Post-Brexit Guide

Since Brexit on 1st January 2021 there are new rules on trade between the UK and the EU, discover how to deal with imports and exports in this step by step guide.

What steps do you need to take now that Brexit has happened?

New rules on trade, travel, and business between the UK and EU took effect on 1 January 2021 for Brexit. This also affects trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Act now to ensure that your business is able to accommodate these new requirements for trade under Brexit.

Step 1: Consider how Brexit and leaving the EU will impact your business and your movement of goods.

• Do you move goods or products from an EU country into the UK?

• Do you move goods or products from the UK to an EU country?

• Do you move goods from Great Britain into Northern Ireland?

If yes to any of these, a UK customs declaration is essential and required by law. All goods will also require a security declaration. Export declarations to the EU are required from 1 January 2021, Import declarations from the EU will also be required but for some goods and traders you have up to 6 months to complete the customs declaration process.

However, delaying the completion of your customs declarations for imports will build up a backlog, increasing administration costs and liability for any taxes and duties due on the goods. It is best practice to complete your customs declarations as you import the goods and do so as early as possible in 2021.

Descartes e-Customs software provides a straightforward way of submitting customs declarations for HMRC and is compliant with the requirements of both CHIEF and CDS. It also allows you to record the import in your records pending submission of a supplementary declaration for those first 6 months should you require this.

Step 2: Determine who is responsible for the customs declarations in your business and apply for an EORI Number.

You will need to determine whether it’s you or your supplier that is responsible for making the required customs declarations for Brexit, when moving goods either into or out of the UK. There are a set of rules that define the essential terms of trade for the sale of goods known as ‘Incoterms’, published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). They will enable you to determine if you or the supplier is considered to be the importer or exporter and therefore responsible for the customs declarations under Brexit.

If you are responsible for (or will be named on) the customs declaration you will need a UK EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number.

• An EORI is a registration number required to undertake imports or exports

• You will need a UK EORI for Imports or Exports into or out of the UK

• You will need an EU EORI for Imports or Exports into or out of the EU

Apply here for a UK EORI Number

Information on EU EORI numbers

Step 3: Apply for Other Authorisations

If you are not established in the customs territory do you need to appoint a tax representative?

If you import or export plant or animal products, high-risk food or feed, medicines, textiles, chemicals or firearms you should determine if you need to register with the relevant authority as an importer or exporter and if you need to obtain certificates for importing into the EU.

Check whether your goods must only enter the UK or EU via dedicated inspection points.

Decide if you wish to operate any simplified procedures, such as making a simplified customs declaration at the frontier followed by a supplementary declaration post import (known as CFSP in the UK), or Entry in the Declarants records which replaces the need for the Simplified Declaration.

Do you need an account with customs to enable the payment of duties and other taxes?

VAT registered businesses should be able to benefit from postponed accounting under current UK Treasury plans or in countries already offering similar schemes. Descartes can relieve the burden of managing your regulatory compliance and customs declarations for Brexit with our eCustoms software.

Find out how you can file customs declarations with Descartes' e-Customs Software.

Step 4: Apply for a CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import & Export Freight) or CDS (Customs Declaration Service) Account, you may also need a port Badge

As a company if you wish to submit your own customs declarations you will also need to apply for an account to use the UK Government's customs declarations filing system CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import & Export Freight) or enrol for the CDS (Customs Declaration Service) system. You may also need a port account (Badge from a CSP).

Descartes' e-Customs software is compliant with the requirements for both CHIEF and CDS.

Click here for useful UK Government links

Step 5: Sign-up to Descartes e-Customs Software as a Service to manage your customs declarations.

Contact Us to find out more. If you are ready to go ahead you can sign-up to e-Customs in our Online Shop to submit your customs declarations.

Step 6: If Required, use a customs broker, or get customs training

If you choose to use a 3rd party agent to submit customs declarations on your behalf, it is highly likely you will remain liable for the information declared. This is what agents will refer to as acting as a ‘direct representative’. Descartes recommend that you obtain at least some basic customs training.

Click here for a list of companies who are Customs Brokers or offer Customs Training.

Helpful How-To's

How to Submit Customs Declarations
An overview of the processes involved in filing customs declarations

How to Minimise Delays Through UK Ports
How to mitigate customs delays at UK ports using an ETSF (External Temporary Storage Facility) the GVMS or bonded/customs warehouses.
How to Reduce Your Tax Liability
Dealing with customs and imports is a tricky business, read how to reduce your Tax Liability and manage imports to the UK.
How to Find Specialized Brexit Consultants
Customs partners of Descartes that can offer export/import guidance, training and brokerage

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