EU:GB import declarations backlog problem predicted as clock ticks down to HMRC deadline

Tue 8 Jun 2021
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

HMRC could be faced with a backlog of uncompleted declarations for imports from EU into GB as the postponed deadline for first submissions occurs at the end of this month.

The government suspended the need for traders to complete declarations for imports from the EU for a period of 175 days from the time that the goods move. For goods that were imported on 1 January 2021, a declaration is required on 25 June 2021.

Capacity issue

According to the Loadstar, there are concerns about capacity to process the paperwork.

“We’re in a situation where we have maybe millions of declarations due and we have insufficient brokers to get us out of the backlog,” one customs expert told The Loadstar.

The source warned that HMRC may have to extend the deadline or risk losing out on income.

'Don’t ignore it'

At a recent IOE&IT webinar attended by 560 traders, IOE&IT Academy director Kevin Shakespeare said companies should not stick their heads in the sand over declarations.

“Government easements doesn’t mean traders can do nothing - you need to prepare for this new timetable. The clocks has started ticking.”

Easements vary according to the type of declaration or licence. For instance, SPS licensing requirements were delayed from April to October.

In a webinar poll, 42% said they weren’t prepared to make declarations when the easement periods end, with just 17% agreeing they were “very prepared”.

Customs agents beware

With importers looking for help in handling their declarations, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) has warned its members to be “very careful with business from traders that have not taken out a CFSP authorisation in their own right”, Lloyd’s Loading List reports

According to BIFA director general, Robert Keen, customs agents who take on business from companies that do not have their own CFSP, could be liable for duties and VAT on behalf of the importer if their paperwork is not in order.

Free webinar

Experts from Digital Trader Services – a new digital portal and advice service for completing customs declarations – will be speaking at a webinar hosted by the Institute of Export & International Trade at 11am on Thursday 17 June.

The free IOE&IT webinar next week – for which readers can register here – will guide traders through the new rules for importing goods from the EU will be and when they are due to be introduced.

Experts will give practical advice about what traders can do to prepare for the changes – including using the new Digital Trader Service to complete declarations.