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Moving aid and donations to the people of Ukraine has been made easier thanks to a HMRC easement on making customs declarations, HM Government announced today.

Organisations sending goods to support those affected by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine will be able to make oral customs declarations or a ‘declaration by conduct’, such as passing through a ‘nothing to declare’ green channel.

An oral declaration requires an individual to identify the relevant goods to an HMRC officer.

The easement, which comes into immediate effect for a limited time, replaces the need to lodge an electronic customs declaration to HMRC through CHIEF or CDS and applies to designated airports and south coast ports in the UK.

Unlike other goods movements, donors will not need to supply customs documentation or get an EORI number to move goods in this way.

Designated ports

The HMRC announcement comes after charities trying to send aid to Ukraine reported earlier this week they were being hindered by post-Brexit customs rules and procedures.

Provided the goods are not exported to, or through, Russia or Belarus, then these simplified processes apply to qualifying goods regardless of the destination “to allow maximum flexibility to get aid to where the need is greatest,” a HMRC statement released at 5.18pm today (Thursday 10 March).

Dual use and controlled goods (including medicines not available over the counter) are excluded from the easement.

'Welcome move'

IOE&IT director general Marco Forgione said:

“We are really pleased to welcome this initiative by HMRC.

"The IOE&IT knows all about the difficulties that donors to Ukraine are experiencing from a surge in queries to our International Trade Technical Helpline and through our own help for local charities in Peterborough attempting to move aid to Ukraine.

“These donor organisations will also be relieved by this easement in customs formalities.”

Cash is king of donations

The government still recommends that organisations and people wishing to help, donate cash through trusted charities and aid organisations, rather than donating goods.

“Cash can be transferred quickly to areas where it is needed and individuals and aid organisations can use it to buy what is most needed,” HMRC said.

The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer QC MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

“Government advice remains that the best way to help the Ukrainian people is to donate money through the Disasters Emergency Committee or other trusted charities.

“However, we appreciate that people and businesses may still wish to donate aid directly to the region, so this new customs easement will ensure that humanitarian aid is fast-tracked from GB to help those most affected.”