HMRC repeats reminder to GB importers: you need to complete declarations for EU goods from 1 January

Thu 2 Dec 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

The government has reminded businesses importing goods from the EU into Britain that they will need to complete customs declarations from the beginning of next year.

From 1 January 2022, firms will no longer be able to delay import declarations and will be required to complete them at the point of entry and pay relevant tariffs at the same point.

New guidance

The government published new guidance yesterday (1 December) on making use of simplified declaration procedures.

These procedures allow traders to provide less information before the goods enter Britain than is required for a full declaration. A reduced dataset – including less customs data – is submitted before the goods movement via a ‘simplified frontier declaration’ or by an entry into the declarant’s records.

However, traders authorised to use simplified declarations must provide the rest of the required customs data via a supplementary declaration by the fourth working day of the month after the goods movement.

Ticking clock

HMRC warns, however, that with less than a month to go, firms will struggle to gain authorisation to use these simplified procedures ahead of by 1 January, and so will need to complete full declarations.

This means firms will need to provide all customs data in one go and at the point of entry through a full frontier declaration, rather than through in two stages.

New obligations

Traders received a similar warning from HMRC by letter last month.

The letter informed businesses who had delayed declarations since the start of 2020 of their obligation to provide supplementary declarations for their goods movements.

Border posts will be controlling goods entering from the EU from 1 January and the government warns that unless goods have a valid declarations and have received customs clearance, they will not be released into circulation or leave the port.


From 1 January 2022, traders must also submit an “arrived” export declaration if goods are moving through border locations that use the ‘arrived exports process’. Goods will not be able to leave the country of export in the EU if they do not follow the correct process.

The guidance also provides reminders of other changes including:

  • Claiming tariff preference under rules of origin
  • Postponing VAT accounting
  • Changes to commodity codes on 1 January 2022


From 1 January, the government’s Goods Vehicle Movement Service will also become operational for EU-to-GB goods movements.

This will require hauliers to provide a Goods Movement Reference (GMR) to be able to board their ferry heading to Britain, if there are entering the country at a port which is adopting the ‘pre-lodgement model’.

A GMR will link together the required declarations for the goods that are being imported.

Sign up here to our free webinar on GVMS on Wednesday 8 December for more information about how it will operate for EU-to-GB imports from 1 January.

Border timetable

The government announced changes to its Border Operating Model for post-Brexit import controls earlier this month, including the announcement that certification and physical checks will be introduced for products of animal origin, animal by-products, plants and plant products in phases from July 2022.

The requirement to pre-notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) or DEFRA of imports of goods that are subject to sanitary or phytosanitary (SPS) checks, using IPAFFS (the import of products, animals, food and feed system), will still come into force from 1 January 2022.

Get help

IOE&IT Academy director Kevin Shakespeare has warned traders of the need to prepare for import declarations.

“We must continue to urge businesses to prepare for import declarations on 1 January,” he said. “If you’re not ready, we urge you to look at the training and consultancy support from the IOE&IT on completing declarations”.