New summary links from HMRC – customs declarations by UK importers or exporters (both GB and NI)

HMRC have published today (16th November) two new links to summaries for the customs declarations which need to be made by importers and exporters from 1 January 2021 regardless of whether or not a trade deal is agreed with the EU.   

The links cover goods moving both to and from GB and also NI and include internal movements between GB and NI as well as to and from the EU.  

The summary guides can be found from the links below:

The guides are helpful – but can potentially mislead the reader. 

As a specific example, in relation to moving goods from the UK to Northern Ireland the guide for sending goods from GB to NI says:

“Sending goods from Great Britain,

To Northern Ireland,

A declaration is not needed for any goods.”

The guide for bringing goods from GB to NI says:

“[Bringing or receiving] goods from Great Britain

For all goods:

·       an entry summary (safety and security) declaration must be submitted before the goods arrive

·         a declaration will need to be made when the goods arrive”

So one guide says no declarations are needed and the other says a declaration is always needed.   A reader might wonder what the difference is between sending goods, and bringing or receiving goods and why are declarations required for one transport process and not for the other?

The difference as to whether a declaration is needed is not really determined whether you are “sending” or “bringing or receiving” goods, but rather goods moving from GB to NI will need to be declared by the person who is responsible for the goods at the point of entry into Northern Ireland.   So there will be one party to a contract for a supply of goods who has to make the declaration but your contractual terms with your client will determine who is responsible for the administration and cost of submitting any declarations needed (and where the commercial risk lies if those are not done).   

So these guides from HMRC are useful, but we would recommend that businesses look at their contractual terms in detail for any sales to/from the EU and sales to NI to check exactly who is responsible for what in terms of declarations.  

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