Full customs declarations and controls will be implemented on January 1, 2022. Traders must be prepared for the following changes to take effect in less than a month.
- You can no longer postpone making import customs declarations; instead, most customers will be required to submit declarations and pay applicable tariffs at the point of import.
- As ports and other border locations will be required to control goods moving between the UK and the EU, your goods will require a valid declaration and customs clearance; otherwise, they will not be released into circulation and, in many cases, will not be able to leave the port.
- To benefit from a reduced rate of Customs Duty (tariff preference) on the goods you import or export, you must provide proof that the goods you import from the EU originate there and/or export to the EU originate in the UK. From 1 January 2022 you must have supplier declarations (where required) at the time you export your goods.
- Commodity codes are used all over the world to classify imported and exported goods. They are standardised up to six digits and are evaluated every five years by the World Customs Organization. Following the end of the most recent review, the UK codes will change on January 1, 2022.
- If you’re a VAT-registered importer, you can keep using Postponed VAT Accounting (PVA) on all customs declarations that require you to account for import VAT, including supplemental declarations, unless HMRC tells you otherwise.
From July 2022, additional changes to safety and security declarations, new requirements for Export Health Certificates, requirements for Phytosanitary Certificates, and physical checks on sanitary and phytosanitary goods at Border Control Posts will be implemented.
According to research carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), just 25 per cent of small importers who are affected by the changes and are aware of them are prepared for them to take effect.
Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman said: “Given the turmoil of the past 18 months, new concerns about the spread of Covid, and this being the busiest time of year for many, it’s understandable that few firms are fully prepared for the introduction of import controls from January.
“What we’re saying to firms is: there’s still time to act. Speak to suppliers to ensure you have all you need to make declarations, consider alternative providers if that looks like an efficient way forward, and think about different transportation routes.
“Stockpiling will naturally be a temptation for those fortunate enough to have the funds for it, but there is already a squeeze on warehousing space – if everyone ramps up storage, that squeeze will only tighten.
“We’re urging the government to do all it can to raise awareness, with our support, through every channel available to it in a climate where a lot of small firms simply don’t have the cash or bandwidth to manage this new red tape.
“Too little support was made possible by the first iteration of the SME Brexit Support Fund due to narrow eligibility criteria and application timeframes. Policymakers should learn lessons from that process and launch a new fund, with the same aim of helping existing international businesses with growing admin, and inspiring new ones, but with a truly global focus.
“We’ve recently had the very welcome launch of the Export Support Service. What we need now, as these stark figures demonstrate, is an Import Support Service to empower firms with the guidance and information they require to successfully navigate global trade as it evolves.”Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman