Declarations and Import Procedures

The following procedures apply to the importation of goods into Ireland from Great Britain after the effective date of Brexit.

Before the movement of goods commences it is effectively necessary to have completed and have had accepted an export declaration on the UK side and to complete and have accepted an import declaration on the Irish side.An import and export declaration are required for each consignment. A consignment is a particular sale or movement between one Exporter and one importer.

There can be a single declaration covering a consignment comprising of multiple containers with up to 99 different categories of goods (commodity codes). Where there are multiple commodity code numbers entered (on box 5) the calculation of duties boxes is replicated for each category and must be completed accordingly.

As the declaration is per consignment there may be numerous declarations applicable to a single container or even a single pallet within a container where there is groupage, as is very commonly the case, especially with smaller-scale traders.

This basic principle can be very significant in affecting the cost of declarations and custom compliance generally. Of their nature, smaller-scale traders who buy from several or numerous sellers or who sell to several or numerous buyers will be required to undertake many more declarations than a large-scale trader who moves larger consignments to a smaller number of customers or buys from a small number of suppliers. Equally a group of companies might move a significant amount of stock from one state to the other, as a single consignment covered by a single declaration

In theory, goods are presented to customs on each occasion and cleared with duty being paid, where applicable. They then enter free circulation and can move anywhere in the EU as EU goods. They can be, alternatively, cleared to go into a process such as customs warehousing either in the port or an authorised warehouse inland. A further process of declaring them to free circulation may take place at a later stage when duty is paid, and they are removed from the controls of a customs warehouse.

Electronic Filing

Over the last 30 years, the customs environment has changed radically,  so that all customs returns are now be made electronically. Paper is only used in exceptional cases where the system breaks down. The use of electronic filing means that the imputing of the data into the various boxes and cells is much more intuitive than was formerly the case. The relevant underlying codes can be seen in more meaningful terms. Drop-down menus of the particular entries commonly used by the trader or customs agents concerned greatly assist the process.

Where the contents of the return are repetitive as will be the case in particular where the returns are done inhouse the information from prior returns can be reused. Previous declarations can effectively be copied and changed as required before being returned to Revenue and / or HMRC.

A further important effect of electronic filing is that the assessment of the return is almost entirely electronic and automated in accordance with the revenue authority’s risk profiling and criteria. Therefore, instead of the entire process being manual and involving the assessment of returned by revenue personnel, now the initial acceptance of the declaration and the decision as to routing given is undertaken automatically and electronically.

Historically all goods were presented physically to revenue on both the export and import side. Now the physical presentation is required only when required. Once the duty is paid or accounted for and any applicable licences or special regulations ‘ conditions are complied with, the goods may be declared and “cleared” to free circulation and can move anywhere in the EU as EU goods

Customs Data

The import declaration contains much the same information as the corresponding export declaration together with further information relevant to the calculation and payment of duties. It gives prescribed information about the

About the parties involved and linking previous information

  • Consignor/Exporter
  • Consignee
  • Declarant/Representative

about the goods and the terms of sale

  • details of Packaging
  • verbal description of goods
  • Item number
  • Commodity Code
  • Country-of-origin code
  • Gross mass (kg)
  • Net mass (kg)
  • Loading lists
  • Items
  • Total packages
  • Value details
  • Delivery terms

about the movement/transportation

  • Country of dispatch/export
  • Country of destination
  • Office of entry
  • Identity and nationality of means of transport on arrival
  • Mode of transport at the border
  • Inland mode of transport
  • Container
  • Location of goods

about the valuation and calculation of duty

  • Currency and total amount invoiced
  • Exchange rate
  • Nature of transaction
  • Preference
  • Item price
  • Valuation method
  • Statistical value
  • Calculation of taxes
  • Deferred payment

about what is to be done what is requested

  • Procedure
  • Quota
  • Summary declaration/Previous document
  • Supplementary units
  • Additional information/Documents produced/Certificates and authorisations
  • Adjustment
  • Identification of warehouse
  • Place and date, signature and name of the declarant or his representative

Enter the place and date of the completion of the declaration

Some of the data requirements only arise where other fields have been completed or completed in a particular way and thereby made applicable.

Supporting Documents Required

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. Those documents (references) with others such as licences are referenced on Box 44 of the SAD. This enables Revenue or HMRC cross-check the underlying commercial documents with the return

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

This documentation must be held and will be requested in a certain percentage of cases when there is orange routing. It must be immediately available to be sent to Revenue by email or ROS, in order to avoid delay. This will be commonly just before the (e.g. ferry) arrives at the port. The return declares that the documents are held so if this is not the case, there are serious compliance and reputational consequences.

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