HM Revenue and Customs simplifies importing from the EU as part of ‘no deal’ preparation

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HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has written to 145,000 VAT-registered businesses trading with the EU about simplified importing procedures and also updated them on the actions that they need to take to prepare.

Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) for customs will make importing easier for an initial period of one year, should we leave the EU without a deal, to allow businesses time to prepare for usual import processes.

Once businesses are registered for TSP, they will be able to transport goods from the EU into the UK without having to make a full customs declaration at the border, and will be able to postpone paying any import duties.

Treasury Minister, Mel Stride MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

Leaving the EU with a deal remains the government’s top priority. This has not changed. However, a responsible government must plan for every eventuality, including a no deal scenario. Businesses and citizens should ensure they are similarly prepared for leaving the EU.

HMRC is helping businesses get prepared and, amongst other significant communications, has written 3 times to affected businesses, each time stepping up the advice and encouraging them to take action.

This latest letter, and new GOV.UK guidance, announces Transitional Simplified Procedures for EU trade which will ease the transition, especially for businesses new to the rules associated with importing.

The new procedures reduce the amount of information importers need to give in an import declaration when the goods are crossing the border. They do this by allowing importers to defer:

  • giving a full declaration until after the goods have crossed the border
  • paying any duty until the month after import

If tariffs apply to the goods that they import, and they want to use transitional simplified procedures, they will need to defer paying any import duties by setting up a direct debit.

HMRC is also reminding businesses to get an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number if they do not already have one. This number is crucial to be able to trade after we leave the EU (if we leave without a deal). It’s free and takes just 10 minutes to register online.

Further information

We anticipate TSP will remain in place for more than a year to give businesses time to prepare to use the full customs processes that already apply to imports from non-EU countries.

We’ll review the policy 3 to 6 months after it’s introduced on 29 March 2019 to see how it’s working.

We’ll consult with businesses and give them at least a 12-month notice period before withdrawing the easements in TSP and applying the usual customs processes to imports from the EU. This will give businesses enough time to prepare.

Businesses can register for TSP from 7 February 2019.

Businesses can register for TSP if they:

  • have an EORI number
  • are established in the UK
  • are importing goods from the EU into the UK

HMRC previously published more than 100 pages of cross-government guidance for businesses on processes and procedures at the border in a no deal scenario.

HMRC and HM Treasury made £8 million available to help private customs intermediaries and businesses increase their capacity and train employees to prepare for a no deal scenario.

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