What I Need to Know Before Exporting from the UK

Now that Brexit has changed the way we’re used to operating, it can be difficult to understand the new procedures that are involved when importing and exporting goods from and to the UK. To help your business along, here are some steps for you to follow to help make exporting and importing from and to the UK a smooth process.

This guide includes information on GB EORI numbers, custom declarations, how to check what you can and can’t import and export, Duty Deferment Account (DDA) benefits, how facilitation can help your business, as well as tax, duties and VAT checks. Read on to learn more about what you should know before exporting and importing goods from and to the UK.

1. Have your GB EORI number ready

If you’ve seen that you need to get an GB EORI number but you’re not sure what it is, don’t worry. EORI is an acronym for Economic Operators Registration and Identification number. The EORI number makes it simple and easy for customs authorities to recognise businesses that wish to ship (whether that’s import or export) items into a different country.

Now that the UK has left the EU, EU countries will need businesses from the UK to provide an EORI number. This country and business number will be the unique identifier which will be used in all custom documents to assist customs authorities when keeping track of who is continuing to transfer goods.

A GB EORI number will be required if you wish to continue shipping goods to and from the UK. An EORI number is also a routine step you must take even if you have another party that deals with customs on your behalf. The same applies if you make customs declarations, use management customs systems or intend to apply for a customs decision; a GB EORI number is essential for exporters and importers but once you’ve applied for one, you can expect it to be with you in a week’s time.

Wondering where you can apply for an EORI number? Follow this link to the GOV – get an EORI number page.

Already have an EORI number?

If your business currently has an EORI number, make sure that it begins with the letters ‘GB’ because if it doesn’t, you will need to apply for a GB-specific EORI number. And for those that import and export goods out of or into Northern Ireland, you will need to obtain an XI EORI number if you haven’t already.

In the case that your business is undergoing specific declarations or your business has applied for an EU customs decision, you will need to obtain an EORI number from a country inside the EU – to do this get in touch with EU’s customs authorities who will be able to assist. And for businesses that already have an XI EORI number, you do not need to apply for an EU EORI number.

2. Prepare to submit your customs declarations

As of January 2021, exporters have been required to provide customs export declarations. This means that all businesses must and fill out a specific form to declare what goods they’re shipping. Once filled out with the relevant information, each declaration will be sent to the relevant ports and utilised by customs authority so they have an oversight and control of the goods that are being shipped outside of the EU.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a link to the Govs’ check customs declaration page.

3. Check if you can still import/exports the same 

For importers and exporters of goods such as waste, hazardous chemicals, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), prior informed consent (a unique licence) will need to be obtained. There’s an extra duty of care when it comes to such materials to ensure they are handled safely and are only ever passed onto those who are authorised to accept them.

All stages of these special shipments must be controlled to prevent any negative environmental or human impacts.

If this might affect your business operations, you can follow this link to Gov’s import and export licences and certificates for guidance.

Shipping food or manufactured goods? Be sure to look at this link to Gov’s guidance on marking, labelling and marketing standards.

Importing or exporting excise goods (alcohol, tobacco or fuel)? Follow the link to Gov’s guidance.

4. Check if you can benefit from a Duty Deferment Account (DDA)

The Duty Deferment Account, also known as the DDA, offers frequent importers the option to defer payments. This means that businesses that pay custom charges either DAN/FAS for excise, duty and VAT, or VAT can be delayed under PVA and accounted for on VAT returns. Having the ability to do this means that businesses can spend more time with their day-to-day processes and less time worrying about paying individual customs charges.

Customs can help you to set up a deferment account and the maximum limit will be agreed to ensure it is suitable for both parties. The maximum amount a business can defer is typically a full month’s worth of their customs charges. If you can defer your payments, the business can benefit from improved cash flow, savings and can be beneficial for administration of duty relief regimes – as it’s likely that payments will be paid on time and accurately.

Businesses will be unable to defer duty if:

  • A business goes over the agreed account limit in the calendar month
  • A business doesn’t have enough in their cash account to pay the entirety of a month’s deference
  • A business’ account has been paused due to insufficient or incorrect payments along with other problems with compliance

How to avoid Duty Deferment Account suspensions
If there have been significant changes to the business and this has not been communicated to HMRC, it’s likely that your account will be suspended.

This is why it’s important to contact HMRC about any changes to your business, including:

  • You changed the name of your business
  • You changed your address
  • You changed your VAT registration number
  • You ceased trading or the business is to be continued by a different legal entity
  • You decided to shut down your duty deferment account

When shutting down your duty deferment account, all outstanding payments must be squared away before doing so. It’s also important to note that you should not cancel any direct debits until you have cleared your account.

For more details about Duty Deferment Accounts, follow this link to Gov’s website.

5. Decide whether common and Union transit could benefit your business

The common and Union transit is a process that enables businesses to move goods to and from all of the EU member states that have signed the Common Transit Convention.

Businesses that use Union transit are able to move goods without having to complete customs declarations until the goods have reached the end of their transit destination. Businesses also benefit from not having to pay customs duties and other charges either until their shipped goods have completed their transit journeys too.

6. Check your businesses taxes, duties and VAT

All completed paperwork such as invoices, licences and certificates need to travel with the goods that you ship.

Always refer to the price you’ve sold your items for when completing the value of the goods within your invoices. And if you aren’t selling the goods that you ship, fill the ‘value of your goods’ invoice section in with their market value. Insurance such as freight or export that have been included in the pricing should be listed separately.

7. Turn to a customs clearance platform

At KlearNow, we provide importers, exporters, customs agents and brokers, freight forwarders and hauliers with a seamless customs clearance and document management platform, helping businesses to:

  • Save money on compliance and make the new customs process easy thanks to our one flat fee
  • Save time on HMRC audit trails thanks to all documentation and real-time data on your business dashboard
  • Gain full visibility and have everything all in one place by using any smart device such as mobiles, laptops and tablets. You can track all of your shipments to find out their location
  • As the customs management platform is AI-driven, human error is eliminated. This means you can find the right information exactly when you need it, saving time and mistakes that could otherwise lead to incorrect customs payments and suspended accounts
  • Prepare for any delays that are looking likely ahead thanks to real-time tracking alerts – which means you can keep your recipients informed
  • Ensure that all documentation is simple, sorted and easy to find whatever your location and whatever time of day or night

KlearNow is a customer-centric platform that has been created to streamline the day-to-day operations for brokers, importers and carriers. Combining AI technology with a cloud-based platform, businesses that work with us can now enjoy increased business, lower costs, full transparency and more time thanks to this innovative system that can be used 24/7.

Like to talk about how KlearNow could work for you? Contact our team today to be a part of this new and improved digital journey.