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Northern Powerhouse European Union

What businesses need to do

Check what guidance you need to follow

Key Changes

The UK has made continuity agreements with many countries and continues to negotiate further FTAs, however, businesses should still check changes to processes, tariffs and quotas as part of our new arrangements. Some preferential trade terms will have changed and it’s important you check these to mitigate supply chain risks.  

It’s also important to check WTO tariffs to understand impacts from trade with countries not covered by continuity agreements or Free Trade Agreements.  

The government have published guidance on how to bring goods into the UK from outside the EU, including how much tax and duty businesses need to pay and whether they need to get a licence or certificate, as outlined below: 

Step 1: Check what guidance you need to follow 

You need to follow these steps if you're bringing goods into the UK - for example for selling, processing or using in your business. 

What you need to do is different if you are: 

Step 2: Register your business for importing 

You can apply for simplified declaration procedures and for Authorised Economic Operator status. These are most suitable for businesses that import goods regularly. 

Step 3: Decide who will make customs declarations and transport the goods 

You can hire someone to deal with customs and transport the goods for you, or you can do it yourself. Most businesses that import goods use a transporter or customs agent. 

Step 4: Classify your goods 

You must find the right commodity code to classify the goods you're importing. This will tell you the rate of duty you need to pay and if you need an import licence. 

Your customs agent or transporter might be able to help you with this. 

And Find out if you can delay or reduce your duty payment 

You may be able to delay or reduce the amount of duty you pay based on where the goods are from and what you plan to do with them. 

Step 5: Value your goods 

How much VAT and duty you pay depends on the value of your goods and the rate of duty you need to pay. 

Step 6: Get a licence or certificate if you need one 

You might need to get a licence or certificate if you're importing things like plant or animal products, high-risk food or feed, medicines, textiles, chemicals or firearms. Your customs agent or transporter might be able to help you with this. 

Step 7: Get your goods through customs 

If you've appointed someone to deal with UK customs for you, they'll make the declaration and get your goods through the UK border. 

You'll then be told how much VAT and duty to pay. You’ll also be sent an Import VAT Certificate (C79) in the post as proof you have paid. 

Step 8: Claim a VAT refund 

If you're VAT registered, you can claim back any VAT you paid on the goods you've imported. You’ll need your C79. 

Step 9: If you paid the wrong amount of duty or rejected the goods 

Step 10: Keep invoices and records 

You must keep records of commercial invoices and any customs paperwork, including your C79. 

If you imported controlled goods, for example, firearms keep the paperwork that shows who owns the goods. 

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