Preparing for Brexit Custom Duty
Customs: Ten steps to get Brexit ready
Next steps for your business
Like any other tax return, businesses are responsible for correctly filling out Import and Export Declaration Forms, and paying the correct amount of Customs Duties. To ensure you’re prepared, we have outlined ten steps for businesses to follow in order to be ready for the 1st January 2021 deadline.
- Ensure you have a Customs Registration Number – EORI
You simply cannot import or export to the UK without being registered with Customs. This can be done online with Revenue at any time and can be completed in 10 minutes.
- Decide how you are going to pay your customs duties
One option is to pay customs through a cash account (TAN account). Alternatively, you can pay through a Deferred Payment Account. This allows you to import goods into Ireland from the UK and pay customs duties and import tax on those goods by direct debit the following month.
This requires applying first to Revenue for a Customs Deferred Payment Authorisation, and then to your bank for a Comprehensive Guarantee to cover the duties. You need to allow for time to get together the information for Revenue and to apply to the bank for the guarantee.
- Classify your Goods
You must know the classification for your goods when filling out your Import or Export Declaration. This is quite a complicated process and takes some time depending on your range and complexity of products – but again, you cannot import or export without giving your goods a classification number. Some think a clearance agent will do this for them, but they won’t.. And even if they do, the classification number could be wrong – don’t forget that you are responsible for ensuring you have the correct classification codes for your goods.
- Decide who will lodge Customs Declarations
You have two options when deciding who will lodge your customs declarations – employ a Clearance Agent to act on your behalf when liaising with customs, or train someone in your own company to fill out and lodge the forms. Please be warned that there is a shortage of Clearance Agents both here and in the UK.
- Determine who is responsible for customs paperwork/ charges
Talk to your suppliers and customers to confirm who is acting as Importer and/or Exporter of Record for your purchase and sale and check your terms of trade (IncoTerms).
Make a list of who you buy from in the UK, and who do you sell to. Do you deliver goods to your customers’ doors or do you expect them to import their goods themselves? Similarly, are your UK suppliers delivering to your door or do you have to import them into Ireland? Who is responsible for paying the charges? This responsibility must be clearly mapped out using either in-personnel or with your broker.
- Check additional requirements if you are handling agricultural goods
Additional veterinary checks and certificates may be required along with prior notifications with customs. You must be registered with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and familiarise yourself with what is needed ahead of the deadline – and ensure you give yourself enough time to complete any necessary checks or forms.
- Review your VAT position
With the UK out of the EU, the VAT rules have changed for trading between the UK and Ireland, and this could impact your cashflow. Review these and ensure you’re prepared. PSC have prepared separate guidance notes on VAT – see – click here
- Check the Rules of Origin
Depending on the form of free trade agreement agreed with the UK, certain goods may qualify for lower or zero tariffs depending on where the product originated. Again, this is where checking the rules of origin and getting the correct classification for your goods is essential in order to establish if your goods qualify under any free trade agreement.
- Hauliers and Freight Forwarders
Ensure you have talked with your Hauliers and Freight Forwarders and have an agreed procedure in place with them for moving goods through the Ports.
- Grants and Supports
Finally, in order to enable you to work through the points above there are a number of supports and grants available as well as training and mentoring programmes. PSC have prepared a link to guidance notes on this area – see here