Customs: How to simplify your engagement with customs post-Brexit

The race is on to become Brexit ready, for when the UK exits its transition stage on 31st December. So from 1st January 2021, Irish businesses must be prepared to complete customs formalities related to the movement of goods to, from and through the UK. Preparation is a process that takes time, and with the deadline inching closer and closer, it’s essential that business start their journey to become customs ready as soon as possible.

 

Essential first steps

At the very least, businesses should register for an Economic Operators Registration Identification (EORI) number and work out who will make customs declarations. If you plan on making those declarations inhouse, then you must educate yourself on how to complete them and install specific customs software. If you are planning on using a customs agent, then you must find out what data they need from you in order to make accurate declarations.

After these two steps are completed, businesses should look into other customs-related issues, such as how customs duties will be paid, the impact of customs on your supply chain and logistics, changes to VAT and excise, and any licenses or certifications your goods may need.

 

Next steps

Once these are done, it’s time to look at any ways you can improve your customs journey – and the good news is that there are many ways to simplify your interactions with customs, depending on your business model. However, as many of these take time to set up, it’s worth educating yourself now on what’s available and what you need to do.

Applications for these authorisations or simplifications are made electronically through the Customs Decision System, and in each case, an application must be made simultaneously for a comprehensive guarantee.

“Once a business has registered with customs and worked out who is looking after declarations – and how this is going to be done – you can look at some of the various simplifications or authorisations with Revenue,” explains Raphael Ryan, Assistant Principal at Revenue. “One of these is the Deferred Payment scheme, which allows you to defer payment of duties until the following month. This can really benefit your cashflow, but as it requires a guarantee with a cash deposit or from a third-party financial institution, you need time to set these up.”

Authorised consignee and consignor allow you customs clear your goods from your premises, so you have all your declarations completed before you even get to the port, making movement through the ports quicker and more streamlined,” explains Raphael.

“In addition, warehousing is another key simplification. This is for businesses that bring import goods in bulk but may not need to use them for several months, they can use customs warehousing and not pay duty until they are released for use.” Temporary storage is a related simplification, in which goods are kept under customs supervision until they are placed under a customs procedure, re-exported or destroyed.

“In terms of outward processing and inward processing, these are mainly linked with manufacturing companies that are bringing in goods from the UK for further processing,” Raphael continues. “This allows you to reduce some duties, and it’s linked with comprehensive guarantees.” More information on inward processing can be found in our recent webinar.

Other simplifications are available for bigger businesses with a lot of goods in transit. “Simplified Declarations and EIDR [Entry in the Declarants Records] are mainly for larger companies that would have the capability for monitoring and managing the flow of goods through their premises, and keeping detailed records of these. It’s something that larger operators should consider as it does give them extra benefits too, such as keeping the flow of goods as close as possible to just in time.”

Information on these simplifications and authorisations is available on Revenue.ie, along with contact details for more guidance on setting up the relevant systems. “There is a lot of information on Revenue.ie and we’re updating it constantly with step-by-step explainers and more aids,” ends Raphael.

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