There are special procedures for importing goods into the UK. Following the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, the process for importing goods from the EU effectively mirrors the process for all other international destinations.
A number of easements to help ensure a smooth transition for goods coming from the EU after Brexit, ended on 31 December 2021. This means that since 1 January 2022, businesses are no longer able to delay making import customs declarations under the Staged Customs Controls rules that applied during 2021.
The changes that came into force on 1 January 2022 include:
- A 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
There are different rules in place for the movement of goods into, out of or through Northern Ireland.
Affected businesses should ensure that they consider as a matter of urgency how they are going to submit customs declarations and pay any duties that are due. Businesses can appoint an intermediary, such as a customs agent, to deal with their declarations or can submit them directly although this can be complex for businesses unused to the process.
There is a ‘Simplified Declarations’ authorisation from HMRC that allows some goods to be released directly to a specified customs procedure without having to provide a full customs declaration at the point of release. However, this needs specific authorisation from HMRC and there are also other requirements that must be met.