On 12 June 2020, the government announced the approach to border controls on GB-EU trade in 2021 and it formally notified the EU that it will not accept or seek an extension to the Transition Period.
In recognition of the unprecedented impact that coronavirus has had, border controls are being introduced in stages, to give businesses more time to prepare. The stages are:
- From January 2021: Traders importing standard goods will need to prepare for basic customs requirements and will have up to six months to complete customs declarations. Tariff payments can be deferred until the customs declaration has been made. Traders moving controlled goods such as tobacco and toxic chemicals will be required to complete a customs declaration. Businesses will also need to consider how they account for VAT on imported goods. There will also be physical checks at the point of destination on all high-risk live animals and a proportion of low-risk live animals.
- From April 2021: All products of animal origin (POAO) and all regulated plants and plant products will also require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation.
- From July 2021: Traders moving all goods will have to make declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant tariffs. Full Safety and Security declarations will be required, while for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) commodities there will be an increase in physical checks and the taking of samples.
This approach does not apply to the flow of trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland, or between Northern Ireland and GB.
Moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021
The Northern Ireland Protocol will take effect from 1 January 2021. New guidance provides support for businesses engaging in new processes under the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Apply for grants if your business completes customs declarations
Businesses can apply for three grants to help their business complete customs declarations. They can apply to get funding for:
- training that helps a business to complete customs declarations and processes;
- hiring new staff to help their business complete customs declarations;
- IT improvements to help their business complete customs declarations more efficiently.
More information on the scheme and how to apply is available from HMRC.
Find customs agents and fast parcel operators from 1 January 2021
HMRC maintains a list of customs agents and fast parcel operators who can help submit customs declarations from 1 January 2021.
The Government is opening information and advice sites across the UK to prepare hauliers for the end of the transition period. The sites will offer hauliers one-to-one training on the new procedures coming into place, with support available in 13 different languages.
A Haulier Handbook has also been published. The handbook, which will also be translated into 13 different languages, acts as a one-stop-shop to provide key information and advice on customs procedures, clearly setting out how hauliers can prepare themselves, their vehicles and their goods to continue travelling smoothly across the GB-EU border and help minimise disruption.