Brexit Import & Export Changes from 1 January 2021
With the UK’s exit from the EU from 1 January 2021, goods will cease being treated as moved between the EU but between countries worldwide. The implications of this are large: arrivals and dispatches will instead be treated as imports and exports, Brexit import and export declarations will need to be made and a EORI number will be needed, to name a few.
It is important that you act now as you won’t be able to trade with the EU from 1 January 2021 if you don’t have the correct processes in place. Apart from the tariffs, these requirements are applicable whether the UK government secures a free trade agreement or not.
5 things to consider when preparing to import/export
- EORI number
You’ll need an EORI number that starts with GB to transfer goods between the UK and the EU. If you already have an EORI number you will need to check that it starts with GB and get a new one if not. You can apply for an EORI number online at https://www.gov.uk/eori
- Import/export license
You’ll need to check if the goods are controlled and thus whether you need an import/export license. Such goods include food, livestock and medicine; the full list can be found at https://www.gov.uk/starting-to-import/import-licences-and-certificates.
From 1 January 2021 the UK will apply a UK specific tariff to imported goods called the UK Global Tariff (UKGT). The UKGT will apply to all imported goods unless the country you’re importing from has a trade agreement with the UK. The list of trade agreements can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-trade-agreements-with-non-eu-countries. You check the tariffs that will apply at https://www.gov.uk/check-tariffs-1-january-2021.
- CHIEF system
If you chose to complete customs declarations yourself (as opposed to engaging a customs intermediary) you will need CHIEF compatible software and a CHIEF badge. You can apply for a CHIEF badge online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/import-and-export-request-for-chief-access-c1800.
- Customs declaration
The following table illustrates the main options for importing your goods from the EU into the UK (asterisk denotes tasks undertaken by the customs intermediary if you use one – customs declarations are complicated and require specialist skill, it is highly recommended engaging a customs intermediary):
|Deferred declaration||Standard import||Simplified declaration|
|Reporting requirements||Supplementary declaration 6 months after import*||Full customs declaration once the goods arrive in the UK*||Supplementary declaration by the 4th day of the following month after the goods arrive in the UK*|
|Simplified declarations||Must be authorised*||Not available||Must be authorised*|
|Customs duty||Pay after submitting the supplementary declaration||Pay after submitting the customs declaration (unless you have a duty deferment account)||Pay after submitting the supplementary declaration|
|Duty deferment account||Must be authorised||Can be authorised||Must be authorised|
|Import VAT – VAT registered||Must use postponed VAT accounting||Can use postponed VAT accounting||Can use postponed VAT accounting|
|Import VAT – not VAT registered||Pay after submitting the supplementary declaration||Pay after submitting the supplementary declaration||Pay after submitting the supplementary declaration|
|Simplified frontier declaration||No||No||Submitted with CHIEF before the goods leave the EU|
|CHIEF badge and CHIEF compatible software||Yes*||Yes*||Yes*|
|Goods type||Standard||Standard and controlled||Standard and some controlled|
In addition to these 3 options, there is a 4th main option called transit which you can use if you are moving goods through multiple territories. However, the stages for transit are numerous and complicated and won’t be included in this article.
As with importing you can choose to use a customs intermediary to make your declarations. If you don’t use a customs intermediary you will need to:
- Make declarations online using National Export System (NES)
- Register for NES
- Apply for a CHIEF badge and get CHIEF compatible software
- Complete an export declaration
Again, transit is available for exporting but the details won’t be included in this article.
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