, semen and embryos under the Balai Directive
  • fish for human consumption
  • live fish and shellfish for aquaculture and ornamental purposes
  • endangered plant and animal species, and products made from them
  • plants and plant products
  • wood packaging
  • timber  

CHEMICALS AND WASTE 

  • ozone-depleting substances and fluorinated gas (F-gas)
  • nuclear-related items
  • waste

CONTROLLED GOODS 

Controlled goods – these include military items, dual-use items (items with both civil and military uses), firearms, and items that can be used for torture or capital punishment

SANCTIONS

There are different types of sanctions for trade, transport, finance and immigration.

Check if the goods you’re exporting will be controlled by UK sanctions from 1 January 2021. You may also not be allowed to export your goods to someone who is subject to financial sanctions.

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-sanctions-regimes-under-the-sanctions-act

Exporting - Marking, Labelling and Marketing Standards from 1st January 2021

The Government guidance on marking, labelling and marketing standards to import and export food, plant seeds and manufactured goods from 1 January 2021 can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/labelling-and-marketing-standards-from-1-january-2021?step-by-step-nav=1faad9b3-e5ef-47f6-a3ba-4715e7e4f263

You can check if the marking, labelling and marketing standards you use are changing from 1 January 2021.

The guidance covers:

Product markings

  • manufactured goods on the Great Britain market
  • manufactured goods on the EU market

Labelling standards

  • food and drink
  • organic food

Marketing standards

  • Food, animal products and hops
  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • poultry, meat
  • eggs
  • hatching eggs and chicks
  • hops and hops products

Plant seeds

  • plant reproductive material

The guidance was last updated on the 10 September and may be subject to changes before the 1 January 2021.

Exporting Excise Goods To The EU

From 1 January 2021, there will be changes to how you export and declare excise goods (alcohol, tobacco and certain oils). Exports of excise goods from the UK to the EU will be treated the same as exports to the rest of the world. This includes moving excise goods to a place of export in the UK.

There may be different rules in respect of Northern Ireland movements after transition. These will be published at a later date.

The Government guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/exporting-excise-goods-to-the-eu-from-1-january-2021

EXPORTING EXCISE DUTY PAID GOODS

From 1 January 2021 you will need to submit an electronic export declaration. If you are a business, you may be able to recover the excise duty on the exported goods by claiming excise duty drawback.

See: https://www.gov.uk/topic/business-tax/import-export#export-declarations


EXPORTING EXCISE DUTY SUSPENDED GOODS 

From 1 January 2021 you cannot use the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) to move excise duty suspended goods directly from the UK to the EU. If you move goods without following the relevant customs export procedures at the place they are exported from, you may be liable for excise duty and penalties. Your goods may also be seized.

If you raise a movement on EMCS to an EU member state 7 days before 1 January 2021, with a dispatch date on or after 1 January 2021, the movement will be rejected by EMCS and HMRC.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/customs-declarations-for-goods-taken-out-of-the-eu

MOVING EXCISE DUTY SUSPENDED GOODS TO THE PLACE OF EXPORT
FROM THE UK

You must use EMCS to move excise duty suspended goods from within the UK to the place they are being exported from.

You will need to either:

  • ensure the authorised warehousekeeper declares the movement on EMCS when the goods are held in excise duty suspension in their warehouse
  • appoint a registered consignor to move the goods or become a registered consignor – when the goods are being released from a customs control for re-export

See:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/importing-excise-goods-to-the-uk-from-the-eu-from-1-january-2021#reg-con

The authorised warehousekeeper or registered consignor must:

  • complete and submit an electronic administrative document (eAD) through EMCS before the movement takes place
  • get a unique Administrative Reference Code (ARC) for that specific movement (that EMCS generates)
  • complete a customs export declaration using the National Export System (NES) and enter the ARC in box 40
  • receive an ‘accepted for export’ notification on EMCS after the goods are cleared by customs – this should be generated if the ARC on EMCS matches the details in Box 40 of the customs export declaration
  • receive a ‘report of export’ to ensure the export is closed on EMCS

If the ARC does not match the customs export declaration within 30 days of the customs export declaration being submitted, the warehousekeeper or registered consignor will receive a ‘rejected for export’ notification to remind them that the movement is still open on EMCS. You will need to establish why this has happened and take corrective action.

Exporting Goods From GB To The EU

From 1 January 2021, you will need to make customs declarations when exporting goods to the EU. These rules currently apply to exporting goods to the rest of the world, including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. They may be subject to change and we will keep you up to date if they do.  

You can make the declarations yourself or hire someone else such as a courier, freight forwarder or customs agent.

HIRING A PERSON OR BUSINESS TO DEAL WITH CUSTOMS FOR YOU 

You can hire a person or business to deal with customs for you, such as:

  • freight forwarders
  • customs agents or brokers
  • fast parcel operators

What they can do for you (and who will be liable) depends on:

  • the services they provide
  • what you want them to do
  • the commercial agreement you have with them
  • they will need to be established in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.

FREIGHT FORWARDERS

Freight forwarders move goods around the world for exporters and importers.

A freight forwarder will arrange clearing your goods through customs. They will have software to communicate with HMRC’s systems. You can find out how to use a freight forwarder on the British International Freight Association and Institute of Export websites.

See: https://www.bifa.org/home

See: https://www.export.org.uk/

CUSTOMS AGENT OR BROKER 

Customs agents and brokers help your goods clear through customs and borders.

You can hire a customs agent or broker to act as a:

  • direct representative
  • indirect representative

You can search these out on the internet. 

Examples are: HansenMac: https://hansenmac.com/

Typically they will:

  • Check the classification and valuation of your goods, and make sure you use the right commodity codes
  • Liaise with government agencies and customs authorities on your behalf
  • Advise on any necessary licenses for export of restricted or hazardous goods
  • Prepare and submit documents which have to be filed to clear customs processes

See: https://smallbusiness.co.uk/customs-brokers-2544117/

Further information can also be found at UK Import Services Ltd: https://www.ukimports.org/services/import/customs-clearance/customs-clearance-broker-agent-information.php

FAST PARCEL OPERATORS

Fast parcel operators transport documents, parcels and freight across the world in a specific time frame. They can deal with customs for you, as part of their delivery.

They cannot act on your behalf without written instructions from you. The instruction must show whether they are acting for you directly or indirectly. HMRC will only ask for evidence of the authorisation if they need it.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/international-trade-fast-parcel-operators

Getting someone to act directly

You can hire a person or business to act in your name. You will be liable for:

  • keeping records
  • the accuracy of any information provided on your customs declarations
  • any Customs Duty or VAT due

You cannot ask someone to act directly if they are submitting your declarations using:

  • simplified customs procedures
  • entry in the declarant’s records

When acting directly, even if they have authorisation, they can only submit those types of declarations if you have authorisation.

Getting someone to act indirectly

You can get someone to act for you in their own name, this means they are:

  • equally responsible for making sure the information is accurate
  • jointly and severally liable for any duty or VAT

If they have authorisation, you can get an indirect agent to make declarations using:

  • simplified customs procedures
  • entry in the declarant’s records

You cannot ask someone to act indirectly if you are declaring goods for:

  • inward processing
  • outward processing
  • temporary admission
  • end-use relief
  • private customs warehousing

MAKING EXPORT DECLARATIONS YOURSELF

If you are a UK-based business sending goods outside of the UK and from the 1 January to the EU as well as the rest of the world, you must complete an export declaration to get your goods through customs.

Before you start you must also have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

See: https://www.gov.uk/eori

You must also have a Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) badge role (if you are using a freight forwarder you do not need to apply).

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/import-and-export-trade-request-for-chief-access-via-wex-channels-pa7

If you get Authorised Economic Operator Customs Simplifications status this may speed up the process of applying for the National Export System.

Check if Authorised Economic Operator status could benefit you: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/authorised-economic-operator-certification

SUBMITTING A DECLARATION 

Most declarations are submitted electronically using the National Export System. If you’re going to do this yourself, rather than appoint an agent, you will need to register for the National Export System.

See:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/export-declarations-and-the-national-export-system-export-procedures

You must use the National Export System to make export declarations to customs.

You can use the system to send declarations through:

  • web
  • email
  • XML
  • Community Systems Providers

Registering for web declarations

To make your declaration through the web, you need a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a user ID, you can create one the first time you register.

See:  https://secure.hmce.gov.uk/ecom/login/index.html?

Registering for email declarations

To make your declaration by sending an email, you need a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a user ID, you can create one the first time you register. If you choose this method you’ll also need:

  • a CHIEF-compatible software package (EDIFACT)
  • an SMTP (standard) email connection

Email cannot be used for common agricultural policy declarations.

Registering for XML declarations

To make your declaration by XML declaration, you need a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a user ID, you can create one the first time you register. If you choose this method you’ll also need:

  • a CHIEF-compatible software package (EDIFACT), including an XML wrapper
  • an HTTPS internet connection (this is a more secure connection than HTTP)

COMMUNITY SYSTEM PROVIDERS

Community Systems Providers run the major inventory-controlled ports around the UK. You can access the export system indirectly through a Community Systems Provider using your own software or software provided by an independent software company.

Freight forwarders buy annual badges to their systems and charge exporters a fee for entering goods for export on their behalf. Customs do not charge for use of their systems and any charges are set by the freight forwarders direct.

See: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/800274/Trade_commercial_contacts.pdf

Please note: Full guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/prepare-to-export-from-great-britain-from-january-2021. It could be subject to change before the 1 January 2021.

Useful UK Guidance and Resources

Below are some website links to information, training, grants and other useful trade related Brexit material.

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