From 1 January 2021, there will be changes to how you import and declare excise goods (alcohol, tobacco and certain oils).
New rules for January 2021
The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.
This page tells you what you’ll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.
You can also read about the transition period.
From 1 January 2021, imports of excise goods from the EU to the UK will be treated the same as imports from the rest of the world. This includes moving imported excise goods within the UK.
There may be different rules in respect of Northern Ireland movements after transition. These will be published at a later date.
Importing excise duty paid goods
From 1 January 2021, you’ll not be able to use the following to import excise duty paid goods into the UK:
- a Simplified Accompanying Administrative Document (SAAD)
- EU distance-selling arrangements
You’ll need to complete a customs declaration and use the relevant customs procedures when they arrive at the place they enter the UK.
Importing excise duty suspended goods
If your excise goods are dispatched from an EU member state from 1 January 2021, you must complete a customs declaration and use the relevant customs procedures when they arrive at the place they enter the UK.
Moving imported excise goods within the UK
You must use the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) to move excise duty suspended goods from the place they enter the UK to their final destination.
You’ll need to appoint a registered consignor to move the goods, or become a registered consignor.
The registered consignor must complete and submit an electronic administrative document (eAD) through EMCS before the movement takes place. This will generate a unique Administrative Reference Code (ARC) for that specific movement. The code must travel with the goods at all times.
You’ll need to supply the person accompanying the goods (for example, the driver of the vehicle transporting the goods) with a printed version of the eAD or any other commercial document which clearly states the ARC.
Once the goods are received and checked into the excise warehouse, the warehousekeeper receiving them (the consignee) will:
- confirm that the goods have arrived
- complete and submit a ‘report of receipt’
Become a registered consignor
If you want to become a registered consignor, you’ll need to:
It can take up to 45 days to register, so you should appoint someone who is already a registered consignor to move your goods whilst your application is being approved.
If your goods are dispatched on or before 31 December 2020 but received from 1 January 2021
You do not need to complete a UK customs declaration or pay customs duty in the UK if:
- the goods are travelling under a recognised excise scheme at that time
- you can show that the movement started on or before 31 December 2020
The import requirements and any sanctions that may apply to these goods will be based on UK excise legislation and duty points that apply at the time the movement from the EU started.
HMRC or Border Force may ask for evidence of the date and time your goods were dispatched. You can show this by providing:
- for excise duty suspended goods – the eAD or a commercial document containing the ARC
- for excise duty paid goods, either:
- the request to import excise goods bought duty paid in an EU member state (HM4)
- the Simplified Accompanying Administrative Document (SAAD) form
If you cannot prove the date and time your goods were dispatched, the movement will be treated in the same way as one that started from 1 January 2021 and customs import procedures will apply.
Closing movements that started on or before 31 December 2020 but received from 1 January 2021
If your goods arrive in the UK from 1 January 2021 but were dispatched from the EU before this time:
- you cannot use EMCS to create reports of receipt and close the movement
- you’ll need to provide a paper document to HMRC that includes the same information as an EMCS report of receipt to close the movement
For excise duty paid goods, you must still approve and return copy 3 of the SAAD to the EU business if they request it. Copy 1 stays with the dispatching business and copy 2 is kept by the UK receiving company.