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HMRC finally issue guidance on how to handle EU goods arriving in the Uk without an import declaration

With HMRC having cleared the majority of the Brexit Customs backlog they have now turned their attention to goods that have been imported from the EU without an import declaration.
Imported goods that are not declared have been imported non-compliantly, and where HMRC considers it appropriate, civil penalties may be charged and the importer (or the individual assisting them with customs) cannot put things right by simply submitting a retrospective declaration.
The importer may also have been liable to import VAT and excise duties, depending on the goods imported.
A guide to what to do if goods arrive in the UK without an import declaration has been published by HMRC & Importers or agents, have two options for satisfying their obligation to pay any outstanding liabilities (the second is available if the first cannot be used).
Option 1: Submit a full import declaration for the free-circulation procedure as soon as possible
You should submit this full non-statutory import declaration within one calendar month (subject to the additional conditions set out below) of the goods being imported into Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland).
It will not be possible to defer any import duties by declaring the goods into a special procedure for customs because the goods were imported non-compliantly.
As Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) and Customs Declaration Service cannot accept retrospective declarations, the date of submission of this non-statutory declaration will be the date that any tax or duty due on imports will be calculated.
To ensure that any taxes or duties due on imports are charged correctly, you should:
  1. The HMRC exchange rates should be checked for changes between the actual date of import and the declaration date (the period between the import and the declaration). Normaly, they only change monthly. In the event that exchange rates have changed, you must convert non-Sterling values at the rate in effect at the date of import.
  2. Ensure you find out if any import taxes or duties have been changed. This can be checked for the dates starting and ending the intervening period by using the Trade Tariff tool. The full import declaration can be submitted if the rate has not changed.
If you are already in this situation at the time of this publication you have one calendar month from the date this guidance was issued.
However it is not possible for VAT registered importers to utilize postponed VAT accounting after goods have been imported non-compliantly.
You will therefore need to pay your import VAT when the non-statutory declaration is submitted.
You should use option 2 if you cannot submit a full import declaration (for example, the one-month deadline has passed, or the tax or duty rate has changed).
Option 2: Submit a supplementary declaration to HMRC as soon as possible showing the correct date of import
This requires that the importer be authorised to make simplified declarations of imports or to appoint an agent who is.
In cases where you have already been authorised for simplfied declarations for imports, or have a customs agent handling your imports, you need to file this non-statutory supplementary import declaration as soon as possible.
As soon as you are aware of the need to make a simplfied declaration for imports, you are expected to notify someone who can handle customs matters for you or obtain an authorisation as quickly as possible.
HMRC expect that this should take no longer than 4 months. The steps you are taking to pay your outstanding liabilities must be kept on file in case compliance checks are conducted on the goods movement before the supplementary import declaration is made.
In either case, if you wish to make a tariff rate quota claim, you will need to include it in your declaration. However, since most tariff quotas work on a first-come, first-served basis, it is possible that the quota is already taken.
As an alternative, you can use this approach to declare goods to free-circulation in the event that a transit movement is not correctly closed.
If the non-statutory declaration is submitted, it can serve as evidence that the correct duties have been paid for these movements, which will help the movement to be discharged in its country of origin. Transit movements will not be closed ‘retrospectively’, so those movements will still be included in the transit inquiry process.
However it is not possible for VAT registered importers to utilize postponed VAT accounting after goods have been imported non-compliantly.
You will therefore need to pay your import VAT when the non-statutory declaration is submitted.
UK Customs solutions are specialists in Customs compliance and we are here to make sure your goods arrive with the minimum of fuss and delay.
We protect you and your company from the costly and time consuming pitfalls of post Brexit import and export requirements, ensuring you can focus on the things that are important to making your business successful.
If you have found yourself in the above situation or if you’re worried you might be then contact UK Customs Solutions now and let us take care if it.
For HMRC’s full guidance follow this link: HMRC

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