Surrey Chambers of Commerce are advising businesses in Surrey who have imported goods this year using the government easement to carry out compliance checks and for any outstanding customs declarations to be made before 6th August 2021.
Aaron Law, ChamberCustoms Manager at Surrey Chambers, said: “When the Brexit transition period ended last year, an easement period of 175 days was introduced from the start of 2021 for goods imported from the EU. This period has since been extended to 31st December 2021. With the easement in effect, imports from the EU have not been required to carry usual customs documentation to enter Great Britain. However, importers are still required to declare their goods to HMRC. HMRC have now given businesses until 6th August 2021 to submit any outstanding customs declarations for goods yet to be declared.”
Due to the easement period, businesses have faced confusion over the necessity for import declarations and when it is required to submit them to HMRC. Now that the initial 175-day period has ended, many importers have realised that import declarations have never been completed by their haulier or customs agent at all this year.
“We are answering an increasing volume of enquiries from businesses who have imported goods from the EU since January but are unsure if declarations have been completed for them. They are experiencing difficulties in confirming if declarations have been submitted due to inadequate communication from the haulier or lack of paperwork from the seller,” said Aaron.
The latest government Customs Information Paper (CIP 1) published 7th July sets out HMRC’s policy for importers who have unintentionally found themselves in receipt of undeclared goods from 1st January 2021. HMRC has made two options available to businesses:
• Option 1: submit a full import declaration for the free-circulation procedure as soon as possible
• Option 2: submit a supplementary declaration to HMRC as soon as possible showing the correct date of import
In all cases, goods of which were imported without a customs declaration at the date of import are considered non-compliant. Neither option will constitute a legal import declaration but will enable businesses to settle any liabilities for import tax and duties.
“Consequently, there will be concerns for importers who intend to use postponed VAT accounting, as payment of import VAT will now be required when the late declaration is submitted. Furthermore, businesses may be charged civil penalties from HMRC depending on evidence of deliberate or repeated offences.”
With the 6th August deadline imminent, businesses must act quickly to submit their import declarations for any goods yet to be declared to HMRC.
Surrey Chambers are recommending to importers to carry out these compliance checks:
• Check all your imports from the EU since 1st January 2021. Imports under any Incoterms rule other than DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) are unlikely to have had the import declaration made without the importer’s input.
• Have you given authorisation to either the haulier or the seller to make customs declarations on your behalf? Have you received a request for payment of import duties/taxes? If so, it is likely the import declaration has been made and you need to contact the relevant party to obtain the customs documentation.
• Have you used a fast parcel courier service? Check if an import declaration has been made and obtain the customs documentation.
Aaron said: “Surrey Chambers operates a dedicated International Trade department. The Chamber Customs customs declaration team is happy to answer any questions and can complete customs declarations on behalf of Surrey importers and exporters of all sizes.”
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