Courtesy of The Raithwaite Estate Spa, N Yorks

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to


Jan Brexit

Extract taken from Sage e-book 


As from 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020, the UK now have a customs border with EU countries, with full customs controls. This means import and export declarations will be required for a business task that was formerly comparatively straightforward, such as bringing goods into the UK from France or Germany. Customs and excise duty might be payable on imports, as well as VAT. To allow for a period of adjustment, the UK government is making allowances – some permanent, some temporary – that mean businesses aren’t faced with a sudden strain on their administrative resources, or overwhelming cash flow requirements. We take a look at some of these below, however, first it’s necessary to understand the changes that the end of the transition period have brought about as of 1st January 2021. 

With a customs border now existing between the EU and UK (with the exception of Northern Ireland and Ireland), moving goods between the UK and EU is now considered importing and exporting. From an administrative point of view, this will involve customs declarations, and requires understanding of previously arcane knowledge such as commodity codes and customs procedure codes. The basics are as follows: 

Importing overview Customs and excise duties might be payable on imports into the UK from the EU, as with non-EU countries. As discussed below, you can make use of existing simplified import measures to reduce the administrative requirements. The UK Global Tariff (UKGT) replaces the EU’s Common External Tariff. It applies to all imports from countries for which the UK does not have a trade agreement. You can check the tariff for an import using the government website’s lookup tool. You may need to apply for licences to import certain goods into the UK, and some goods might require an inspection fee be paid. 

Many businesses exporting to the EU from 1 January 2021 will use the simplified declaration procedure, although this can only be used for certain kinds of exported goods. It means you don’t need to provide as much information as a full declaration up front, and can instead use a pre-shipment advice declaration. But you still need to provide the rest of the customs export information at a later date. 

You can also simplify export paperwork requirements using the entry in declarant’s records (EIDR) procedure, although this only applies to goods that don’t need a pre-departure declaration. Note that simplified declarations and entry in declarant’s records both require you apply to HMRC, and to be authorised before use to use them. If making any kind export declarations yourself, rather than use a customs intermediary, you’ll need to register for and use the National Export System (NES), which will let you make declarations electronically. You’ll need what’s known as a CHIEF badge role. 

Following this, you can make export declarations via the web, email, or using software. An alternative is to all these options is to use a Community System Provider (CSP). You can use your own import/export software to access their system, and use their CHIEF registration. However, there will be a fee. Some goods require export licences, and there are additional rules specific to alcohol, tobacco and certain oils, and for controlled goods. You’ll need to ensure you have these in place prior to export.

Customs declarations includes a number of pieces of information including the EORI number, commodity code, customs procedure code (CPC), the value of goods for customs purposes, the weight or size and country of origin. Import declarations can be complicated and require software that can integrate into the government’s Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. Eventually, this will be replaced with the Customs Declaration Service, or CDS, which already must be used for goods moving to or from Northern Ireland (including goods moving between Northern Ireland and England, Wales or Scotland). 

But as of now, the CHIEF system remains in use, and should be used as of 1 January 2021 for most imports and exports. EORI numbers From 1 January 2021, all UK businesses located in Great Britain (that is England, Scotland or Wales) that import or export goods to or from the European Union (EU) will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI). Businesses in Northern Ireland might need an EORI too. In fact, businesses might need up to three different types of EORI, depending on the location of your business and what it does: 

  • • Businesses in Great Britain: To trade goods with EU countries, you’ll need an EORI number that starts with GB. However, if your business only moves goods between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – and nowhere else – it will not usually require an EORI number. 
  • • Businesses moving goods to or from Northern Ireland: If you move goods to or from Northern Ireland, you’ll need a second EORI number that starts with XI. This includes moving goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, and moving goods between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries. 
  • • Businesses making declarations or getting customs decisions in EU countries: If your business makes declarations or gets customs decisions in an EU country, you’ll need to get an EORI from the customs authority in the EU country where you submit your first declaration, or request your first decision. In 2019, the UK government began sending out GBseries EORI numbers to businesses that it believed required them. These are likely to have been sent to your business’ registered address, as provided with your VAT registration. If you haven’t received your EORI number, you can apply online.

The UK government describes Brexit as the start of a new relationship with the countries of the EU, along with their inhabitants. Businesses that mirror this attitude as they carry out the required administrative changes moving forward might find the light at the end of the tunnel arrives more quickly. There are fresh opportunities for businesses, and there’s a need to think creatively and to be prepared to harness the advantages brought by change. Above all, though, businesses need to act now. We might not know 100% of what’s happening but we know enough to start making real changes to areas such as VAT accounting, and customs declarations. 

Additionally, there’s a need to continue this attitude and approach in the coming years. The coming decade is likely to see an ongoing requirement to adapt and evolve as the UK government fully rolls out the new laws and regulations that affect trade with our EU neighbours, and the businesses in the UK adapt culturally and professionally. 

For more, see the government website:

Article extract taken from Sage e-book, see it in its entirety on the link below:



No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Monday, 19 April 2021

Our Sponsors