The government is encouraging UK businesses to prepare for rule changes for trade with the EU which will come into effect across the next six months.
HMRC has today (12 July) written to more than 160,000 VAT-registered businesses explaining the measures firms must take to continue trading with the counterparts on the continent.
To soften the impact of Great Britain’s departure from the EU single market and customs union last year, the government announced easements for new declaration requirements and other customs checks on imports from the continent.
This included the ability to delay completing declarations on imports.
However, traders availing of this easement must complete a supplementary declaration within 175 calendar days of the date of their import from the EU.
Speaking on a webinar in June about the rules, IOE&IT Academy director Kevin Shakespeare said: “Government easements don’t mean traders can do nothing - you need to prepare for this new timetable. The clock has started ticking.”
Firms will also need to apply for a duty deferment account (DDA) and authorisation to use simplified declaration procedures, as well as deciding decide whether to make their own declarations or get a customs intermediary to do this on their behalf, the letter warned.
On top of this, from 1 October 2021, firms trading products of animal origin, certain animal by-products and high-risk foods not of animal origin will be required to make pre-notifications to British customs ahead of their goods movements.
Also, from this date, if traders haven’t made a full customs declaration for an export consignment, their haulier or carrier will need to submit a standalone exit summary declaration providing safety and security information.
Customs brokers have told the Loadstar that the delayed declarations timetable has simply delayed a crisis as UK firms remain unprepared for completing new customs processes for imports from the continent.
One said: “As many importers are new to the customs environment and have enough on their plates already, they will sleepwalk into a failure to declare.”
Appointing a customs intermediary
HMRC is providing information on how businesses can appoint intermediaries to deal with their customs documentation, including freight forwarders, customs agents and fast parcel operator.
However, there have been concerns in the past about there being a shortage of customs intermediaries in the market for businesses to call upon, as reported in the Times.