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Customs controls 1st January 2022

HMRC is reminding traders to prepare for new customs controls that come into effect on 1 January 2022 which will increase checks and customs declarations

Under the new rules, businesses will no longer be able to delay making import customs declarations under the Staged Customs Controls rules that have applied during 2021. Most customers will have to make declarations and pay relevant tariffs at the point of import.

It is important to decide what method to use to submit customs declarations and pay any duties that are due before 1 January 2022. Businesses can appoint an intermediary, such as a customs agent, to deal with declarations on their behalf or they can be submitted directly.

Simplified decarations

Some businesses already have a ‘simplified declarations’ authorisation from HMRC that allows their goods to be released directly to a specified customs procedure without having to provide a full customs declaration at the point of release.

Authorisation from HMRC is required to use simplified declarations and it can take up to 60 calendar days to complete the checks needed for this. To apply companies must have a duty deferment account in place. Therefore, a new application made now may not be authorised before 1 January 2022.

The correct country code for the country of origin and the country of dispatch must be used when completing a your customs declaration. For EU countries, the individual country code of the relevant member state should be used. The EU country code must not be used and will be removed from systems shortly.

Customs controls from 1st January 2022

From 1 January 2022, goods may be directed to an inland border facility for documentary or physical checks if these checks cannot be done at the border.

From 1 January 2022, companies must also submit an ‘arrived’ export declaration if goods are moving through one of the border locations that uses the arrived exports process.

If the correct process is not in place, the new systems will not permit goods to leave the country and they will be turned away as they will not hold export clearance.

Use of couriers or freight forwarders

For companies that use a courier or freight forwarder to move goods, it is important to check their terms and conditions about who will make the declarations.

The UK’s deal with the EU, called the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), means that any goods imported or exported may benefit from a reduced rate of customs duty (tariff preference). To use this, you need proof that the goods you:

  • import from the EU originate there;
  • export to the EU originate in the UK.

UK and EU importers can claim tariff preference if they have one of the following proofs of origin:

  • a statement on origin – this must be made out by the exporter to confirm that the product originates in the UK or EU;
  • the importer’s knowledge – this option allows the importer to claim tariff preference based on their own knowledge of where the goods they are importing originate from.

If a company is subject to a request for verification by EU customs authorities and the supporting evidence on origin cannot be provided, the EU customer will be liable to pay the full (non-preferential) rate of customs duty and HMRC may also charge a penalty to the exporter.

VAT registered importers and customs controls

VAT-registered importers can continue to use Postponed VAT Accounting (PVA) on all customs declarations where import VAT has to be accounted for, including supplementary declarations, except when HMRC has informed otherwise.

HMRC has also confirmed that commodity codes will be changing from 1 January 2022. Commodity codes are used worldwide to classify goods that are imported and exported. They are standardised up to six-digits and reviewed by the World Customs Organisation every five years.

Further changes will be introduced from July 2022 and these will include requirements for full safety and security declarations for all imports, new requirements for export health certificates and phytosanitary certificates, as well as physical checks on sanitary and phytosanitary goods at border control posts.

For further advice contact AJR & Co Ltd.