Customs update: late collection of duty and VAT and removal of XI EORI Numbers

Thu 27 Jul 2023
Posted by: Richard Cree
Trade News

Customs control point

HMRC has highlighted an issue affecting the collection of duty and VAT on several import declarations through the Customs Declaration System (CDS).

In all these cases, the import declarations have been processed and cleared, but duty and VAT have yet to be collected from customers’ Duty Deferment Accounts (DDA).

The issue occurred on a small number of declarations between October 2022 and April 2023 with HMRC claiming it affected fewer than 0.4% of declarations. The issue has now been resolved and shouldn’t occur on future declarations. 

HMRC will collect payment for the amounts owed within the direct debit on 15 September 2023, with all affected traders contacted in advance of that date by email.

The government has warned that the message will come from a no-reply HMRC mailbox, and will detail the dates, Movement Reference Numbers (MRNs) and amounts involved.

Other issues

Traders concerned about the collection of funds in September should contact HMRC via the address provided in the email and seek to work out suitable arrangements. 

In a separate, but connected, issue, HMRC has also identified some cash accounts where a small number of transactions have been cleared and funds have already been collected, but where the declarations and amounts have not been sent to the traders’ cash account dashboard.

HMRC claims the cause of the issue has been identified and resolved, and says it should not occur in future.

XI EORI withdrawal

From next Monday (31 July) HMRC will begin the process of removing XI Economic Operators Registration and Identification (XI EORI) numbers from businesses without a permanent business establishment (PBE) in Northern Ireland (NI), unless they need one for a specified list of customs activities.

XI EORI numbers were introduced as part of the post-Brexit NI Protocol, for businesses that wanted to move goods from Great Britain into NI or from NI to another non-EU country.

The removal of XI EORIs will take place in phases throughout August. HMRC claims the process won’t have a negative impact on the movement of goods into NI.

The Trader Support Service (TSS) will be on hand to make sure anyone likely to be affected will be identified and relevant declarations corrected, to prevent failures or error messages.

A helpline has been launched - 0300 322 9434 – so that in the event of any unforeseen disruption, traders affected can contact HMRC to address any problems.

Legal requirements

Businesses are legally required to have an XI EORI number or an EU EORI number if they wish to be named as the declarant on import or export declarations in (or an EU country).

Firms without an XI EORI number can move goods into and out of NI, provided they use an indirect representative established in NI or the EU.

For movements into NI, a business can use or continue to use the TSS, which can be accessed free of charge.


Activities for which businesses without a NI PBE could hold and use an XI EORI include:

  • Making customs declarations for transit or temporary admission
  • Applying for customs decisions
  • Making “entry or exit summary declarations”

The full list of activities is available, along with other useful information, at

Emergency use

Businesses that think they qualify for an XI EORI, or require one in an emergency, can also call the HMRC helpline.

From 16 August 2023, TSS will bring in functionality to allow alternative information to be automatically provided instead of an XI EORI number.

This will mitigate against risk of businesses submitting Safety and Security declarations from receiving error messages when the consignee/consignor’s XI EORI number is removed.

Traders with questions on any of the above can either contact the HMRC helpline, visit here or contact the NI Customs Trade Academy.