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June 18, 2020

UK announces new measures to support customs intermediaries and controls for importing goods will now apply from July 2021

The United Kingdom (UK) Government has announced the (Brexit) transition period will not be extended and controls for importing goods will now apply from July 2021. It is important to note the following timeline for next steps:

  • From January 2021: Traders importing standard goods, covering everything from clothes to electronics, will need to prepare for basic customs requirements, such as keeping sufficient records of imported goods, and will have up to six months to complete customs declarations. While tariffs will need to be paid on all imports, payments can be deferred until the customs declaration has been made. There will be checks on controlled goods like alcohol and tobacco. Businesses will also need to consider how they account for value-added tax on imported goods. There will also be physical checks at the point of destination or other approved premises on all high-risk live animals and plants.
  • From April 2021: All products of animal origin (POAO) – for example meat, pet food, honey, milk or egg products – and all regulated plants and plant products will also require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation.
  • From July 2021: Traders moving all goods will have to make declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant tariffs. Full Safety and Security declarations will be required, while for SPS commodities there will be an increase in physical checks and the taking of samples: checks for animals, plants and their products will now take place at GB Border Control Posts.

As well as giving businesses more time to prepare, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has unveiled a new package of measures to accelerate growth of the UK's customs intermediary sector. As well as injecting £50 million (total now over £84m) to support businesses with recruitment, training and supplying IT equipment to handle customs declarations, the Government intends to remove barriers for intermediaries taking on extra clients by adapting the rules around financial liability.

EY Global Trade has the experience to assist taxpayers in preparing for compliance with (and tax efficient) Customs declarations as well as with the implementation of necessary controls.

HMRC's press release is available here.


For additional information with respect to this Alert, please contact the following:

Ernst & Young LLP (United Kingdom), Global Trade Lead, London

  • Marc Bunch

Ernst & Young LLP (United Kingdom), Bristol

  • Charlotte Prescott


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