Great News!

Our industry leading Certificate of Customs Competency, AEO Certified Practitioner, Advanced Customs Practitioner and Diploma in Practical Trade Compliance Courses are available via live virtual classroom.   

Delegates can ask questions either live or via chat, full course notes will be provided and the Assessment will also be taken on line with full proctoring to ensure the high standards required of a top industry qualification accredited and certified by CILT.

We look forward to welcoming you to our virtual classroom - book now to ensure your place!

Check out Aspire - The CILT Career Foundation to see if you could qualify for free help with funding for any of the Career Pathway courses

23rd April 2024

New Sanitary and Phytosanitary Rules for Animal and Plant Products 

Join Susan for a CILT(UK) webinar providing essential information about the Customs changes starting next week:

When: 25 April 2024, 12:30 - 13:30
Where: Zoom Webinar

Speaker: Susan Morley MBA, DMS, FCILT, FIFP(grad), LGSM and Chair CILT Customs and International Trade Forum.

Get the answers you need for the new Sanitary and Phytosanitary Rules for Animal and Plant Products from the EU starting 30th April 2024.

Cut through the mis-information and confusion to get to the practical reality of the new rules for SPS goods from the EU and elsewhere being imported via the Port of Dover or the Eurotunnel.

Understand how the new charges will be calculated and when they will be charged (Common User Charge and Inspection Charges) and perhaps most importantly who will have to pay them!

How some of the charges can be legally avoided and how load planning could reduce or increase the amount you have to pay. Time will be given for questions from attendees.

Booking for Members-FREE
Booking for Non Members - £5.00 inc. VAT
To book click here

24th January 2024

New eCertificates

 Great news – learners taking any of our CILT accredited training courses will now receive an eCertificate rather than the paper based certificates.  Learners will also receive a high resolution digital badge that is supported by a downloadable certificate. This provides details of the course that they have studied along with their achievement. This certificate can be downloaded and shared with relevant parties at the discretion of the recipient.

The digital badge can be shared via major social media platforms and also can be downloaded for use in email footers and on websites.

Forthcoming Accredited training course:

 6th – 9th February                  AEO Certified Practitioner
28th February – 1st March     Advanced Customs Practitioner
18th – 27th March                    Certificate of Customs Competency

Clarification of AEO requirement

HMRC have issued an update to AEO guidance clarifying the position around the ‘person responsible for Customs matters’ for the applicant organisation – previously it was unclear as to whether this person needed to be based in the UK or could be an overseas employee.  The new guidance makes it clear this person should be UK based.

Express Industry Export Declarations Change

This change will take effect on 23 January 2024 through a CDS software update.

 From this date, goods exported from Great Britain and Northern Ireland under the Export MoU between HMRC, and the express industry, will no longer require commodity codes when submitting supplementary declarations through CDS.

If you are already submitting MoU supplementary export declarations through CDS, you should continue to use a commodity code until this update has been released.

If you currently submit your MoU export declarations through CHIEF, no further action is required. You will need to be aware of this coming change when you move your MoU export declarations to CDS.

All export declarations should be made through the CDS by 30 March 2024.

Import food and drink from 31 January 2024 

From 31 January 2024, food and drink from the EU will be categorised into high, medium and low risk categories under the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM).  

To import food and drink from the EU, you’ll need to follow the current process to notify APHA.  

For medium BTOM risk imports, you’ll need to get a health certificate from the EU exporter if one is available. You may need an official importer declaration for certain products – the health certificate will tell you when you need one. You may also need an import licence or authorisation.  

Random sample documentary checks on medium BTOM risk animal products from the EU, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Liechtenstein will be introduced between January and April 2024. Goods subject to these checks will not be held for inspection or charged extra fees. 

For low BTOM risk imports, you’ll need a commercial document. You may also need an import licence or authorisation.  

Read more about importing food and drink under the Border Target Operating Model. 

Import food and drink from 30 April 2024 

From 30 April 2024, new checks at the border on medium BTOM risk goods from the EU will be introduced. All medium and low BTOM risk goods must enter via a point of entry that has the relevant border control post.  

 Change to Inland Border Facilities

Inland border facilities are UK government sites where customs and document checks can take place away from port locations.

The facilities will act as a government office of departure (for outbound journeys) and a government office of destination (for inbound journeys), where hauliers can start and end journeys when moving goods in and out of the UK, under the Common Transit Convention (CTC — also referred to as Transit). They can also be used for ATA Carnets, TIR Carnets and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) checks.

From 1 January 2024 Stop 24 will not offer stamping of ATA Carnets and Dover Western Docks will only give ATA endorsement through commercial operations.

28th September 2023

The Advance Valuation Ruling Service is now available to all  

Agents who represent traders who cannot use a Business Tax Account can now use HMRC’s Advance Valuation Ruling Service (AVRS). 

 The service provides traders and agents with legal certainty on the valuation method for imported goods, for a period of three years. 

 Traders and the agents who represent them who are able to use a Business Tax Account have been able to apply for a ruling since April 2023.  

 The service is not mandatory, but it helps to facilitate trade by providing certainty on the correct method of customs valuation.  

 To sign up to use the service, traders will need: 

A Government Gateway User ID 
An Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number 
For more information, visit GOV.UK

29th August 2023

A new and revised Border Target Operating Model (TOM) has been issued this morning:

The Border Target Operating Model: August 2023 

Key Points:

The Government has agreed to a delay of 3 months to the introduction of remaining sanitary and phytosanitary controls which will now be introduced from January 2024 plus Customs controls on Irish goods entering Great Britain will be introduced from 31 January 2024. In accordance with the Windsor Framework, qualifying Northern Ireland goods will continue to have unfettered access to the UK market, whether those goods are moving directly from Northern Ireland to Great Britain or moving to Great Britain from Northern Ireland via Ireland.

Safety and Security declarations for imports into Great Britain from the EU or from other territories where the current waiver applies will be introduced from 31 October 2024.

Further detail is provided on the UK Single Trade Window which will underpin the new approach to controls. When fully operational, this will provide a single digital gateway for users to provide the data needed to trade and apply for licences and authorisations for trusted trader schemes

22nd June 2023

The new UK Internal Market Scheme

If you wish to declare goods moved into Northern Ireland as ‘not at risk’ you will need to become authorised under the new UK Internal Market Scheme.

'not at risk’ means the goods being imported into Northern Ireland are ‘not at risk’ of moving from Northern Ireland to the EU, so that EU duty will not be payable on those goods at the time of their arrival in Northern Ireland.

‘Not at risk’ goods:

  • will not be charged any duty if entering Northern Ireland from free circulation in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales)
  • will be charged UK duty if entering Northern Ireland from outside the EU and the UK
  • will be charged UK duty if entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain and the goods were not in free circulation in Great Britain

‘At risk’ goods will be charged the applicable EU duty.

The UK Internal Market Scheme authorisation will also give access to the green lane when it opens in September 2024, for goods moving from Great Britain into Northern Ireland. Goods moving through the green lane will:

  • not be subject the same processes that apply to other goods entering Northern Ireland
  • only need to submit a simplified dataset, based on commercial information

For goods moving before 30 September 2023 , you can continue to use the UK Trader Scheme authorisation to declare your goods ‘not at risk’.

For goods moving on or after 30 September 2023, the UK Trader Scheme authorisation will no longer be valid and you must use the UK Internal Market Scheme authorisation.

Full details of the criteria and how to apply for authorisation can be found on this link

21st June 2023

The UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) has been replaced from 19th June 2023 by the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS).   (The EU GSP scheme is unchanged).

The DCTS is a simpler and more generous preferential trading scheme which has been designed to boost trade with developing countries in order to support their development.

The DCTS cuts tariffs, removes conditions and simplifies trading rules for developing countries and benefits UK businesses and consumers by reducing the import cost of thousands of products from around the globe.

The DCTS applies to 65 countries that fall under one of the following categories:

  • least developed countries (LDCs) as defined by the United Nations
  • low income and lower middle-income countries as defined by the World Bank

This linklists the countries and the duty reductions that they receive under the scheme – (this is not the same as the GSP Countries/Benefits)

Eligible products listings and information on their DCTS duty reductions can be found here

Form A is used to give proof of origin for goods being imported from countries covered by the Developing Countries Trading Scheme.

Detailed instructions (box by box) for the completion of Form A can be found here

There is no transition period between GSP and DCTS, however the following questions and answers provide guidance for goods in transit:

What evidence/documents will be required for goods to be regarded as originating from a
qualifying DCTS country?

The proofs of origin remain the same as for UK GSP – so an origin declaration (referring to DCTS instead of GSP) and Form A, both completed by the exporter in the DCTS beneficiary country.

Will the UK have a UK version of the Form A for the DCTS?

No, we will retain the standard UNCTAD trade preference Form A for the DCTS to avoid the need for businesses to complete different documentation for the UK. We are speaking with UNCTAD to update the form to reference the DCTS in the footnotes.

You can find a template for the Form A on this link

Will there be a grace period to use UK GSP documents?

For goods that qualify for a preferential duty rate under DCTS, the claim to preference can be made using a UKGSP proof of origin, provided it was issued on or before 31 December 2023.

What about products already in or entering a customs warehouse?

For goods that are currently in a customs warehouse, or enter a customs warehouse after 19 June 2023, a claim to DCTS preference can be made on release to free circulation using a UK GSP proof of origin, provided it was issued on or before 31 December 2023.

What about claims to preference made retrospectively?

Retrospective claims to DCTS preference can be made using a UK GSP proof of origin, provided it was issued on or before 31 December 2023.

Claiming DCTS on the Customs Declaration Service (CDS)

Your CDS customs declaration to free circulation should include the following current data elements (DE):
DE 2/3 – Either 9001 (origin declaration) or N865 (Form A)
DE 4/17 – A code from the 200 series of preference codes

18th June 2023

​Find out if you need an XI EORI, if you can keep the XI EORI you already have or if the changes mean you no longer need or can have an XI EORI.  Changes come in on 30th June this year! See full details here:  20230612 XI EORI update for JCCC.pdf

9th June 2023

HMRC launches customs intermediaries consultation

HMRC is inviting businesses and organisations across the borders industry to share their views on a consultation on introducing a voluntary standard for the customs intermediary sector.

The consultation, in response to feedback from the 2022 Call for Evidence (CfE) and part of a package of measures announced at Spring budget, aims to improve the quality of the service across the customs intermediary sector.

It launched on 5 June, running for 12 weeks until 30 August, and can be viewed in full here. Participants can provide feedback by emailing

The consultation will seek views on:
• the objectives of a voluntary standard, and what format it could take
• how a voluntary standard could be designed and implemented
• the potential content of a voluntary standard
• training and educational offerings for the intermediary sector, which would support the introduction of a voluntary standard.

As part of the consultation, HMRC will be holding a number of broadcast events in July for businesses, trade association representatives, customs intermediaries and SMEs, to provide an overview of the consultation and answer questions. If you would like to attend one of these events, please let HMRC know via email at

27th March 2023

HMRC have issued the following advice:

We are experiencing an IT issue affecting some Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) users who are trying to add Customs Declaration Service (CDS) import declaration references to Goods Movement References (GMRs).

We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we are invoking a limited business continuity plan to ensure goods can continue to flow.

This means that at GVMS locations, hauliers are advised to create a ‘declaration by conduct’ GMR type where CDS declaration references cannot be added to a GMR. These can be validated by carriers as normal.

Hauliers moving goods with any document (such as a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) permit) that needs to be processed by Border Force must still attend an Inland Border Facility or port inspection facility on arrival.

All goods that are permitted to move remain under customs control. CDS declarations can continue to be pre-lodged as normal., but where goods have moved under a declaration by conduct GMR, they must be manually arrived.

Please note, Border Force may continue to place holds on consignments of interest or controlled goods.

We appreciate this is continuing to cause frustration and apologise for the inconvenience this is causing.

20th March 2023

The following has been issued by HMRC today -

From today, Monday 20th March, there will be a new way to report any issues encountered with making a declaration on the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

If you or one of your customers has a problem submitting a declaration using the Customs Declaration Service

Problems using the Customs Declaration Service to move goods across the border should be reported using a new online form

The online form has been introduced to make resolving issues with the Customs Declaration Process as easy as possible, urgent enquires will be dealt with in 2 hours, and all other enquires should have a response within 24 hours.

However, if the problem relates to:

• registering for CDS service - email

• CDS Dashboard in GOV.UK service webpages or interfaces - raise a support ticket by selecting the ‘Get help with this page’ link at the bottom of the screen that identifies the issue.

• Trader Dress Rehearsal issues email

30th November 2022

HMRC have confirmed that the Statistical Threshold for exports will remain at £873 and 1000 kgs for 2023.

17th November 2022

The list of products that benefit from UK Trade Tariff: duty suspensions and autonomous tariff quotas which mostly bring import duty to zero has been updated to include over 100 newly agreed items.   The full listing can be found here, individual items are shown in the UK Global Tariff.

27th October 2022 

HMRC have published a new list of acceptable CDS workarounds.  The need for workarounds may result from several factors and includes providing:

  • mitigations for misalignments between CDS and the Declaration Completion instructions prior to their resolution
  • mitigations for known errors in CDS functionality prior to their resolution
  • interim mitigations for gaps in functionality, prior to its delivery in a later production release

 Full details here

27th October 2022

Those given an extension to use CHIEF until the end of October have only 4 days left to migrate to CDS for all imports.   

Applications for an extension have continued to be received throughout October but this facility will close on 31st October.

HMRC reviewed extension applications on a case by case basis and a few companies which had very good and acceptable reasons for failing to migrate to CDS by the end of October will be given a later migration date usually in November and will be told in writing this week.     

Where extensions have not been granted, declarants will be expected to make all their imports declarations on CDS. However, to accommodate import month-end activities these declarants will be able to continue to use CHIEF until 7 November 2022 and they have been notified of this decision in writing. 

Those declarants whose extensions have not been granted can ask for that to be reconsidered by replying to the email notifying them of the decision and providing detailed plans that demonstrate the steps required to complete migration.  This plan will be expected to include detailed milestones and dates, and demonstrate that the applicant is doing everything possible to quickly complete their migration. 

HMRC have issued the following advice for intermediaries of all kinds:

Applicants granted an extension to facilitate some clients or scenarios are expected to use CHIEF only for those scenarios – every declaration that can be made on CDS should be made on CDS.  

If your client cannot register for CDS because of issues with their data held by HMRC, they are entitled to continue to use CHIEF until HMRC resolve the issue.  You are entitled to an extension to use CHIEF for those clients only. 

If your clients are able to register for CDS but have not done so or have done so but not completed a direct debit instruction, that is not a reasonable case to continue using CHIEF. 

20th Sept 2022

The CHIEF customs computer system will close for import declarations from midnight 30th September 2022. You need to act NOW! 

However, if you have a valid business reason for being unable to migrate to CDS for imports for the 1st October 2022 HMRC require you to ask permission, with suitable justifications, to continue to use CHIEF until the end of October 2022 or until you migrate whichever is the sooner.

During that period HMRC will provide assistance to you to help you quickly migrate to CDS. 

HMRC have provided the following key points:

  1. Import declarations need to be made using the Customs Declaration Service from 1 October 2022. You need to act now and there is help and support available on Gov.UK and YouTube.
  2. If you know you can’t be ready for that date, you should consider using a customs agent who can help you. We have a list on Gov.UK.
  3. If you are unable to use CDS for your import declarations or use a customs agent, we are allowing CHIEF badge holders to seek permission for a short extension to use CHIEF beyond 30 September, if you have a clear business reason. You need to apply using an online form and further details are available on Gov.UK.
  4. Those that successfully apply for an extension will be provided with help and support to move to the Customs Declaration Service as soon as possible.  
  5. A limited group of declarants are unable to fully migrate their imports so can continue to use CHIEF for imports without having to apply for continued use. We will contact those declarants directly to let them know.  
  6. If you continue to use CHIEF from 1 October 2022 without permission, HMRC reserves the right to remove your access. 

To ask permission to continue using CHIEF for this limited period of time click here

14th July 2022

Important new easement for moving personal effects to UK

When an individual moves their primary residence to the UK, they can claim Transfer of Residence relief (ToR). If a written customs declaration is required when claiming ToR, e.g. if the goods are moved by a third party such as a removal firm, the declarant must provide individual commodity codes to classify each of the personal effects. For example, if a person is moving 35 different household items, they would need to provide up to 35 different commodity codes.

From 1st August 2022 the new easement will mean that (except for Excise goods and prohibited or restricted items) only a single commodity code from the new tariff chapter 99 will be required. 

14th June 2022

Have you heard of the Aspire Foundation - a part of CILT?   The purpose of the Aspire Foundation is to provide funded opportunities for education, training and development to UK and international applicants who have difficulty funding their own development.   If you meet the criteria funding could be available for our Certificate of Customs Competency, Advanced Customs Pratitioner, AEO Certified Practitioner and Diploma in Practical Trade Compliance courses.   See if you would qualify for a free grant 

19th May 2022

ACT NOW to switch from CHIEF to CDS

CHIEF is closing for import declarations on 30th Septmber 2022 - just 20 weeks from today!  CDS is live now for both imports and exports so there is no need to wait until the last minute.   HMRC have just published these checklists for Traders and for Freight Forwarders/Freight Agents/Customs Brokers/Hauliers/Logistics Providers  - take a look and start your switchover TODAY!

Trader checklist – moving to the Customs Declaration Service here

​Declarant checklist – moving to the Customs Declaration Service  here

10th May 2022
Five ways SME's can get free financial support from HMRC
1. Claim up to £5,000 with the Employment Allowance tax relief which allows eligible businesses to reduce their National Insurance contributions (NICs) bills each year. You can claim this if you’re a business, and your employer Class 1 National Insurance liabilities were less than £100,000 in the previous tax year.
Find out more on GOV.UK.

2. Get a discount of up to £5,000 on software, with the Help to Grow scheme that aims to help you choose, buy and adopt digital technologies that will help you grow your business. Eligible businesses can receive a 50% discount on buying new software worth up to £5,000 per SME, alongside free impartial advice and guidance about what digital technology is best suited to boost business performance.

The Help to Grow: Management scheme provides small businesses with access to world-class business expertise on everything from leadership and financial management to marketing and digital adoption. This is delivered through leading UK business schools, alongside one-on-one support from a business mentor – and is 90% funded by the government.

To be eligible, you must be a UK-based SME, actively trading for at least one year and have a total of between 5 and 249 employees.
For more information and to apply, visit Help to Grow on GOV.UK.

3. Get up to half off your business rates
From April this year, small retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses can benefit from 50% off their business rates bills. This is worth £1.7 billion for up to 400,000 eligible properties.

4. Invest in your business with Super-deduction and Annual Investment Allowance

To spur business investment, the super-deduction allows companies to cut their tax bill by 25 pence for every £1 they invest in any qualifying machinery and equipment. This can include the purchase of computers, most commercial vehicles and office furniture.

The temporary £1 million limit for the Annual Investment Allowance has also been extended to the end of March‌‌‌ 2023. The Annual Investment Allowance allows businesses to spend up to £1 million on qualifying business equipment, and deduct in-year its full cost before they calculate their taxable profits.

5. Benefit from the cut in Fuel Duty
The government has cut fuel duty on petrol and diesel by 5 pence per litre for 12 months – effective from 23‌‌‌ March‌‌‌ 2022.

28th April 2022

A Written Ministerial Statement has been issued this morning outlining that the remaining import controls on EU goods will no longer be introduced this year. Instead, traders will continue to move their goods from the EU to GB as they do now.

The statement can be found here

Additionally there is also a press release from the Cabinet Office here 

5th April 2022

Ongoing Problems with GVMS

Due to the ongoing system issues with Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS), HMRC are continuing to allow an interim measure enabling vehicles or trailers to travel without a Goods Movement Reference (GMR) until midday Thursday April 7th.  HMRC apologise for the inconvenience this is causing.

 The GVMS service availability page is being updated urgently

 Hauliers will need other evidence that a declaration has been made for example:

Transit Accompanying Document (TAD) (If unable to create a TAD, then photocopies or digital copies of copy 4 of the SAD should be carried)

Movement Reference Number (MRN)
Entry Reference Number (ERN)
Declaration Unique Consignment Reference (DUCR)
Postal Operators moving goods between GB and the EU will not be able to provide MRNs so alternative documentation can be accepted. Similarly, confirmation that consignments which qualify for the waiver that applies to parcels moving from GB into NI can also be accepted
Hauliers with empty vehicles can provide their GB EORI number

During this downtime, hauliers moving via Dover, Holyhead or Eurotunnel will not need to attend an Inland Border Facility unless they are instructed to by a customs officer, or if they are moving goods that are:

going to an office of departure or office of destination (starting or ending a transit movement);
covered by an ATA Carnet; or
need a CITES permit.

 Customs declarations must be ‘arrived’ once the goods have arrived in GB, so that HMRC is aware that the goods are in the country. During the downtime, it has not been possible for declarations to be ‘arrived’ automatically in CHIEF or CDS via GVMS.

 For goods that have arrived in GB while the interim measures have been in place, the declarant, trader or third-party intermediary who submitted the declaration will need to notify HMRC of the goods’ arrival manually.

 To do this the declarant, trader or third-party intermediary will need to log into CHIEF or CDS and send the ‘arrival’ message confirming the goods are in the UK.

HMRC are undertaking robust investigations into our systems to address the underlying issues behind this outage.  A further update will be provided before midday Thursday April 7th.

10th March 2022

Today HMRC has issued some legislation to make it simpler to move humanitarian aid from Great Britain in relation to support those impacted by the Ukraine crisis. The simplification of customs processes will apply to goods intended to support those affected by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine which are exported from GB. Provided the goods are not exported to, or through, Russia or Belarus, then these simplified processes apply to qualifying goods regardless of the destination to allow maximum flexibility to get aid to where the need is greatest.

The Government still recommends that organisations and people who would like to help donate cash through trusted charities and aid organisations, rather than donating goods. Cash can be transferred quickly to areas where it’s needed and individuals and aid organisations can use it to buy what’s most needed.

The linked guidance and press release set out what has been announced.


Press Release

4th March 2022

Due to the current abhorrent Russian war against Ukraine there are many people and organisations looking to move humanitarian aid to Ukraine and neighbouring countries.  HMRC have published guidance for those wishing to move goods to help with the relief effort.

15th December 2021

The UK Government has today announced that for goods moving directly to Great Britain from either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland the current arrangements for freight crossing the border will remain in place in 2022.    The changes starting from 1st January 2022 will apply to imports to Great Britain from all countries other than Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (The need for Customs declarations and SPS etc.).   This is a temporary measure and business will be given notice of when it is to end. 

The changes for exports from 1st January 2022 will be implemented in full.

The statement can be read here

14th December 2021

Correlation tables between 2021 and 2022 tariff codes (commodity codes) to eight digits now available here

New codes come into effect from 1st January 2022.

23rd September 2021

HMRC have issued new guidance for those wishing to be involved in or to use the new Freeports in England.

It is essential to understand the different parties involved in a Freeport:

The 'Freeport Consortium'.   This is the group of companies that have proposed the creation of the Freeport and who will maintain and run the whole Freeport.   There will only be one 'Freeport Consortium' per Freeport.    The Freeport Consortium do not need to be AEO(S) or AEO(C) certified.

'Customs Site Operators'.  This is a company that will run a 'Customs Site' within the Freeport.   There can be multiple Customs Sites within the Freeport and therefore there can be multiple Customs Site Operators for any given Freeport.   The 'Freeport Consortium' must agree to allow a company to become a Customs Site Operator within their Freeport before that company applies to HMRC to become a Customs Site Operator.   

A Customs Site Operator is required to be an AEO(S).    However, HMRC have recognised that a few companies that wish to become a Customs Site Operator will not be able to achieve AEO(S) at an entity level as is the normal requirement.    In this rare circumstance HMRC will insist that the Customs Site Operator does operate at the AEO(S) standards within the Freeport and a will issue a site specific approval for the Freeport Customs Site Operator Safety and Security Standard (FCSOSSS) instead of an entity level AEO(S).  However the FCSOSSS does not offer any of the AEO(S) benefits, achieving it will however permit a company to become a Customs Site Operator.

Within a Customs Site there can be multiple businesses of many types benefiting from the tax reliefs offered.  These businesses will not be required to hold AEO(S) by HMRC although it would be welcome if they did so as the Customs Site Operator within whose site they are operating will require them to have AEO(S) level security procedures.  They will be required to attain authorisation from HMRC to operate the new Freeport Customs Special Procedure (similar to the authorisation required to operate Inward Processing Relief etc.)

This link gives information regarding Customs Site Operators:

14th September 2021

The Government has today announced a change to the timetable for the introduction of full import controls for goods from the EU:

'Full customs declarations and controls will be introduced on 1 January 2022 as previously announced, although safety and security declarations will now not be required until 1 July 2022.

Under the revised timetable:

The requirements for pre-notification of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) goods, which were due to be introduced on 1 October 2021, will now be introduced on 1 January 2022.
The new requirements for Export Health Certificates, which were due to be introduced on 1 October 2021, will now be introduced on 1 July 2022.
Phytosanitary Certificates and physical checks on SPS goods at Border Control Posts, due to be introduced on 1 January 2022, will now be introduced on 1 July 2022.
Safety and Security declarations on imports will be required as of 1 July 2022 as opposed to 1 January 2022. Full customs declarations and controls will be introduced on 1 January 2022 as previously announced.'

The announcement can be found here

27th August 2021

HMRC have extended the period during which goods being imported to Northern Ireland (NI) by airfreight from outside GB and EU can be declared via CHIEF beyond 31st August 2021.  However, HMRC have stressed that all Traders should move across to CDS or TSS as soon as possible and that the final date for processing any imports to NI by any means of transport from outside GB and EU via CHIEF is 31st October 2021.

7th August 2021

The UK Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) is introducing a new digital licensing service called LITE to replace SPIRE.    The ECJU advise that LITE will streamline the application process using increased automation to support robust licence decision-making and it will have an intuitive user interface which will save exporters time with faster processing of licence applications and better signposting to helpful advice.

LITE is currently in private BETA test and will soon move to public BETA testing after SPIRE will be closed and LITE will take over.  Dates will be advised in due course.

5th August 2021

Closure of CHIEF for imports to Northern Ireland from the end of this month

For goods being imported to Northern Ireland (NI) from outside GB and EU – last date CHIEF can be used for the import declaration for goods imported by airfreight is 31st August 2021

For goods being imported to Northern Ireland (NI) from outside GB and EU – last date CHIEF can be used for the import declaration for goods imported by maritime and other movements is 31st October 2021

From those dates onwards CDS must be used.

HMRC had advised in January that the ‘contingency’ or ‘easement’ to allow CHIEF still to be used for these types of imports was temporary.   HMRC say the change has to be made to be compliant with the NI Protocol and they have to prioritise legal compliance which is why these dates cannot be the same as the 2022 and 2023 dates for GB to swap over the CDS.

NI – RoW declarations will still be via CHIEF until further notice but this will swap to CDS at some point in the not too distant future.

HMRC’s guidance is that if your software provider is not ready to swap to CDS then you should swap to using the free TSS service which is able to make a full frontier declaration for users via CDS.

TSS is increasing the functionality of their system during August and this will include the ability to complete declarations that use Special Procedures (Inward Processing, Customs Warehousing etc.).   Currently intermediaries can’t have their own accounts on TSS but this will be permitted during October.   TSS are a digital first provider and do not offer advice to importers or exporters.   There is however specific Northern Ireland training of various types available on the

HMRC are offering a free Trader Dress Rehearsal service where companies can use their own software to make dummy declarations via CDS to improve their understanding of how to do this.  Apparently companies that have already done this have reduced their failure rate from 90% to 10%.  Companies will however, be considered to be ready to be live on the real CDS once they have completed their first successful submission.
Companies are reminded that you need a guarantee to hold a deferment account for NI which will be separate to a deferment account for GB so some companies will need two.   

Companies need to register via the government gateway to use CDS and also need to register for ‘method of payment’ and can then consult the customs financial accounts dashboard on CDS to see their deferment account.

It is also recommended that anyone who intends to make an entry read Volume 3 of the Tariff for CDS.

3rd August 2021

Dates for the closure of CHIEF have now been announced.

CHIEF will close for import declarations on 30th September 2022

CHIEF will close for export declarations on 31st March 2023

CHIEF will remain open for post clearance requirements until June 2023.

From these dates all customs declarations will need to be input via the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

CDS is live now and more than a million declarations have already been completed in CDS collecting more than £50m in revenue.

HMRC will shortly publish a range of guidance to assist importers, exporters and intermediaries to migrate to CDS.

Input to CDS is not structured in the same way as CHIEF with more data being required and in some cases different codes.   Whilst the closure dates seem some way off it is vital that exporters and importers begin to discuss software changes and the provision of the additional data that will be required.

We can help you understand the changes and how they will impact your business so that the switch over will be as straightforward as possible.

21st July 2021

The UK Government has published the Command Paper -Northern Ireland Protocol: The way forward 

20th July 2021

The UK Government has published an updated version of the Border Operating Model. Find it here

7th July 2021

CIP 1 - Goods arriving in Great Britain without an import declaration  published

Essential reading for those with Non Statutory declarations - where you have missed the 6 month deadline!

Options for those who have imported items under staged imports without managing to enter information in their records or to complete a supplementary customs entry

20th April 2021

It has been announced today that hauliers no longer need a Kent Access Permit to travel between the UK and the EU. Other traffic management measures will also be removed this month.  Details can be found here

11th March 2021

The UK Government has today announced important changes to the three stage approach to imports that was being applied at the end of EU Transition.

The stages will be altered as follows:

Pre-notification requirements for Products of Animal Origin (POAO), certain animal by-products (ABP), and High Risk Food Not Of Animal Origin (HRFNAO) will not be required until 1 October 2021.

Export Health Certificate requirements for POAO and certain ABP will come into force on the same date.

Customs import declarations will still be required, but the option to use the deferred declaration scheme, including submitting supplementary declarations up to six months after the goods have been imported, has been extended to 1 January 2022.

Safety and Security Declarations for imports will not be required until 1 January 2022.

Physical SPS checks for POAO, certain ABP, and HRFNAO will not be required until 1 January 2022. At that point they will take place at Border Control Posts.

Physical SPS checks on high risk plants will take place at Border Control Posts, rather than at the place of destination as now, from 1 January 2022.

Pre-notification requirements and documentary checks, including phytosanitary certificates will be required for low risk plants and plant products, and will be introduced from 1 January 2022.

From March 2022, checks at Border Control Posts will take place on live animals and low risk plants and plant products.

Traders moving controlled goods into Great Britain will continue to be ineligible for the deferred customs declaration approach. They will therefore be required to complete a full customs declaration when the goods enter Great Britain.

11th February 2021

NEW FREE GRANTS available to importers and exporters for customs training and consultancy.   Up to £2000 per company.  Available to UK established companies which have been established for at least 12 months or hold AEO status with up to 500 employees  and up to £100 million turnover.  Companies must be importing or exporting their own goods between GB and the EU or moving goods between GB and NI.  

Grants will be applicable to all our courses and consultancy.

Applications will open shortly - the link for applications will be published here as soon as it is available.

20th January 2021

HMRC have issued the following update re Transit:

Transit Guarantees
In order for a trader to start a movement under Transit in the UK they must have a Transit Guarantee registered on NCTS and linked to the EORI that they are using to start the transit movement. This has always been the case and no change has been made to this requirement. This guarantee must be sufficient to cover the maximum amount of duties suspended under transit at any single point in time. The duty is calculated according to the tariff of the country of departure without taking into account any preferences.  Again, this position has not changed.

On 14 January the NCTS system was updated to require traders to enter a value for the level of duties deferred under each movement when they lodge their declarations onto NCTS. This change allowed NCTS to track each traders usage of their guarantee, and would prevent traders from starting new movements if the guarantee they have registered onto NCTS was not sufficient.

Communication of the change

This update affected traders using dedicated NCTS software packages only, and was communicated to all software providers and industry contacts who develop software in house. The details were also published on in the Community, Common Transit and TIR Newsletters both in November 2020 and then reiterated again in January 2021

CCG Guarantee applications

There are no backlogs of applications and the HMRC team are working to process all urgently, but please note;

  • HMRC operate at a CTC regulator and cannot increase guarantees without the relevant paperwork which underwrites the debt by the bank or financial institution. 
  • Additional asks on paperwork/information should be returned as quickly as possible to avoid delay

15th January 2021

Guidance is available on importing goods (removals) for those moving home to the UK  - find it here

You can find the form to apply for transfer of residence relief (ToR1) here

11th January 2021

Full guidance has been issued to assist importers to meet the phased requirements for the movement of plants and plant products.  Check out if you need a phytosanitary certificate and to pre-notify its movement here

10th January 2021

If you use wood packaging for your goods moving between EU and UK the rules have changed and your packaging must now be compliant with ISPM15.  Packaging can be inspected either in UK or EU for compliance so vehicles will be held up if any wood packaging is found that is not compliant.  Full details here

8th January 2021

We have produced an End of Transition Headlines / Information paper containing the following sections: 

  • Confusion buster regarding non-UK, non-domiciled, non UK established companies
  • What’s all the fuss about the new VAT rules?
  • But what about the fuss regarding VAT and Repair/Refurbishment imports?
  • Contract Confusion
  • The UK – EU Trade Co-Operation Agreement (TCA)

Access the paper here

1st January 2021

A new version (3) of the Border Operating Model has been published to reflect the end of the Transition Period.    It can be found here     There is also a separate link to 13 step by step case studies to assist exporters and importers with their understanding.  They can be found here    Both are essential reading!

The Hauliers' Handbook is also available and is essential reading for anyone engaged in international haulage with the EU  It can be found here

31st December 2020

The Transition Period with the EU has ended at 11pm.   All goods movements between GB/EU and EU/GB are now subject to the same customs rules as moving goods to the rest of the world.   Customs declarations are required.  Duty is payable at import unless the duty rate for a particular item is zero or the importer can make use of either an origin based discount under the new UK - EU Trade and Co-Operation Agreement or a Special Customs Procedure such as Inward Processing Relief.   VAT is also payable at import either through a deferment account or via Postponed VAT Accounting where VAT is accounted for on your VAT return in the UK.   Imports to most EU countries will use a deferment account to pay import VAT but some countries offer schemes similar to Postponed VAT Accounting.

The rules for GB/NI, NI/GB and NI/EU are different.

24th December 2020

The UK - EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) has been signed and will come into effect from 11.01pm 31st December 2020.   This is the so-called Free Trade Agreement.    It covers many aspects of moving goods between UK-EU and includes rules of origin which must be met to ensure duty free imports and mutual recognition of AEO(S) status between the EU and the UK programs.    It can be accessed here 

24th December 2020

Please note that the Intermediary Customs Grant Scheme is nearing full allocation of funds.  If your application cannot be fulfilled due to funding, it will be placed on a waiting list to have funds allocated if and when funds are returned.  All applications are considered on a first come first served basis.

12th December 2020

HMRC have published detailed guidance for companies wishing to use Transit via Dover or Eurotunnel including details of inland offices of departure/arrival.    Find full details here

Details for Drivers have also been published on what to do when attending inland sites.  Find full details here

11th December 2020

A list of ports where the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) will be used from 1st January 2021 has been published.   Details here   GVMS will be used for road haulage under Transit EU to GB from 1st January and for Northern Ireland from 1st January.    GVMS EU-GB for non-transit shipments will be implemented from 1st July 2021.

You can register to use GVMS here

8th December 2020

The Transit Procedure (Common Transit Convention) is a customs procedure that allows the movement of goods to, from, through or between the countries that have signed the Common Transit Convention without the need to:

  • complete customs declarations until they end their transit movement
  • pay customs duties and other charges on the goods until they end their transit movement

This includes movements to, from, through or between all EU member states.

Union transit is a customs procedure that allows goods not in free circulation, to move within the EU, while customs duties or other charges are suspended. It also allows goods that are in free circulation to move from a point of departure in the EU, to point of destination in the EU, through the territory of a third country.

Transit can help you move your goods from the UK to EU and other common transit countries more quickly and without paying UK duties where those duties have already been suspended, because:

  • customs declarations and duties are not required at each border crossing
  • you can complete some customs processes away from the border at either:

an office of departure or destination
your own premises if you are an authorised consignor or consignee

New guidance has been issued for those wishing to use the procedure from 1st January 2021 - full details here

7th December 2020

ATA Carnets are used to temporarily move goods between countries that are signatories to the ATA Convention without having to pay import duty and tax.   ATA Carnets are paper documents that require physical customs stamps (wet stamps) at each port/airport of departure and at each port/airport of arrival.  Not all ports/airports have the facilities needed to do this, in particular Dover and the Eurotunnel therefore the stamps have to be obtained at inland customs facilities.   Find out where those facilities are here for Dover and Eurotunnel and here for Hollyhead.

5th December 2020

The Haulier's Handbook has now been published - a must read for all those involved in international road haulage whether as drivers, managers of haulage or exporters and importers using road freight.   Find it here

16th November 2020

Great news - the HMRC Free training grant scheme is now open to companies who use 3rd parties such as freight agents to complete their customs declarations (entries).  To be eligible companies need to be an importer or exporter who will be new to customs as a result of the UK leaving the EU and who does not plan to complete their own declarations.    Companies can claim up to £1000 per company to cover training costs.

The training grant scheme continues to cover up to £1500 per delegate per training course for companies who complete or intend to complete their own customs declarations but this has now been extended to include companies that have been established for less than 12 months that hold AEO accreditation - either AEO(C) or AEO(S) is acceptable.

Hurry to ensure you are prepared for the end of EU Transition and to ensure your application is authorised before the money runs out!   Half of the latest £50 million provided has already been allocated.

Companies with considerably larger training projects can apply for between 50-70% of the eligible costs of a new training project, up to 2 million Euros under the General Block Exemption Regulations (GBER) for Training Aid.

Apply here

3rd November 2020

EORI numbers are changing - will you be ready for January?

You need an EORI number to move goods between the UK and non-EU countries but from 1 January 2021 you will also need one to move goods between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and the EU. You may also need one if you move goods to or from Northern Ireland.

From 1 January 2021 you’ll need an EORI number that starts with XI to:

  • move goods between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries
  • make a declaration in Northern Ireland
  • get a customs decision in Northern Ireland

To get an EORI number that starts with XI, you must already have an EORI number that starts with GB. If you do not have one, apply for an EORI number that starts with GB as soon as possible.

If you already have an EORI number that starts with GB and HMRC thinks you need one that starts with XI, they’ll automatically send you one in mid-December 2020.

From 1 January 2021 you’ll need an EORI number that starts with GB to move goods between Great Britain and other countries.  Check your EORI number. Apply for a new one if yours does not start with GB.

Further details available here

27th October 2020

The Smart Freight IT system or as it is now known 'Check an HGV is ready to cross the border' now has a demo system which anyone can use to familiarise themselves with what is required and how the system works.

Use of this system will be compulsory for all vehicles of 7.5 tonnes or more heading to the EU from Dover or the Eurotunnel from 1st January 2021.    Use of the system will be advisory for vehicles under 7.5 tonnes.

The Check an HGV is ready to cross the border service will provide advice on documentation that HGVs over 7.5 tonnes will need when exporting freight from GB to the EU after December 31st 2020. The service will also generate a Kent Access Permit for those who confirm either that they have – or will obtain en route – the necessary customs documentation.

You should note that the driver could be stopped and fined up to £300 and/or turned away if the vehicle proceeds to the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel without a Kent Access Permit. Compliance checks of documentation may be conducted and fines issued to those found to have provided false information when applying for the Kent Access Permit.   Vehicles stopped and found to be without a valid Kent Access Permit will either be directed to a vehicle park where they can take the time to obtain the correct documentation or will be directed to return to their own depot or the exporter's premises.

The test system can be accessed here

26th October 2020

The UK Government has published new guidance regarding how businesses should account for VAT on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.   Full details are available here

26th October 2020

Find out about how to move excise goods as freight under the Northern Ireland Protocol from 1 January 2021

Full details are available here

​25th October 2020

There is a new open general export licence (OGEL) which allows the export of dual-use items (with both a civilian and military application) from the UK to EU member states and the Channel Islands from 1st January 2021.  Don't forget to register via Spire if you want to use it.    The text of the OGEL can be seen here

24th October 2020

From 1 January 2021 you’ll need an EORI number that starts with XI to:

  • move goods between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries
  • make a declaration in Northern Ireland
  • get a customs decision in Northern Ireland

To get an EORI number that starts with XI, you must already have an EORI number that starts with GB. If you do not have one, apply for an EORI number that starts with GB as soon as possible.

If you already have an EORI number that starts with GB and HMRC thinks you need one that starts with XI, they’ll automatically send you one in mid-December 2020.

To get advice on moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland sign up for the Trader Support Service. If you sign up your business before 23 November, this will also ensure you’ll be sent an EORI starting with XI.    You can sign up for the Trader Support Service here

17th October 2020

Countries that along with the United Kingdom left the EU on 31st January 2020.   Customs procedures for importing goods to or from the EU will change from 1st January 2021.

The United Kingdom –
Northern Ireland

The British Overseas Territories –
British Antarctic Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Falkland Islands
Pitcairn Islands
St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands

and the Crown Dependencies:
Channel Islands
Isle of Man

16th October 2020

The list of 'Controlled' goods has been updated.  

If your goods appear on this list and you are importing them from the EU you will NOT be able to use the staged importing process.   Instead from 1st January 2021 you must complete a customs declaration as the goods cross the border and you must pay import duty,VAT and if applicable Excise duty.    You can pay this against a deferment account which can either by your own account or a third party's such as a freight forwarder.

14th October 2020

From 1st January 2021 companies registered in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) will no longer need a guarantee to hold or open a deferment account or to be authorised for Special Procedures such as Inward Processing, End-Use or Customs Warehousing.   

From 1/1/2021 GB based traders who meet the tests of solvency and compliance will not need to provide a guarantee in order to defer import duty up to £10,000.  

From 1/1/2021 GB based traders who meet the test of solvency, compliance and sufficient financial resources will be able to defer an agreed amount of import duty above £10,000 without a guarantee.

From 1/1/2021 GB based traders who meet the test of solvency and compliance will not be required to provide a guarantee to use Special Procedures.   

Existing holders can apply to HMRC to cancel their guarantees.   HMRC expect to issue the methodology for doing this by 31/10/2020.   This will represent a considerable saving for many importers.

HMRC will advise traders if they don’t meet the tests of solvency, compliance and sufficient financial resources in which case guarantees will be required.

The new application process including the guarantee waiver is expected to be ready by 31/10/2020.

However, a customs comprehensive guarantee will still be required for other customs procedures such as Union and Common Transit. 

Companies registered in Northern Ireland will continue to need a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee.  The waivers will not apply in Northern Ireland.

8th October 2020

The UK Government has today published a new Border Operating Model detailing the processes between GB and EU from 1/1/2021.  This is essential reading for anyone in the supply chain moving goods across borders with the EU:

14th August 2020

The rules for moving goods GB to EU via RORO ports from 1st January 2021 will be very different to those we use today.   Traders/Intermediaries/Hauliers will need to interface with EU systems, lodge import entries or transit entries and attain the 'arrived' status and an MRN number for each consignment (this is linked to the vehicle registration number) BEFORE boarding the ferry at the port of export.  Do you know your systems?

SI Brexit System

This is the interface between the carriers at French Ports and the Eurotunnel terminals and the French customs declaration system.

The Portbase System

This is the Dutch Port Community System of Portbase.

RX Seaport

The Belgian system for Zeebrugge that joins up the data submitted and required by all parties at the port of Zeebrugge via e-Desk.   Although under the same name RX Seaport for Antwerp links to the Port Community of C-Point.

Teleport 2.0

Ports in the South of Spain such as Algeciras Port Authority us the Teleport 2.0 platform.  A similar system is being rolled out for the northern ports of Santander and Bilbao.

The AEP System

All customs declarations for import to the Republic of Ireland are lodged via this system.

10th August 2020

The new Trader Support Service (TSS) for imports to Northern Ireland.   Traders who wish to make use of the new free service need to sign up to register their interest and to receive further information.   The TSS will record electronic information on goods movements so that traders do not have to engage with new digital customs systems or processes.  The TSS will deal with formalities such as import customs declarations and safety an security information on behalf of traders at no cost to traders.   Register your interest here.

8th August 2020

The rules regarding product conformity marking will change from 1st January 2021.   Manufacturers and importers will need to choose between the UKCA mark, the UK(NI) mark and the EU CE mark or perhaps a combination.   For example it will not be permitted for products carrying both the EU CE mark and the UK(NI) mark to be placed on the EU market.   Goods carrying only the UKCA mark will not be valid for the Northern Ireland market.   Look out for further detail and guidance which is to be published in the next few weeks.

7th August 2020

An addition to the Northern Ireland Protocol command paper has now been issued - Moving Goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.   This paper gives great detail on the requirements for general and specific products such as food.   There is considerable detail on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Declarations, CITES and Licensable goods.  The paper also introduces the Trader Support Service (TSS).    This new service will be provided to exporters, importers and intermediaries for free.   It will offer support and guidance on the new NI regulations from September 2020 and will allow import customs declarations and SPS Declarations to be made from 1st January 2021.     Whilst this will undoubtedly be helpful to NI importers many in the industry believe it will destroy the intermediary and customs broker businesses that currently exist in NI as they will not be able to compete with a completely free service.  Read the full paper here.

3rd August 2020

Of particular interest to hauliers and freight companies using the short straights crossings (Dover etc.) is the UK government consultation on how to enforce operation Brock plans from 1st January 2021.   This proposal is open for comment until 11.59pm 23rd August 2020 so there is still time to contribute.    The plan includes changes to permitted approach roads, road layouts and alteration to border readiness plans so checks are completed with an online system, called the Smart Freight Service (SFS), and take place outside Kent with permits being issued to drivers with compliant loads allowing them to enter Kent.    Access the consultation here

29th July 2020

HMRC has extended the free grant scheme until June 2021 with an additional £50m in funding.   All our customs related courses qualify for the free grants which cover the course fee and travel expenses (Public, in-house and bespoke courses) up to £1500 per person per course for as many courses as you wish.   The grants are available to exporters, importers, hauliers, warehouse keepers, intermediaries, freight agents, etc. etc.   Basically anyone involved in customs entries which is anyone moving goods across borders from 1st January 2021.    The grants are also still available for the purchase of IT (Software and hardware) and training in the use of the IT along with a generous scheme to cover the cost of recruitment and up to 3 months salary of additional staff.   You really shouldn't miss out!   Apply today      The maximum grant per company cannot exceed Euro 200,000.

27th July 2020

HMRC has published a guide  showing how to complete your VAT return if you are using Postponed VAT Accounting from 1st January 2021.    Any UK VAT registered company that has decided to take up the offer of using Entry in Declarants Records instead of completing a customs declaration at the time of import should note that an estimate of the import VAT due on each shipment must be entered to the first VAT return submitted after the import.   When the customs declaration is completed and the correct amount of VAT is therefore known the estimate must be corrected on the next VAT return.  Further details here.

20th July 2020

From 1st January 2021 there will be important changes to the payment of VAT when goods are imported.

For imports of goods from outside the UK in consignments not exceeding £135 in value (which aligns with the threshold for customs duty liability), HMRC will be moving the point at which VAT is collected from the point of importation to the point of sale. This will mean that UK supply VAT, rather than import VAT, will be due on these consignments.

The new arrangements will also involve the abolition of Low Value Consignment Relief, which relieves import VAT on consignments of goods valued at £15 or less.

Online marketplaces (OMPs), where they are involved in facilitating the sale, will be responsible for collecting and accounting for the VAT.

For goods sent from overseas and sold directly to UK consumers without OMP involvement, the overseas seller will be required to register and account for the VAT to HMRC.  This is a significant change and overseas sellers need to act now to become registered in the UK.

Business to business sales not exceeding £135 in value will also be subject to the new rules. However, where the business customer is VAT registered in the UK and provides its valid VAT registration number to the seller, the VAT will be accounted for by the customer by means of a reverse charge.

The changes will not apply to consignments of goods containing excise goods or to non- commercial transactions between private individuals. Existing rules will continue to apply for these transactions.

In addition, for sales of goods by overseas sellers, where the goods are already in the UK at the point of sale, we will move the responsibility for accounting for VAT from the overseas seller to the OMP that facilitates the sale.

Overseas sellers will remain responsible for accounting for the VAT on goods already in the UK and sold directly to UK consumers without OMP involvement.

Although these arrangements will mean that for many consignments not exceeding £135 in value there will no longer be any VAT to collect at the border, customs declarations will still be required for non-fiscal purposes. However, in recognition of the changed role of the customs declaration for affected consignments, a number of facilitation’s, including the use of reduced data sets and bulk declarations will be available

For imports of goods by UK VAT registered businesses which are not covered by the provisions in this guidance note e.g. valued over £135, there will also be changes from 1 January 2021. Businesses will be able to use postponed VAT accounting to account for import VAT on their VAT return for goods imported from anywhere in the world.

13th July 2020

The UK Government has today published the new Border Operating Model (BOM) detailing the new processes for moving goods to and from the EU that will apply to all goods from 1st Janaury 2021.  This 206 page document contains details of the new processes and IT systems that will be required whatever mode of transport is chosen.   We've read it so you don't have to!  Contact us for more information.  All our training courses have been updated to include the new requirements.   You can access the full document here

13th July 2020

​Importing animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin from 1 January 2021.

Companies will no longer have access to the EU’s import system TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) from 1 January 2021.  Instead companies will need to use the UK’s new Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) for imports of:

  • live animals
  • products of animal origin (POAO) subject to veterinary checks
  • high-risk food and feed not of non-animal origin
  • germplasm (also called germinal products)
  • animal by-products not intended for human consumption (ABP) subject to veterinary checks

IPAFFS will be used for items coming from the EU and the Rest of the World.

12th July 2020

The Government Freeports Consultation ends tomorrow - so don't delay get your response in today!

Excellent response from Dover Port not just to manage the end of the EU Transition period but to drive future growth and investment.   See more here

12th July 2020

Government announces £705m boost for EU Transition including the recruitment of an extra 500 Border Force officers and money to build inspection posts not just at ports but also inland.  See more here

25th June 2020

Help for those who cannot afford to pay import duty and VAT due to cashflow issues caused by COVID-19 pandemic:

Businesses who have been unable to make payments of customs duties and import VAT due in April, May and June have been able to request an Extended Payment Arrangement (EPA) but this will not be continued into July. 

From 1st July all payments (cash, deposit and duty deferment) will be expected to be paid on time.  Businesses may need to re-instate their direct debits or set up new direct debits.  If the Direct Debit is not in place by the payment date businesses will need to make an electronic payment quoting their Deferment Approval Number as a reference.

Full details regarding direct debits including mandate forms can be found here 

However, if a business is still experiencing financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19 and is unable to pay import duties due in July (including any amounts becoming payable under a previously agreed EPA) they may be able to set-up a Time to Pay (TTP) arrangement with HMRC.  Time to Pay allows a business to pay in installments.  Before approaching HMRC for a TTP arrangement HMRC would expect businesses to have sought finance through other channels. Some examples would include:

• loans and overdrafts
• share capital
• director’s loans
• debt factoring and invoice discounting
• sale and leaseback
• venture capital
• Government-backed grant and loan schemes

If HMRC cannot agree a TTP, consideration will be given to the suspension of the Duty Deferment Account and collection of the guarantee (if one is available).   From 1st July HMRC will levy interest on amounts due on a TTP and any overdue debts on an EPA. 

12th June 2020

Urgent Update on Customs Procedures for end of the Transition Period

It has today been confirmed that the transition period will end on 31st December 2020.

Any agreement with the EU on a Free Trade Agreement will not alter the requirements for imports from the EU to GB from 1st January 2021.

UK government has today announced it will take a phased approach to imposing normal import controls on Goods moving from EU to GB

The following phased approach will NOT apply to the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and GB or GB to Northern Ireland.   The Command Paper -the UK’s approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol gives information on customs formalities between GB and Northern Ireland.

The following phased approach will NOT apply to imports from outside the EU.

1st January 2021

Customs procedures will apply to ALL goods at the time of import and all traders should now prepare to engage in customs formalities and compliant record keeping.

Special easements for goods moving from the EU to GB:

So-called ‘Standard Goods’ such as clothing and electronics but not plants, animals or those subject to import licences or CITES for example, can use a modified CFSP procedure in order to delay submitting a full customs declaration and to delay paying import duty for six months from the date of import.  A simplified declaration will need to be submitted at the time of import. 

Either the freight agent/forwarder/fast parcels operator or the importer of record will need to be Authorised for CFSP in order to take advantage of this easement.

To encourage the use of CFSP the Government is changing the rules on legal liability for debts under this procedure – financial risk will be removed from the freight agent/forwarder/fast parcels operator when using their own CFSP Authorisation for their clients’ imports.

VAT registered businesses should use Postponed VAT accounting to manage the import VAT.

There will be checks on controlled goods like alcohol and tobacco.  There will also be physical checks at the point of destination or other approved premises on all high-risk live animals, plants and their by-products.  Documentary checks will be carried out remotely. Pre-notification will be required.

Safety and Security declarations will not be required for six months for all goods.

Traders moving controlled goods such as tobacco, CITES goods and toxic chemicals into GB will be required to complete a full customs declaration when the goods enter GB.  There will continue to be documentary and physical checks on these goods. 

1st April 2021

All products of animal origin (POAO) for example meat, pet food, honey, milk or egg products and regulated plants and plant products will require pre-notification prior to import along with the relevant health documentation e.g. Health Certificates.

The six month easement will continue to apply for Standard Goods

1st July 2021

All goods will move to full customs procedures at import with the six month’s time to pay easement will cease.

In addition Full Safety and Security declarations will be required, while for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) commodities there will be an increase in physical checks and the taking of samples: checks for animals, plants and their products will now take place at GB Border Control Posts.

 Additional Announcements

The Government has committed today to building new border facilities in GB for carrying out required checks, such as customs compliance, transit, and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks, as well as providing targeted support to ports to build new infrastructure.

Where there is no space at ports for new infrastructure, the Government will build new inland sites where these checks and other activities will take place. The Government is consulting with ports across the UK to agree what infrastructure is required.

 Low Value Bulking of Imports (LVBI) scheme will continue to operate throughout 2021 in the UK to allow parcel operators to continue declaring multiple consignments in a single customs declaration.  

Whilst the existing Free grants scheme for training, IT and recruitment for companies involved in import and export will continue until funding runs out, a new £50 million support package will be provided to boost the capacity of the customs sector - including customs brokers, freight forwarders and express parcel operators - providing businesses with further support ahead of the new processes taking effect in July 2021. This funding will cover recruitment, training and supplying IT equipment to help handle customs declarations.

For further information or if you need assistance please get in touch

11th June 2020

The UK Government has published a Command Paperconcerning the UK's approach to the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol.   The intent is that the concepts and processes set out in the paper will come into force on 1st January 2021 when the current implementation period ends so any business involved in moving cargo to or from NI needs to take note now and alter their processes accordingly.   Many of the details in this paper are within the UK's 'gift' which means the UK does not need EU agreement to implement them.  Some of the details will require EU approval and are therefore subject to the ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU.

As far as customs processes are concerned the basic elements are as follows:

Goods moving from NI to GB

No change to today's processes.  No additional paperwork, no additional processes, no tariffs, no customs checks, no new regulatory checks or additional approvals.   Goods can move freely (unfettered access).

The only exception to the above would be goods that are subject to Special Procedures such as Inward Processing or Customs Warehousing where they are in duty suspension or subject to CITES (Endangered Species regulations).  In these cases there will be some new procedures (details still to be confirmed).

Goods moving from GB to NI

There will be no export declaration, no exit declaration or customs or regulatory clearance as goods leave GB destined for NI.  

On arrival in NI all goods will be subject to EU customs rules (the UCC will still be implemented in NI).  There will therefore be new electronic import declaration requirements and safety and security information requirements to be entered via CDS not CHIEF.   Goods destined for NI will not be required to pay any import duty or VAT.   Goods destined for Ireland will pay duty based on the EU Common External Tariff (CET).   If there is doubt about whether or not the goods will stay in NI or go to Ireland then the CET must be paid and if the goods subsequently remain in NI the importer can pursue a reclaim.

There are special rules for agri-food goods - some checks will still apply so these goods must enter via an Border Inspection Post or Designated Point of Entry and would be subject to identity and documentary checks and physical inspection by the UK Authorities.  The existing facilities at Belfast Port, Belfast International Airport, Belfast City Airport and Warrenpoint Port will be expanded to cope with the additional checks required.

Goods moving from Ireland to UK

These goods will be subject to third country customs procedures e.g. customs entries will be required and the new UK Global Tariff codes and duty rates will apply.

The UK has also published a questionnaire for businesses engaged in UK-NI Trade. This questionnaire lets HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) identify who moves goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It also gives companies the opportunity to opt in to receive more information about updated guidance throughout the transition period.    We would recommend that companies complete this questionnaire as soon as possible.   

8th June 2020

UK Government has published details regarding the movement of plants and plant material from 1st January 2021.   As the UK will be treated as a third party, rules for the movement of these goods to and from the EU will change.   

1st June 2020

From today all new applications for AEO in the UK must be made through the EU Trader Portal.

This also applies to those operating Inward Processing Relief with a requirement to submit an INF form.

29th May 2020

Good news!  HMRC have confirmed that the 'time to pay' easement for import duty via deferment accounts will apply to the June 15th round.   Please see 6th May entry below for details of how to apply for 'time to pay' if you are unable to meet your obligations due to a lack of cash flow due to COVID-19.

19th May 2020

The new UK Global Tariff has been issued today.   It gives tariff/commodity codes for import to and export from the UK applicable from 1st January 2021, it also gives the new rates of import duty.   It is much simplified from the current tariff with many rates reduced to zero.   It is also UK centric in that it favours UK industry and producers etc. 

Register for our FREE live webinar which explains the changes and their impact here   

See further details here     

Check your new tariff code and rateshere

18th May 2020

From 1st June the method of application for AEO certification from HMRC will change.   Applications submitted by or on 31st May can be submitted using the current method.

From 1st June all applications for AEO must be submitted via the EU Customs Trader Portal.   This change is being forced by the rules in the Union Customs Code and will change again from 1st January 2021 when Great Britain is no longer subject to the UCC.    The position for Northern Ireland is less clear as from 1st January 2021 Northern Ireland will be subject to both the UCC and UK rules.

Applicants must contact HMRC to gain access to the EU Customs Trader Portal.   HMRC advise it will take up to 5 working days for you to receive access from the date of your request.

Further details will be available in our FREE live webinar on Wednesday 27th May 1.30pm - Register here

8th May 2020

Exporters wishing to obtain an A.TR1, EUR1, EUR-MED must use special procedures during the COVID-19 outbreak. Exporters should complete the appropriate online form:

  • movement of goods to and from Turkey - A.TR (C1232) Form
  • claim preferential duty rates on goods exported to countries that have a preferential trading agreement with the EU - EUR1 (C1299) Form
  •  record preferential trade in goods between the UK and participating countries - EUR1-MED (C1300) Form

​Exporters must remember to include their company’s email address on the form. Once completed, attach and send the form in an email, putting either ‘EUR1 endorsement’, ‘A.TR endorsement’ or ‘EURMED endorsement’ in the subject line to:   HMRC will check and verify your application and send it back to your company’s email address within 48 hours.

6th May 2020

Help for those who cannot afford to pay import duty and VAT due to cashflow issues caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

Deferment accounts due to be debited 15th May 2020 - HMRC have confirmed that the 'time to pay' help will once again be available.   Importers should contact HMRC to request an extension and payment plan.  This applies both to new applicants and those who attained a 'time to pay' extension for the 15th April direct debit.    Contact details are the same as listed on the 10th April News entry below and importers must give details of how the COVID-19 outbreak has put them into severe financial difficulties.  

Freight agents and other intermediaries can also apply for 'time to pay' against their deferment accounts if they are in severe financial difficulties for example because their importers are unable to pay.   However, HMRC will expect freight agents and intermediaries who are approved for time to pay, to pass on the extensions to their importers.

Those without a deferment account can also apply for time to pay - see details on 10th April entry below.

Applications should be made without delay to ensure everything is in place before 15th May - we would recommend using email contact in the first instance as there are likely to be long queues on the phone lines.

1st May 2020

Once the Brexit transition period has ended (31st December 2020) the UK will have its own Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) scheme separate from the EU.  This scheme reduces or removes rates of duty (tariffs) on imports from listed developing countries into the UK.   Under the EU scheme countries are split into three lists with different benefits for each list - 1. Everything but Arms (EBA), 2. Standard GSP and 3. GSP+ the UK scheme also splits countries into three lists which are currently the same as the EU lists but the lists will have different names:  1. Least Developed countries framework (LDCF), 2. General Framework and 3. Enhanced Framework.  Full details can be found here

28th April 2020

Exporting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 outbreak to countries outside of the EU and EFTA territories:  Exporters should note that these exports will need a PPE Licence before they can take place.   The licencing process is being jointly operated by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department of International Trade.    Would be exporters can apply for a licence on the Department of Health and Social Care website.   Full details of the tariff codes affected and the licencing procedure can be found here

15th April 2020

HMRC have confirmed that they will accept claims for preferential tariff rates based on origin, using a copy of the original preference certificate held by the declarant.  This is a temporary easement due to COVI-19.

11th April 2020

The Department for International Trade has issued new instructions and information for the application and processing of export licences for dual use and strategic goods - with immediate effect:

  • the response time for RFIs has been increased from 20 to 40 working days
  • original copies of end user and stockist undertakings are not required - digital/electronic signatures on supporting documentation (including pdf versions of end user undertakings and stockist undertakings) are acceptable
  • for exporting firearms and ammunition to EU member states, the EC3 and EC4 forms on GOV.UK have been amended to an ‘unlocked’ Word document to enable the ECJU to add the details in box 9 and 10 electronically - they will then email the completed signed/stamped EC3 to exporters.  A hard copy will not be issued
  • exporters should upload Word versions of EC3 and EC4 forms into SPIRE, not PDFs
  • for dual use goods located in another EU member state, and for which the ECJU are required to consult those licensing authorities, they will no longer be issuing a hard copy of the licence for presentation to EU member state’s customs - exporters should print a copy of the licence from SPIRE (with the green tick) for presentation

The following types of electronic signatures will be accepted:

  • simple electronic signatures – these include scanned signatures and tick box, plus declarations
  • advanced electronic signatures – these are uniquely linked to the signatory, are capable of identifying the signatory, and are linked to data within the signature that can detect any changes made
  • qualified electronic signatures – an advanced electronic signature created by a qualified electronic signature creation device, based on a qualified certificate for electronic signatures 

10th April 2020

Excellent news from HMRC for importers worried about finding the money to pay import duty and VAT due to cash flow issues caused by COVID-19.   HMRC have issued guidance to help importers to have more time to pay without :

  • calling on a guarantee
  • the need to increase the level of a guarantee
  • the need to raise the deferment limit
  • having their deferment account suspended 
  • interest on the delayed payment

Importers holding a deferment account should contact the Duty Deferment Office 03000 594243 or by email  or the COVID-19 helpline on 0800 024 1222.  Account holders will be asked to provide an explanation of how Covid-19 has impacted their business finances and cash flow.   HMRC’s contact lines will be staffed over the bank holiday weekend.   So long as payment is made according to the agreed timetable importers will be able to continue to use their deferment account as usual.

Registered Importers who pay cash or an equivalent can contact HMRC to request an extension to the payment deadline at the time the payment is due. Importers will be asked to provide an explanation of how Covid-19 has impacted on their business finances. HMRC will consider this request and decide whether or not to agree an additional time to pay. The decision will be taken on a case-by-case basis and could be refused.

If the request is approved the conditions, including the length of time offered, will depend upon the importer’s individual circumstances and may require the holding of a guarantee for the period of the time extension.  HMRC cannot offer this facility to non-registered importers.  For further information, registered importers are advised to contact the Customs Debt Policy inbox (

10th April 2020

French Customs are now requiring drivers to carry additional paperwork even when their vehicle is empty.  They are not automatically stopping vehicles to check it but if stopped the driver must provide the correct paperwork dated for the journey being undertaken.   Full details of these new forms and the procedure can be found here

9th April 2020

HMRC have issued guidance on the intended changes to Customs Authorisations from 1st January 2021 so that companies can prepare for the end of the Brexit implementation period.

Firstly to make use of all Customs authorisations (except Temporary Admission) companies must be established in the UK.   A company is established in the UK if:

  • it is a sole trader resident in the UK or
  • the company or partnership has a registered office in the UK or
  • the company or partnership has a permanent place of business in the UK where it undertakes its business activities

Companies need to check whether any existing authorisations were issued in the UK by HMRC or in the EU by a different customs authority as this leads to different consequences.

The new guidance covers authorisations for:

  • inward processing
  • outward processing
  • temporary admission
  • authorised use (also known as end use)
  • customs warehousing

If HMRC have authorised you to place goods into a customs special procedure in the UK, your authorisation will still be valid in the UK from 1st January 2021 and you can continue as now.   If you will want to include imports/exports from and to the EU from 1st January 2021 you will need to write to the HMRC authorisations team to advise any changes to:

  • the range of commodity codes
  • quantities
  • values
  • any other details specified in your current authorisation

If your UK issued authorisation includes moving goods into/around the EU for processing or warehousing etc. whilst the main authorisation remains valid you will no longer be able to use it to move goods around the EU - it will only be valid for work undertaken in the UK.

If the authorisation you are using was issued by an EU customs authority (not HMRC) it will no longer be valid from 1st January 2021 and you will need to have obtained a UK authorisation issued by HMRC if you wish to continue to work as you do now.   In these circumstances where you’ve had goods under an authorisation from an EU customs authority, you’ll have 12 months from 1 January 2021 to discharge those goods from any customs special procedure.

The good news is that from 1st January 2021 in most cases you will NOT need a guarantee to cover your potential debt (customs duty and import VAT)  for authorisations for:

  • inward processing
  • outward processing
  • temporary admission
  • authorised use (or end use)
  • customs warehousing

HMRC have said they will give 12 months’ notice before reintroducing guarantees for these procedures.

If you are already authorised for Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) from 1 January 2021 you’ll be able to use your authorisation to make simplified declarations for goods imported from the EU as well as from non-EU countries.  You will also be able to use CFSP on behalf of other businesses that are not authorised. If you do, you must make the declarations in your name and on behalf of the business you’re acting for. You’ll be jointly and severally liable for any customs duty, excise duty or import VAT due.

Remember you may need to increase the value of your deferment account to cover EU shipments.  Don't leave this to the last minute!

Full details can be found here

8th April 2020

HMRC have updated their notice - COVID-19 Moving Goods through customs to include information on border functions and social distancing - see full text here

4th April 2020

AEO certified companies are being reminded by HMRC that if they are currently operating under an AEO certification issued by an EU customs authority (not HMRC) this will no longer be valid from 1st January 2021.  If you are in this situation you will need to apply for AEO certification from HMRC for your UK operations.

In addition any AEO certified companies operating under an HMRC issued certification that includes sites outside the UK will need to apply for separate AEO certifications issued by the local customs authorities for those non-UK sites as their UK certification will no longer cover those operations from 1st January 2021.

If you need further help with this give us a call!

3rd April 2020

HMRC have clarified that import VAT payments are NOT included in the COVID-19 deferred VAT payment scheme.   Import VAT payments must continue to be made in the usual way via deferment accounts on 15th of the month following import.   Details of the COVID-19 VAT scheme can be found here

1st April 2020

Customs authorisations during the COVID-19 pandemic:

These temporary changes may affect you if you are authorised or applying to be authorised by customs to:

  • use temporary storage or customs special procedures such as inward processing or customs warehousing
  • use simplified declarations such as entry in your records
  • have a guarantee
  • operate as an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)

If you’re no longer able to comply with a condition of your authorisation because of COVID-19, you must get permission from your supervising office in HMRC or Border Force to temporarily vary the conditions of your authorisation.

You can apply to temporarily vary the following conditions of your customs approvals:

  • changes to site opening hours
  • the need for staff to be on site in order to carry out a particular function if that function can be completed remotely
  • the specific areas within an approved location in which customs controls must be conducted
  • reducing dwell times to allow quicker permission to progress
  • time limits for bills of discharge and period of discharge (throughput period) for special procedures such as inward processing relief
  • how to process goods that will now be held in temporary storage over 90 days

You can apply to temporarily change your authorisation by emailing your supervising office with the subject ‘COVID-19 customs easement request’.

HMRC advise that applications for a temporary variance to authorisations will be looked at on a case by case basis and may be declined if there are concerns about the impact on customs controls.

Where an application for an authorisation would normally have been sent by post you can temporarily send it by email instead. You will need to send your postal application form with an original signature once the COVID-19 controls are lifted.

If applying for a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee HMRC will also accept an electronic copy of your financial guarantee form (CCG2), transit guarantee form (C1146) and Joint Contractual Liability Form.

HMRC will confirm most authorisation applications during the COVID-19 outbreak without a site visit.  However if an HMRC visit is required in order to comply with international standards e.g an AEO audit, and it is not possible to conduct that visit, HMRC will contact you to discuss temporarily suspending the process.

If your authorisation is due for renewal and HMRC are unable to renew your authorisation that is due to expire, HMRC will automatically extend your authorisation to ensure you have continuity.

HMRC will let you know if they have granted an automatic extension.

Full details can be found here.

1st April 2020

HMRC have announced some easements to help traders cope during the COVID-19 pandemic:

1. Exports valued at Euro3000 or less

​If you have a consignment that is less than €3000 in value and is not subject to prohibitions or restrictions this can be declared for export in the UK even if the exporter is established in another EU member state

If the export is to be conducted under simplified procedures, you must contact your supervising office.

2. Using the Transit Procedure

If you are transporting goods, the expected journey time entered on a transit declaration can reflect anticipated delays. The New Computerised Transit System will accept journey times of up to 14 days.

3. Completing Supplementary Declarations (CFSP)

If you’re unable to accurately calculate your supplementary declaration by your due date as a result of the COVID-19, you may submit an estimated figure.

Note that if your declaration includes an amount of Excise duty, you must submit a supplementary declaration as normal.

To submit an estimated figure you must email and provide the following:

  • company name
  • EORI number
  • deferment account number
  • estimated customs duty amount owed
  • estimated VAT owed
  • the number of supplementary declarations not submitted

You must provide a reasonable estimate of the amounts due and keep records that explain your calculation.

31st March 2020

The UK National Standards Body - the BSi have, in response to the COVID-19 situation, released access to a number of standards to assist Government and business in their response these are in the areas of ventilators, personal protective equipment and risk management and business continuity.  Details can be found here

31st March 2020

HMRC has announced that medical supplies, equipment and protective garments for use in the COVID-19 pandemic can be imported duty and VAT free with immediate effect.

This relief can be claimed by:

  • state organisations, including state bodies, public bodies and other bodies governed by public law
  • other authorised non-state bodies

(non-state bodies should obtain authorisation by contacting the National Import Relief Unit (NIRU) by emailing for an application form)

Goods imported into the UK for donation or onward sale to the NHS are also eligible for this relief and can be imported free of import duty and import VAT.

You can also claim relief if you’re a disaster-relief agency and are importing goods for free circulation to meet your needs during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The relief applies until 31 July 2020.

You can claim relief on your declaration in CHIEF by entering in:

  • box 37 the customs procedure code 40 00 C26
  • box 44, declaration/notes, enter document codes 9AID and/or 9AIV and status codes JP or UP as appropriate

Full details of this easement can be found here

12th February 2020

HM Government has launched a consultation process to gather the views of importers and exporters on the level of import duties that should be applied in the new UK tariff for 1/1/2021.   We urge everyone to get involved to ensure that their sector / industry gets the best outcome possible to support future business - if you want zero tariffs on certain goods or you want higher tariffs on certain goods to ensure you stay in business now is the time to say so!   The consultation can be found here and closes on 5th March so don't delay!

11th February 2020

HM Government has launched a consultation process regarding the creation of up to 10 Free Ports across all regions of the UK.  We encourage everyone to read the consultation and to contribute to it to ensure that Trade can help to ensure the Free Ports maximise their beneficial impact.   The consultation can be found here.   

Free Ports permit the import of raw materials, components and assemblies free of import duty and VAT which can be stored or processed within the Free Port.   If they or the resultant product is then re-exported out of the UK no import duty or VAT is ever payable, if they or the resultant product is then imported to the UK import duty and VAT become payable.   Free Ports, if also designated Special Economic Zones can also offer companies that would like to set up business within the Free Port area, tax incentives, regulatory flexibilities and investment that is not available elsewhere in the UK.   We are able to assist companies to understand how involvement in a Free Port might be of benefit.

The consultation closes on 20th April.

10th February 2020

Great news for businesses - the HMRC Training grant scheme has been extended until 31 Jan 2021 or until the money runs out!  All of our Customs & AEO courses are eligible choose here & apply here 

The grant scheme to assist intermediaries (freight agents, customs brokers etc.) to obtain new IT or recruit additional staff to cope with the expected increase in customs declarations has also been extended.  Apply here

February 2020

The UK Government has launched a new, free tool for exporters to use to assist them to launch into new markets post Brexit.  The on-line tool offers information about tariff rates, documentation and barriers to importing in a wide range of countries.   Click here to begin.  This is a UK version of the EU Access Market Database which is very welcome.   

January 2020

Origin & Preference

An interesting new tool has been created jointly by the World Trade Organisation, World Customs Organisation and the International Trade Centre to assist exporters to understand the rules of origin contained in over 350 trade agreements.  These agreements offer the opportunity for reduced rates of import duty and easier market access to the signatory countries.    The Origin Rules Facilitator is free to access - click here.   We offer training and consultancy on the non-preferential and preferential rules of origin to assist exporters and importers to gain the greatest benefit from the opportunities these agreements offer.

​​1st October 2019

HMRC Grants for Intermediaries

HMRC have announced a new grant available to customs intermediary businesses in the UK to help them to recruit additional staff.

The £10 million of grants are available to business who complete customs declarations for importers and exporters and can be used to 'support costs of hiring staff, including £3,000 for recruitment costs, and up to £10,000 for salary costs, to help build business capacity.'

The grant will give businesses £3,000 for each employee.

Businesses could also get up to £10,000 for any employee recruited before before 31 January 2020, to cover up to 3 months’ salary.

Businesses will receive the funding for recruitment costs and 50% of the eligible salary costs upfront. The remaining 50% of salary costs will be paid when the employee has been in post for one month.

Click here to apply

4th September 2019

HMRC Training & IT Grants 

HMRC has announced a new round of grants for training for businesses to help them to complete Customs Declarations and    Customs processes.

The grants are for up to 100% of the cost of training. There is a limit of £2,250 per employee per external course and up to £250 per employee per course for internal training and are available for applications up to the end of January 2020 (or until the funds are exhausted).

Even more good news is that you can apply for a grant for eligible training already taken between 31st July 2019 and 3rd September 2019.

All of our Industry leading, face to face practitioner lead International Trade and AEO courses and qualifications are eligible for grant applications.

Don’t forget we have a 40% discount available for our AEO Certified Practitioner training 17th - 20th September.

There are also grants for IT improvements

Find out more about the grants here

Don’t forget you are still eligible to apply even if your business applied during the first wave of grants earlier this year.

Don’t miss out get your application in now to secure your funding!

Apply here

26th August 2019

EORI Confusion explained!

If you wish to export from or import to the UK after Brexit to or from an EU country you will need a UK EORI number (one that starts GB).   You get this number from HMRC- there is no cost and it only takes 10 minutes.     This number has to be quoted on every import or export customs entry - your goods will not move across a border without it. 

However, in some cases you will also need an EU EORI number as well.    These are the circumstances in which you will need an EU EORI after Brexit:

If you need to do any of the following in your own company name:

  • to lodge a customs declaration in the customs territory of the Union;
  • to submit an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS)
  • to lodge an Exit Summary Declaration (EXS)
  • to lodge a temporary storage declaration in the customs territory of the Union
  • act as a carrier for the purposes of transport by sea, inland waterway or air;
  • act as a carrier who is connected to the customs system and wishes to receive any of the notifications provided for in the customs legislation regarding the lodging or amendment of entry summary declarations.

Remember that after Brexit it will be very important to get your INCOterms® right - if you use DDP you will need a UK and an EU EORI number and will incur unrecoverable VAT unless you are VAT registered in the country of import.     

1st August 2019


Do you know that Incoterms® are revised every 10 years and that a new set will come into force from 1st January 2020?   the current version Incoterms®2010 can still be used but traders will need to be very clear in their purchase orders, sales contracts and shipping documents which version they intend to be used.    The revised version, to be known as Incoterms®2020, is being launched in October in the UK by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) who are responsible for their creation.    

From October all our courses that include Incoterms® will explain the differences between the two versions and the practical impact of the new version on business practices.

17th July 2019

Brexit Preparation

Companies and individuals will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number in order to move goods to or from the UK and the EU or Rest of World.  You need this number regardless of whether you are registered for VAT or not, no matter what type of company or charity or partnership you represent and if you are an individual exporting or importing.

If you already export or import to countries outside the EU you should already have an EORI number - you can check if you do or not here.    

There are some things you need to know before you apply:

If you are VAT registered you will need your VAT number and effective date of registration - these are on your VAT registration certificate
If you are individual or sole trader you will need your National Insurance number and date of birth
Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) -  to find your UTR click here
Business start date and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code - these are in the Companies House register
Government Gateway user ID and password

It is easy and free to apply for an EORI - click here   It takes about 10 minutes and you may get your number immediately but it could take up to 3 days to come through.

Once you get your number it could take another 48 hours before it can be used on the HMRC customs systems (CHIEF/CDS).

So don't leave it to the last minute and find your goods are stuck at the port or airport because you haven't got an active EORI.  Apply today.

15th May 2019

End of Free Grants for Customs Training 

The Government scheme offering free grants of up to 50% of training costs for customs training ends on 31st May.   The government is strongly encouraging any business that still wish to apply (the courses can take place after 31st May) to apply before 24th May to ensure the applications can be processed by the closing deadline.   This is free money with no strings attached - don't miss out on this unique opportunity!

Apply here 

26th April 2019

AEO 2.0

Authorised Economic Operator certification in the EU is now over 10 years old!   It is therefore fitting that the World Customs Organisation (WCO) has this week started to consider the next steps for the global AEO concept which it is currently calling AEO 2.0.

Several suggestions were put forward that included potential involvement of other government agencies (OGAs) in AEO programmes, adoption of regional/plurilateral approaches to AEO programmes and mutual recognition arrangements/agreements (MRAs).  Mutual recognition, or consideration in the overall risk management, of the AEO status of traders of partner countries without a formal MRA, international AEO recognition, harmonized benefit standards, expansion of the AEO landscape in terms of number of countries, number of economic operators and volume of trade being handled by AEOs.  The extension of MRA benefits to service providers and intermediaries, and WCO’s greater role in potential certification of AEO programmes.   

All these concepts have been discussed in meetings between trade and HMRC as improvements to what will be the UK's own AEO scheme post Brexit.

We look forward to further studies on AEO 2.0 from the WCO over the coming months and to discussing the expansion of benefits available to AEO's under the new UK AEO scheme.

Holding AEO certification is key to unlocking competitive advantage globally as well as making a step change in the professionalism of customs, compliance and security in the supply chain.     Any size of company can apply and we can help you to get it right first time with least fuss and difficulty so why not start your journey today!

8th April 2019

Extension to Free Grants for Training

The UK Government has today extended the application period for training and IT grants for customs work.   The new application deadline is 31st May 2019.   Importers, Exporters, Freight agents and forwarders and anyone else involved in customs work can apply.

Applications must be made and a confirmation of grant offer must be received BEFORE payment is made for the training course and BEFORE the training course commences otherwise your application will be rejected.

Training courses do not have to take place before 31st May so don't delay take advantage of this free money to advance your business!   Apply here 

The grant will give you up to 50% of the cost of training for your employees, up to a limit of £750 for each employee on a course.

You can get up to 60% of training costs, up to a limit of £1,050 for each employee, if your business:

- employs fewer than 250 people
- has an annual turnover of less than €50 million

You can get up to 70% of training costs, up to a limit of £1,050 for each employee, if your business:

- employs fewer than 50 people
- has an annual turnover (or annual balance sheet total) of less than €10 million

Can you afford to miss out on gaining competitive advantage at a substantial discount?

1st April 2019

EU view of a Customs Union : here

All customs documentation and checks have to be undertaken, the only benefit is there would be no import duty between the EU and the UK.

15th March 2019

AEO Application changes

Organisations preparing to submit their AEO applications need to be aware that HMRC have today published details of changes to the AEO application process. See here for details.

As of 1st June 2019 all applications must be made online via the Government Gateway.  You will therefore need a Government Gateway account and login in order to complete and submit your application.

Each section of the application is completed and submitted  separately.  You can save a draft of the partially completed         application for up to 28 days.  Once completed all sections of the C118 and the C117 must be submitted within 24 hours.  It is       suggested that you do not start the application process until you have all of the information ready and to hand.

We understand that there are some changes to the forms with questions being rationalised and amalgamated.

Paper or electronic form based applications will no longer be accepted after 31st May 2019.

Please note that the Government web page has not yet been updated but is expected to go live with links to the new application on Monday 18th March 2019.

We strongly advise clients in the later stages of their application preparation to complete the process before 31st May 2019.

For practical, realistic, cost effective help  contact us today email: (T) 0784 1133027.

We offer help with all aspects of AEO preparation, pre-audit review, application and maintenance.  

Don’t forget our CILT accredited and certified AEO Certified Practitioner course (22 hours CPD) giving you the know-how to lead AEO implementation in your company!

Remember post Brexit, UK issued AEO certification will continue to be valid for UK based companies but NOT for any EU based     branches or subsidiaries. Equally UK companies currently certified under an AEO registration issued from an EU country other than the UK, will need to apply for their own UK AEO certification.

12th March 2019

FREE Grants closing date

The closing date for applications for the free grants towards customs training and software is 5th April 2019.   Don't miss out - apply today!   The training can take place after the closing date.   You need to obtain a quote for the training and then make the application.   DO NOT pay for the training until you have received your confirmation of grant award letter otherwise you will be refused a grant.   

8th February 2019


Applications for FREE training and IT grants for customs work (see below 4th December) CLOSE on 5th April 

Don't miss out on up to 50% per delegate per course and money for hardware and software.   Money available for most of our courses.   Apply today!

27th January 2019

HMRC Day 1 No Deal Easements for customs work (Excludes Northern Ireland)

These are temporary solutions to ease friction at all ports and airports in the event of No Deal with the EU.  A key message is that if enacted trade could then expect 12 months notice that they were to be cancelled.  So not so temporary!

The major points are as follows:
Traders must get an EORI number regardless of whether or not they are VAT registered.   It takes about ten minutes to complete the form on-line at .gov and you get your number in max 3 working days.   No fees – Everyone involved in intra-EU trade and international trade needs to get one NOW!

To be eligible to use the easements the Traders must register for a new authorisation known as ‘Transitional Simplified Procedures’ (TSP).    TSP procedures will be reviewed 3-6 months after 29th March to see how they are functioning and 12 months notice will be given of their withdrawal.  To be eligible Traders must be established in the UK, have the intention to import goods into the UK from the EU and have an EORI.    Traders will not be eligible if goods are imported from outside EU, are subject to Special Procedures or they have a history of non-compliance.   Intermediaries are not allowed to register.  HMRC will issue details of how to register for TSP shortly - we are promised a quick, easy process.

Importing EU goods via the RoRo ports:
Traders or their agents need to pre-lodge an import declaration in CHIEF which will generate a Master Reference Number (MRN) or if authorised for Entry in Declarants Records (EIDR) put an entry in their own records.   The MRN or in the case of EIDR the EORI must be provided to the haulier/freight forwarder so it is known en route and driver can show it to any authorities to prove import work done. 

Traders or their agents will update status in CHIEF or put another note in their own records to indicate goods ‘arrived’ at port, at which point consideration has to be given to import duty/Tax.   The key easement here is traders/agents are going to be given until the close of the next working day after vehicle arrival to set this status.   So no stop for the truck as it rolls off the ferry – just get on and deliver!  Once the arrived status is set Importer or their agent needs a deferment account or to put goods under Special Procedures so no money need to be paid immediately, alternatively the money will need to be paid but this would be electronically away from port and have nothing to do with truck movement.   Border Force might still stop the odd truck for risk-based checks but this is no different from today.

All ports / airports and all imports EU and ROW
Freight agents using their own existing CFSP authorisations (Customs Freight Simplified Procedures) for non CFSP authorised import traders are currently liable for unpaid duty and tax if the trader defaults.  This is reportedly stopping freight agents from using this helpful procedure (on arrival lodge a minimal import declaration as goods arrive at port/airport and goods immediately move through port, on 4th working day of month following import lodge full details).   As there is not enough time left for traders to get themselves authorised now for Day 1 the key easement is to take away the freight agent’s liability for unpaid duty and tax for goods being released to free circulation (not other customs procedures).   So CFSP will be used more often and the flow of goods will be improved.

Duty Deferment
In the case of CFSP and all other customs procedures if duty and tax is not to be payable before the goods leave the port/airport the importer has to have a ‘deferment account’.  In essence you give permission for HMRC to direct debit the account for any amount owing on the 15th day of the month following import.   The rules require the importer to get a bank guarantee to ensure that if the account doesn’t have enough money in it on the 15th to meet the debt, the bank will instantly pay out on HMRC’s request.   However to be allowed to run a deferment account importers have to meet stiff criteria, the first step of which is getting permission from HMRC to be allowed to hold a guarantee which takes up to 120 days (the Customs Comprehensive Guarantee CCG).   Easement – importers will not need to meet the CCG criteria, so can apply for a deferment account without a CCG authorisation and will have until 30th June 2019 to submit the bank’s financial guarantee to HMRC to back their deferment account.  Importers can still choose to apply for CCG authorisation as those with AEOC status can get a 70% reduction in the level of guarantee required from the bank.   Holding a deferment account eases and speeds the flow of goods through ports and airports.

Other guarantee relaxations for Special Procedures
Currently in order to use the following beneficial special procedures:
Inward Processing (IP), Outward Processing (IP), Temporary Admission (TA), End-Use (now to be known as Authorised Use) and Customs Warehousing (CW) importers have to hold a CCG with guarantee.   Easement – Importers wont need a CCG or a guarantee for these types of import.  Traders will still have to be authorised to use the Special Procedure.   The expectation is that current holders of Special Procedure authorisations will cancel their existing guarantees and thus save themselves some bank charges and that others will be encouraged to apply for these very helpful schemes.   

Guarantees for Transit
This is governed by the CTC so a CCG will still be required or an individual guarantee for individual movements (bank, other financial institutions or cash deposit).  Guarantees can take several weeks to set up so traders /freight agents need to act NOW!

Excise Statutory Instruments are starting to be published,  the first one puts in place new rules and a new definition of a UK Registered Consignor for excise.  

Northern Ireland

Statutory Instruments will be issued specifically for Northern Ireland.

Import VAT

Postponed VAT accounting for imports from EU and ROW – basically this will mean that deferment accounts (see above) will no longer have to include import VAT so guarantees can be significantly reduced and the additional SIVA authorisation will no longer be needed to take the VAT out of the guarantee.   VAT will be accounted for and paid/offset on the monthly or quarterly VAT return.   Clearly non-VAT registered businesses and individuals importing will have to continue as today.   The SI’s introduce civil penalties for companies who misbehave.    Imports of individual consignments valued at £135 or less cannot be put through postponed VAT accounting, monies will need to be paid via a deferment account in the usual way.   CHIEF/CDS will have a field to be checked to indicate whether a consignment is on postponed VAT accounting or not.  However, this does mean the trader will have to have the means to keep a tally of how much import VAT is to be paid so they have visibility of their liability.  They will get a monthly statement from HMRC which will replace the C79.

Parcels actually means any shipment via any mode of transport that is valued under £135 including letters, packets, parcels etc.   Low value consignment relief will be abolished on imports. However, for imports of parcels under £135 the overseas sellers will be liable for the UK import VAT.  Overseas sellers will be required to register with HMRC or via the parcels operator (Post Office or courier etc.) who will make payment on their behalf before shipment.  This will generate a unique ID (UID) which must be written on the parcel.  The scheme wont apply to excise goods where the consumer remains liable for VAT.  The key easement here was that the low value bulking scheme could continue to be used for the first six months of a no deal scenario.  

Safety and Security Declaration
It will be the carrier’s liability if a safety and security declaration is not submitted and there will be penalties for the carrier.

The following has been issued by HMRC today -

From today, Monday 20th March, there will be a new way to report any issues encountered with making a declaration on the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

If you or one of your customers has a problem submitting a declaration using the Customs Declaration Service

Problems using the Customs Declaration Service to move goods across the border should be reported using a new online form:

The online form has been introduced to make resolving issues with the Customs Declaration Process as easy as possible, urgent enquires will be dealt with in 2 hours, and all other enquires should have a response within 24 hours.

However, if the problem relates to:

• registering for CDS service - email

• CDS Dashboard in GOV.UK service webpages or interfaces - raise a support ticket by selecting the ‘Get help with this page’ link at the bottom of the screen that identifies the issue.

• Trader Dress Rehearsal issues email

The following has been issued by HMRC today -

From today, Monday 20th March, there will be a new way to report any issues encountered with making a declaration on the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

If you or one of your customers has a problem submitting a declaration using the Customs Declaration Service

Problems using the Customs Declaration Service to move goods across the border should be reported using a new online form:

The online form has been introduced to make resolving issues with the Customs Declaration Process as easy as possible, urgent enquires will be dealt with in 2 hours, and all other enquires should have a response within 24 hours.

However, if the problem relates to:

• registering for CDS service - email

• CDS Dashboard in GOV.UK service webpages or interfaces - raise a support ticket by selecting the ‘Get help with this page’ link at the bottom of the screen that identifies the issue.

• Trader Dress Rehearsal issues email

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Morley Consulting


Tel: +44 (0)7841133027

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