In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, from 11pm GMT on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020), many UK businesses will need to apply the same procedures to EU trade that apply when trading with the rest of the world.
Currently, under import processes for trading with the rest of the world, goods are not released from customs control until you make a full import declaration and pay the duty owed in full.
HMRC has put in place transitional simplified procedures to make it easier for you to import goods from the EU using roll on roll off locations like Dover or the Channel Tunnel.
We’ll review them 3 to 6 months after they’re introduced on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020).
If we decide to withdraw them we’ll give you a 12 month notice period. This will give you enough time to prepare your business to follow the import processes you’ll need for trading with the rest of the world.
If this happens, you may choose to:
- use a third party (for example freight forwarder or customs broker) to complete declarations for you
- become authorised to use customs freight simplified procedures
- complete full declarations yourself
If you already trade outside the EU and have a customs agent or software, you’ll be able to use these to make declarations on your EU-UK trade. You do not need to register for transitional simplified procedures, but should speak to your software provider or agent about the additional customs formalities you’ll have to comply with after EU exit.
If you’re moving controlled goods, and do not have an agent already, you may want to consider using an agent or intermediary to make your declarations. Intermediaries may be able to offer other customs simplifications or procedures if they’re already authorised by HMRC.
The actions set out in this guidance do not apply to importing or exporting goods between Northern Ireland-Ireland. We will write to you with information about this as soon as we can.
What transitional simplified procedures are
These transitional simplified procedures reduce the amount of information you need to give in an import declaration when the goods are crossing the border. They do this by allowing you to defer:
- giving a full declaration
- paying any duty
If tariffs apply to the goods that you import and you want to use transitional simplified procedures you will need to:
- apply to defer any duties payable – we’ll let you know how to do this when the streamlined process for deferring duty is available
- have a financial guarantee by 30 June 2019 for any duties deferred
Who can register
To register to use transitional simplified procedures you must:
- have an EORI number
- be established in the UK
- be importing goods from the EU into the UK – including goods travelling via the EU from the rest of the world providing they have cleared EU customs formalities
Who cannot register
You cannot register to use transitional simplified procedures if:
- the only goods you import are coming into the UK directly from outside the EU
- you choose to use a customs special procedure for your goods
- you’re acting on behalf of a trader (for example you’re a freight forwarder)
- our records show that in the past you have had overdue tax returns, have not paid tax or duties due or your business is insolvent
What you’ll need to register
To register you’ll need your:
- EORI number to trade with the EU
- VAT registration number (if you have one)
- business name and UK address
- contact details
How to register
Register for transitional simplified procedures online.
Using the transitional simplified procedures
There are 2 ways of declaring depending on the types of goods you’re importing.
Controlled goods procedure
Controlled goods are goods that require a license to import or excise goods like alcohol or tobacco. If you’re importing controlled goods from the EU and want to use transitional simplified procedures you’ll need to use the controlled goods procedure. You’ll need to:
- send a simplified frontier declaration before you import the controlled goods into the UK
- make sure that the controlled goods are accompanied by full supporting documentation, for example the appropriate license
- send a supplementary declaration by the fourth working day of the month following the arrival of the goods into the UK
If you have duties or taxes to pay, HMRC will take your direct debit on the 15th day of the month after the goods arrive in the UK.
If you’re also importing goods that are not controlled you may choose to use the same procedure to declare them as you do for your controlled goods.
Standard goods procedure
If you’re importing goods that are not controlled you’ll need to make a customs declaration within your commercial records when the goods cross the border. The information should include:
- the date and time the goods arrived in the UK
- a description of the goods and the commodity code and quantity imported
- purchase and (if available) sales invoice numbers
- the customs value
- the serial numbers (if appropriate)
- delivery details
- supplier emails
After you’ve imported the goods:
- you’ll need to send a supplementary declaration by the fourth working day of the month following the arrival of the goods into the UK
- HMRC will take your direct debit on the 15th day of the month after the goods arrive in the UK if you have duties or taxes to pay