The transitional, simplified procedures will be put in place to reduce queues at ports in the event of a no-deal Brexit © AFP/Getty Images
The transitional, simplified procedures will be put in place to reduce queues at ports in the event of a no-deal Brexit © AFP/Getty Images

Customs checks to be streamlined in no-deal Brexit

5 February 2019

Lorries will be able to drive straight into the UK without having to make customs declarations in the event of a no-deal Brexit, guidance has said.

Under plans for “Transitional Simplified Procedures” by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), firms would have to file a form in advance of crossing the border and pay duty later. Under current import processes for non-EU countries, goods are not released from customs control until you make a full import declaration and pay the duty owed in full.

Writing to 145,000 VAT-registered UK businesses trading with the EU, HMRC advised importers that they would be able to submit a short form, a “simplified frontier declaration”, at least 2hrs before the lorry was due to cross the channel by ferry, or 1hr before crossing via the Channel Tunnel.

Lorries would then be able to enter the UK without having to complete any more paperwork at the border, with a supplementary declaration submitted and duties paid following the arrival of the goods.

The procedures would come into effect at 11pm GMT on 29 March 2019 in the event of no-deal Brexit and would be introduced on ferry routes from Europe and for the Channel Tunnel in a bid to reduce queues at ports. To use the procedures firms must have an EORI number.

HMRC said the procedures would be reviewed after three months and would be in place for at least a year should the UK leave the EU without a Brexit deal.

Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury, said: “HMRC is helping businesses get prepared and has written three times to affected businesses, each time stepping up the advice and encouraging them to take action.”

He continued: “This latest letter, and new guidance announces Transitional Simplified Procedures for EU trade which will ease the transition, especially for businesses new to the rules associated with importing.”

The simplified procedures come after the government tested plans for border disruption with 89 lorries using Manston Airport near Ramsgate as a giant lorry park to prevent traffic jams around channel ports.

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