Declaration Presentation and Release

Presentation to customs means that the goods have been presented to customs on import. A customs officer is notified the goods have been imported. In other cases, they may be deemed presented. Generally, goods must be declared within a specified time after the presentation.

HMRC may make regulations requiring customs declarations to be made. Failure or to make the declaration results in the goods being liable to forfeiture.

The person liable to pay import duty is generally the importer. This is the person in whose name a declaration is made. Where goods have not been declared liability falls on any person who is in possession or control of the goods. Liability may also attach to persons on whose behalf a declaration is made and in other deemed circumstances.  Goods which are not presented to customs and importation are liable to forfeiture.

In some cases, a declaration in advance of import is mandatory. They must thereafter be presented to customs within a set period usually 30 days.

The general forms of customs declaration will be in the electronic form prescribed by HMRC. Alternative forms may be permitted in specific cases including orally or by conduct where it is impractical to make declarations electronically e.g, personal luggage walking through the green channel.

There is provision for standard customs declarations in prescribed forms. There is provision for simplified declarations.

HMRC is required to determine whether the declaration is properly made and contains the requisite information. If it has been duly made and presented and the goods have been presented, they notify the declarant. This does not prejudice the right to make later enquiries verifications, etc.

HMRC is required to determine whether a declaration has been properly made as soon as possible. It may take steps to verify declaration. This may include verifying that compliance with conditions in a declaration has been met and that the person is entitled to make it etc.

If a customs officer believes there is an inaccuracy in  a declaration must notify the declarant, corrected declaration or direct a corrected declaration.

A person who has made a declaration may amend or withdraw it before  HMRC  takes steps to verify or indicate they intend to verify the declarations. There is a maximum period within which this may be permitted.

Goods declared to the free circulation procedure cease to be under control of HMRC when discharged. Goods are released from the procedure when the correct import duty is paid to HMRC on alternative arrangements such as a guarantee is put in place and accepted and HMRC notifies the discharge of the procedure.

Release to other Customs Procedures

The legislation provides for the obligation to declare  goods for a customs procedure on import. This may involve the payment of duty and the release of the goods into free circulations. It may involve entry of the goods into a particular procedure, with duty suspended.

Declarations can be made in relation to other customs procedures, even if already subject to one particular procedure. Goods may be not subjected to two procedures simultaneously. The first customs procedure must be discharged before they can enter the second procedure.

The  special customs procedures are broadly as follows.

Storage procedure allows goods to be kept on a premises approved by HMRC or in a free zone without incurring import duty.   HMRC specifies the requirements for storage procedure including

  • approval of premises and persons
  • admission and removal of goods
  • consumption of goods.

There are no free zones within the UK at present.

Transit  procedure allows goods to be moved to specified places while in the UK.

Inward processing procedure allows imported goods to undergo certain types of processing for a temporary period without incurring import duty. Duty  will apply if goods are subsequently declared to free circulation. If they are re-exported, no duties are payable.

The  authorised use procedure provides for s for importation for eligible end use, in particular, use of hydrocarbon oils for distillation procedure

Temporary admission procedure allows goods of a specified description used for a time in the UK before re-exportation to be relieved. This may include goods in the UK for use in an exhibition .

HMRC may make regulations regarding record keeping of goods subject to a procedure.

If goods are not discharged at the required time HMRC may give notice to a person who declared the goods and they will  be treated as if declared to free circulation. Goods may be discharged upon re-exportation. Liability to pay import duty arises on breach of any requirements.

Regulations may be made for changes in the nature of goods while subject to a special customs procedure. It may limit the application of special procedures. They may provide for the increase of the value of goods declared or a decrease taking account of things done during the procedure before or during the procedure.

Regulations may permit the use of equivalent domestic goods in  special procedures where  imported goods are intended to be declared. They allow the UK goods to be stored, used and processed instead of the imported goods.

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