Less than 70 days are remaining before our transition period with the EU ends.
Whether a Free Trade Agreement is negotiated or not, new customs and tax rules will be coming into place as of 1st January 2021.
In a statement released on the gov.uk website Katherine Green and Sophie Dean, Directors General, Borders and Trade, HMRC said:
“We understand that these are challenging times, but time is running out for businesses to get ready.”
“New customs and tax rules will not change or go away if a Free Trade Agreement is negotiated, so businesses should act now to ensure they are ready for the end of the transition period.”
The Government has this week has written to over 250,000 VAT-registered traders outlining the steps they need to take to avoid disruption to their business.
The main focus of these letters was to outline who will now need to complete customs declarations and when these rules will come into effect.
Read on for a summary of these letters and the guidance within them.
Do I need to complete declarations from 1st January?
If you import goods from Europe that are on the Government’s controlled goods list then you will have to make customs declarations from the new year.
This list includes fireworks, fishery products and alcohol. You can view the full list of controlled goods here.
If you import goods from Europe that aren’t on this list but choose not to delay your declarations (or are unable to do so) then you will also need to start making full import declarations as of 1st January.
The requirements for this are currently the same as those for trade with the rest of the world.
Can I delay my declarations and duty payments?
If your business imports goods from Europe that are not on the controlled goods list, you may be eligible to defer your declarations for up to 6 months
To do this, you will need to make a declaration in your records. This may not be an option if you have a past of poor compliance.
Whether you choose to delay these or not, the HMRC will still require you to submit details about the goods you import.
You can do this yourself by setting up a duty deferment account and becoming authorised, or you can appoint a professional to help you.
Find out more about delaying your declarations.
Should I hire a specialist?
These new rules can be confusing and potentially overwhelming for business owners.
Government advice details that you should look into appointing a specialist to handle your import or export declarations, or start preparing now if you’re planning to do these yourself.
Customs declarations are known for being time-consuming and complicated. You may find that you can save time and money if you seek professional support from the likes of a freight forwarding company.
Click here to see the Government’s full list of suggested businesses that can help.
For more information and guidance on preparing your business for the EU transition, we recommend you make use of these resources.