New Trade Rules

Dear customer, If you’ve chosen to delay making customs declarations on non-controlled goods you’ve imported from the EU this year, you may need to start thinking about making a supplementary declaration. These are due within 175 days of your shipment arriving in GB – so if you imported anything in Ja‌nu‌ar‌y 2021, your supplementary declaration could be due very soon.

In this email we’ll set out some common Q&As to help you make sure you’re prepared for this, as well as some other ways that we can support you through the customs process.

Question 1: How do I know if I need to make a supplementary declaration?
Answer: If you haven’t yet made a declaration for imported goods either yourself or using an intermediary, you will need to make a supplementary declaration. This needs to be done within 175 days of the import.

Question 2: What do I need to do?
Answer: Most people use an intermediary such as a customs agent to deal with their declarations. If you have an intermediary, or if you used a service such as a courier or freight forwarder to move your goods, you should have agreed with them who will be making the declaration. If you chose to delay your declarations, you should have kept detailed records on your imported goods at the time of import – an intermediary will need this information to make a declaration on your behalf. There is still time to ask an agent to make the supplementary declaration for you, even if you have made your own entry in declarant’s records. You can search the register of customs agents and fast parcel operators on GOV‌.UK.

If you are delaying your declarations, you will need a duty deferment account. Even if you are using an intermediary, most will require you to have your own account. You should check this with your intermediary if they haven’t already advised you to set one up. A duty deferment account allows you to make one payment each month for any imports rather than paying every time you import goods. This can be helpful in managing your cashflow. You can find out how to apply for a duty deferment account for use in GB or NI on GOV‌.UK.

If you choose not to use an intermediary, and you imported any goods which are not controlled (for example not alcohol or tobacco etc.) into GB, you will need to complete the supplementary declaration yourself. If you’re unsure about which goods are controlled, you can find a full liston GOV‌.UK. If you need to make a supplementary declaration yourself you will require authorisation from HMRC including access to our systems, and software that is compatible with them. You can find more information about making your supplementary declarationson GOV‌.UK.

Question 3: Are there other authorisations that could help my business?
Answer: Depending on the nature of your business, there could be ways for you to make the customs process quicker, simpler or even less costly. For example, if you are importing goods temporarily for manufacturing or repair purposes, you may not need to pay duty on these. To help you, we have created an online tool that allows you to check which authorisations you might be eligible for.

Question 4: Is there other support available?
Answer: If your business has no more than 500 employees and up to £100 million annual turnover, you can apply for the SME Brexit Support Fund until the end of June. This offers businesses up to £2000 to pay for practical support including training or professional advice to adjust to new customs, rules of origin and VAT rules when trading with the EU.

Where to find help and support about importing and exporting
We have a range of customer support, online guidance and tutorials available to help you. Here’s some of the support that’s available.

YouTube videos
Watch our short videos on HMRC’s YouTube channel to familiarise yourself with customs processes and what you need to do before trading goods with the EU.

Live webinars
You can attend our webinars about:
Customs Import Declarations: An overview
Exporting: what you need to do to keep your goods moving
Importing: Staged introduction of customs controls
Trader responsibilities when using an intermediary
Importing – preparing to make your supplementary declaration.

If you’d like to attend a webinar you can register here.

Check out our forums
To ask and get answers to specific questions about HMRC processes for importing or exporting, please visit our customer forums.

Give us a call
Our customer service advisors are available to answer your queries on the Customs and International Trade helpline. They’ll help you with importing, exporting and customs reliefs. The helpline is open from 8a‌m to 10p‌m Mo‌nd‌ay to Fr‌id‌ay and from 8a‌m to 4p‌m at weekends. Call to speak to an advisor on 0300‌‌‌ ‌322‌‌‌ ‌9434.

We will continue to provide guidance and support to help you and your business, including information on GOV‌.UK, our popular live webinars and through these regular emails.

If you know of a business who would also find these emails helpful, please forward it on, or suggest they register to get these updates directly to their inbox.

Yours sincerely
Katherine Green and Sophie Dean 
Directors General, Borders and Trade, HMRC
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