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Do you import goods from the EU into Great Britain? Here is what you need to know about new real-time customs declarations

·4-min read

Promotional feature from HM Government

Throughout 2021, traders have been able to bring goods into Great Britain from the European Union (EU) and delay customs declarations for up to 175 days.

However, from 1 January 2022, customs declarations on goods moving from the EU into Great Britain must be completed at the time they are transported into the country. This means delays on declarations are no longer permitted.

For those moving goods to Great Britain from the EU, there are a number of steps to follow.

Firstly, your business needs an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number, that starts with “GB”, to import goods into England, Wales or Scotland. If goods are transported from Northern Ireland you may need one that starts with “XI”.

There will also need to be checks on whether the company sending you goods can export into Great Britain. They may need to make an export declaration in their home country, or require a licence or certificates to send goods into Great Britain.

Products being moved from the EU to Great Britain will also need a commodity code for the customs declaration. The UK codes changed on 1 January 2022 and should be checked by searching for the ‘Trade Tariff Tool’ on GOV.UK at the time goods are being moved.

This will determine the rate of duty you need to pay and if you need an import licence. Customs agents or haulage firms may be able to help with this step. You will need to understand the relevant details of your product such as type, purpose, materials used to make it, production methods used to make it, and the way it is packaged.


How can I calculate how much duty I need to pay?

When an import declaration is made, the value of the goods also needs to be included to help HMRC work out how much duty and VAT to pay. This can be calculated in one of six ways. You will have to check each method in order starting with the transaction method.

● Method 1 - This is the ‘transaction value’ method. It’s based on the price you pay when you buy the goods before bringing them to the UK. You must have evidence of the price you pay with your import entry, for example a copy of the seller’s invoice. If you import the goods on consignment, that is, there’s been no sale, or you have supplied them free of charge or on loan try method 2.

● Method 2 - Calculate value based on the customs value of identical goods, produced in the same country as your imports. If there are no identical goods try method 3.

● Method 3 - Calculate value based on the customs value of similar goods, which must be produced in the same country, able to carry out the same tasks and commercially interchangeable. If there are no similar goods try method 4 or 5.

● Method 4 - Calculate value based on the selling price of the goods (or identical or similar goods) in the EU. Simplified procedure values and standard import values apply specifically to fruit and vegetables. But you can only use one of the two and this will depend on a number of factors including the type of produce, method of import and time of the year. If there are no EU sales of the goods try method 5.

● Method 5 - Calculate value based on the production cost of the goods, including the cost of any materials, manufacturing and any other processing methods. If you have not got the production cost information try method 6.

● Method 6 - Calculate value based on adapting one of the previous methods to fit unusual circumstances.

Find out what evidence is needed to support each method here.

Simplified Declarations

Businesses and haulage firms can also apply for authorisation to use simplified declarations, which allows for the movement of goods into a customs procedure without having to provide a full declaration.

However, it can take up to 60 calendar days to complete the checks needed, so you need to factor that time in before you want to import goods next year.

To use the simplified declaration authorised traders can choose to make an Entry In Declarants Records (EIDR) or a simplified frontier declaration when they apply. Traders will need to check if the goods can be declared using EIDR or if they need to use a simplified frontier declaration. The EIDR or simplified frontier declaration is followed by a supplementary declaration.

Your businesses can hire someone to deal with the process on your behalf, either as a direct representative or an indirect representative. These can be freight forwarders, who move goods around the world for importers, customs agents, brokers, or fast parcel operators.

What they can do for you, and who will be liable, depends on the services they provide, what you want them to do, or the commercial agreement you have with them.

Remember, they cannot act on your behalf without written instructions from you.

You can find out how to use a freight forwarder on the British International Freight Association and Institute of Export websites, as well as a list of customs agents and fast parcel operators.

Note: The new requirements to make real-time customs declarations do not apply to imports from the EU into Northern Ireland or for imports from Ireland into Great Britain. The information in this article was correct at the time of publication

Read more in our Post Brexit Trade section on Yahoo Finance

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