HMRC writes to 160,000 businesses as further post-Brexit trade obstacles draw closer

HMRC writes to 160,000 businesses as further post-Brexit trade obstacles draw closer

The UK Government has announced that HMRC is writing to 160,000 businesses in order to explain the measures they must take to ensure they can continue trading with the EU.

In an update published on the gov.uk website yesterday, the government says the letter contains advice on the following:

  • making supplementary declarations
  • appointing a customs intermediary
  • Export Health Certificate requirements

Yesterday’s update elaborates on all three of these points and provides both warnings and suggestions for how companies can deal with new Brexit trade barriers that are on the horizon.

Making supplementary declarations

Firstly, the government warns that businesses already importing goods using delayed declarations should get ready now to have everything in place to make supplementary declarations on time. It says that traders need to decide whether to make their own declarations or get a customs intermediary to do it for them.

Traders using the delayed declarations process have 175 calendar days from the date of import from the EU, to make the supplementary declaration. However, as the government explains, those traders need to apply for a duty deferment account (DDA) and authorisation to use simplified declaration procedures now, if they have not already.

Appointing a customs intermediary

In addition, given that many firms will not be familiar with customs procedures, they may have to find themselves an expert to deal with the post-Brexit import/export procedures. The government states that business “can find information online about how to get an expert to deal with customs paperwork for them, as well as an up-to-date list of customs intermediaries that can help them.”

Nevertheless, this won’t exactly be plain sailing given the shortage of trained customs officers in the UK.

Export Health Certificate requirements

Moreover, the government warns that “as of October 1st, all products of animal origin, certain animal by-products and high-risk food not of animal origin will require pre-notification.”

On top of that, “if traders haven’t made a full customs declaration for an exports consignment, their haulier or carrier will need to submit a standalone exit summary declaration providing safety and security information.”

However, given the current driver shortage is already causing supply chain issues, it would not be a shock if these October checks were to be put back for another 6 months.

Further support and guidance

Finally, HMRC states it shall be contacting customers over the coming months with further details on what they need to do to prepare for the introduction of full customs declarations that begin on January 1st, 2022.

Commenting on the post-Brexit changes, Sophie Dean and Katherine Green, Directors General, Borders and Trade, HMRC, said:

We know how challenging it is to get used to so many changes, and we appreciate how much that UK businesses have done already. HMRC is here to help people adapt to the adjustments, and over the next few months we will carry on reaching out to businesses to help them get the right support and guidance to continue trading with the EU.

The government’s statement adds that traders can get online support and information via the following links:

Moreover, the gov.uk website offers extra online support on importing and exporting, including live webinars and YouTube videos. Customer service advisers are also available from 8‌‌am-10‌‌pm Mon‌‌day to Fri‌‌day and from 8‌‌am-4‌‌pm on weekends via 03‌‌00 32‌‌2 94‌‌34.


Photo credit: Smalljim, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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