An end to the easement of temporary measures for goods moving between GB and the EU

23 December 2021 - Chloe Wright

Some of the temporary Customs and VAT measures introduced on 1 January 2021 for goods moving between Great Britain and the EU will be removed on 1 January 2022. The changes coming into force on 1 January 2022 include:

  • the requirement for full customs import declarations for all goods at the time businesses or their courier/freight forwarder bring them into Great Britain, except if they are non-controlled goods imported from Ireland to Great Britain
  • customs controls at all ports and other border locations
  • requirement for a suppliers’ declaration proving the origin of goods (either UK or EU) if they are using the zero tariffs agreed in the UK’s trade deal with the EU
  • commodity codes, which are used to classify goods for customs declarations, are changing

Customs declarations

If you’re importing non-controlled goods which are entering Great Britain from Irish ports, there are no changes at the moment and you can continue to delay making your customs declarations for up to 175 days, as long as you make an entry in declarants imports at the time of import.

If your goods are entering Great Britain from other EU countries, you will no longer be able to delay making import customs declarations under the Staged Customs Controls rules that have applied during 2021. Most customers will have to make declarations and pay relevant tariffs at the point of import.

You should consider before 1 January 2022 how you are going to submit your customs declarations and pay any duties that are due. You can appoint an intermediary, such as a customs agent, to deal with your declarations on your behalf or you can submit them yourself.

You must use the correct country code for the country of origin and the country of dispatch when you complete your customs declaration. For EU countries, the individual country code of the relevant member state should be used. The EU country code must not be used and will be removed from systems shortly.

Border controls

Ports and other border locations will be required to control goods moving Great Britain and the EU. This means that unless your goods have a valid declaration and have received customs clearance, they will not be able to be released into circulation, and in most cases will not be able to leave the port, except from in Ireland.

From 1 January 2022, your goods may be directed to an Inland Border Facility for documentary or physical checks if these checks cannot be done at the border. It’s important that those involved in transporting your goods are ready and understand how you intend to operate from January 2022. From 1 January 2022, you must also submit an “arrived” export declaration if your goods are moving through one of the border locations that uses the arrived exports process.

If you do not follow the correct process from 1 January 2022, the new systems will not permit your goods to leave the country and they will be turned away as they will not hold export clearance.

If you use a service such as a courier or freight forwarder to move your goods, you need to check their terms and conditions about who will make the declarations, and what other information they need from you to do this.

Origin of goods

The UK’s deal with the EU, called the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), means that imported or exported goods may benefit from a reduced rate of Customs Duty (tariff preference). To use this, you need proof that the goods you import from the EU originate there and the goods you export to the EU originated in Great Britain. Your goods will need to meet the product specific rules of origin requirements set out in the TCA.

If you export goods to the EU and you provide the EU importer with a statement on origin, you may also need to have a supplier declaration in place. These are needed to confirm the origin of the goods you’re exporting when the manufacture alone is not enough to meet the product specific rules of origin.

Throughout 2021, UK businesses have been allowed to export goods to the EU using tariff preference and get supplier declarations afterwards, to give them more time. But from 1 January 2022 they must have supplier declarations (where required) at the time they export your goods.

If you cannot provide a supplier declaration to confirm the UK origin of goods you exported to the EU between 1 January and 31 December 2021, you must let your customer know.

If you’re subject to a request for verification by EU customs authorities and you can’t provide this supporting evidence, your EU customer will be liable to pay the full (non-preferential) rate of Customs Duty and HMRC may also charge you a penalty.

Postponed VAT Accounting

If you’re a VAT-registered importer, you can continue to use Postponed VAT Accounting (PVA) on all customs declarations that require you to account for import VAT, including supplementary declarations, except when HMRC have told you otherwise. PVA has already provided significant cash flow benefits for thousands of our customers, and HMRC expect that most businesses will choose to use it.

For more information, check when you can account for import VAT on your VAT Return.

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