Controls on Export

An export to the United Kingdom will involve completion of the export customs procedure with the Irish Revenue and completion of the corresponding import procedure with United Kingdom revenue (HMRC). As mentioned separately, temporary simplifications may be available on the UK side.

Customs obligations arise for each export and each import. Because of the risk issues from the respective revenue authorities involved, the controls in relation to exports are lighter than those in relation to imports.

The rationale for controls on exports may not be immediately apparent. However, controls on exports are part of all customs procedures worldwide. The rationale includes

  • to ensure export licensing requirements are met where applicable
  • to provide information to assist VAT export verification
  • to confirm that only valid community transit documents are authorised (in the case of transit through the territory
  • to provide details for overseas trade statistics
  • to prevent unauthorised return of duty-free/ VAT zero-rated goods to the home market
  • in the context of common agricultural policy subsidies and controls
  • animal health and safety

Making Declarations

It is possible to make a singe combined exit summary declaration and export declaration.

Traders may make declarations and undertake customs procedures themselves. They may use agents or logistics providers to make the declarations on their behalf. I As with import declarations, some  liasing with the carrier is required where the declarations are made by the trader.

Special software is necessary to communicate with the revenue authorities’ systems. Certain messages and notices can be completed through the Revenue online (ROS)  but the principal declarations require further software. Revenue publishes technical requirements for use by software developers.

Regardless of whether a trader undertakes customs returns itself or through a transport/logistics provider or customs brokers or agents, it retains responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided in the returns made. It will remain liable in a Revenue audit for  under-declarations non-declarations and misreporting.

Third parties undertaking customs controls may do so as agents on behalf of the trader or made themselves hold the relevant customs procedure and have the requisite responsibilities. In the latter case, they would require guarantees  from the trader.

Third Party Providers

Customs agents and customs brokers provide a range of services from advisory and strategic decisions and customs advice on particular issues to declarations and the provision of the full range of customs services requirements.

Where, as is commonly the case, traders use external transport and distribution service providers, those providers  commonly also provide customs export or import declaration services.Much of the same key information including in particular the classification, timing and tracking of movements is assembled digitised and used as part of transport and logistics service, is required in the context of customs declarations..

Logistics firms may provide a range of services from advisory to comprising a full-scale complete integrated multinational transport and distribution provider.

Freight forwarder provide a range of similar services which focus principally on the arrangement of the movements and distribution of goods. Many providers now  offer real-time tracking of goods. The range of services offered by providers varies significantly from agency  arrangement to the provision of  transport and distribution service as principal.


Imports, exporters, transport/ logistics firms and freight forwarder may enjoy formal and informal simplifications for which they may qualify from Revenue on the basis of their trusted status.

Businesses who import and export, freight forwarders  transport  and logistics companies may be authorised economic operators for customs and or or safety and security. The former status focuses on risks and issues around duty payment. Some simplifications and reduced requirements may be available in that regard. The latter status focuses more on physical security and they require particular infrastructure at a premises. It may allow reduced requirements around these risks.

Traders logistic providers and intermediaries can qualify for formal simplifications under the EU rules which allow a simplified form of entry supplemented by more detailed forms of entry after month end. There is a formal simplification by which a business or transport/logistics intermediaries be qualified to undertake entries in their own books in lieu of certain of the customs return and entry requirements.

Export Declarations

Every export requires an exit summary declaration and an export declaration to Irish Revenue, notwithstanding that duties and levies rarely apply to export. Much of the same information is also required for the export declaration.

The initial entry and exit summary declaration requires reduced information necessary to assess the safety and security issues. A single export declaration may be made covering both the exit summary/safety security aspects and the customs aspects.

The predeparture declaration is referred to as EXS under the EU code. When it is validated by the customs office of export, a movement  reference number (MRN) is issued.

Export Declaration

The declaration requires  information in relation to

  • the exporter and consignee (their EORI numbers)
  • details of representatives
  • status of representative (agent or principal)
  • the goods in accordance with the exact classification code from the customs tariff
  • details of packages, packing lists et cetera
  • reference numbers when a summary or other earlier part declaration made
  • customs procedure to be used
  • valuation (including transport and delivery costs)
  • currency/exchange rate
  • country of destination
  • delivery terms (who is responsible for duty transport et cetera under the supply contract
  • mode of transport
  • transport e.g. truck registration or trailer ID
  • location of goods
  • office of exit

Supporting Documents

Supporting documents must also be held. This will include a commercial invoice and the transport document such as a CMR consignment note (road)) Bill of lading or other sea transport document or airwaybill. A packing list is required where applicable

Certain goods require licenses and authorisations and they must be available and furnished electronically. In relation to agricultural and food products, veterinary and Plant health certificates are required.

Risk Analysis

Revenue and customs authorities use the information declared for the purpose of risk assessment to consider whether to  permit the movement (green routing)  make a documentary check (orange routing) or make a physical check of the goods (red routing).

The customs office of export in this case, the Irish Revenue, undertakes risk analysis by automated computer process and issues clearance to exit in almost all cases. The exporter must receive notice of acceptance and approval from the EU office of exit.

The assessment is made by computer program analysis based on input from revenue authorities throughout Europe. The risk issues depend on the nature of the goods, the traders, the caarrier and the circumstances of the movement. These factors may  make a documentary or physical check more or less likely in the circumstances.

Apart from checks arising from risk factors based on the information returned, Revenue is obliged to make a certain amount of random checks for basic enforcement and confirmation purposes. There is the risk that the returns made may not be accurate or complete. There is the risk that consignments may include other undeclared or wrongly declared goods.

Exceptionally some issues require further clarification, so that a requirement for presentation arises. Licensing requirement may apply to the export of  particular types of goods, which must be held


The customs office of export undertakes a risk analysis on the basis of the full declaration and decides whether controls are necessary prior to export.

Where the goods are released for exports an appropriate message is sent to the exporter. Revenue mmy alternatively decide to perform additional risk analysis. The goods are released on the  condition that they exit d the territory of the EU The The carrier informs the customs office of exit which inform the customs office of export  if different from the office of exit.

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