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Brexit - prepare your business to import goods from the EU to the UK

View profile for Cameron Stubbs
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Guidance for vocational drivers

Currently, as the United Kingdom is a member of the European Union, organisations and individuals who are importing goods from an EU member state are not required to pay certain charges. These charges include import duties and taxes. This is a result of the free movement of goods within the European Union.

As and when the United Kingdom leave the European Union, the procedures and regulations which govern how goods are imported from an EU member state will almost certainly change and will depend on if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the procedures will likely move towards the UK’s procedures with other non-EU member states, where imported goods require the payment of import duties and taxes, as well as certain licences being required to import a particular type of item.

Why it is important to check?

If an organisation, or individual imports items without paying the necessary duties, taxes or does not hold the required licence to import, then the goods being imported may be seized by Border Force or HMRC.

If Border Force seize the goods, it will be upon the individual or business who imported the goods to challenge the legality of the seizure, or request restoration of the goods. If HMRC were to seize the goods, the individual or business may be required to explain why the goods are not liable for forfeiture. These proceedings can result in hearings before the first tier tax tribunal or condemnation proceedings, if they are not resolved at an earlier stage.

If an individual or organisation has items seized and faces the above position, seeking legal advice is highly recommended.

Government advice

The government has published this advice for organisations importing goods to the UK, to assist in preparing for Brexit.

  1. Ensure the organisation has an economic operator registration and identification number (EORI) starting with ‘GB’;
  1. Decide who will be making the import declarations;

This could be a member of the organisation, or a hired customs agent.

  1. Apply to make importing easier;

Consider applying to use the transitional simplified procedure, which will reduce the information required by Border Force when importing the goods. If making regular imports, or if using the transitional simplified procedure, you may wish to make monthly payments of duties, rather than paying duty on each individual import.

  1. Check the rates of tax and duties you will be required to pay.

Failure to pay the correct rates of tax and duties may result in the imported goods being seized.

  1. Check if you need a licence or certificate for the type of good being imported.

Failure to hold the relevant licence to import a certain type of good, may also result in the goods being seized.

  1. Get help and support.

Why Stephensons?

Stephensons has a team of specialist lawyers who can assist and represent individuals and organisations who require advice, assistance and representation in matters relating to the seizure of items by HMRC and Border Force.

As specialists in this field we appreciate the serious impact when items of sentimental, commercial or substantial financial value are seized. We have been successful in securing the return of jewellery, including high value watches, antiquities, vehicles and aircraft. We can work with you and the authorities to resolve the issues as efficiently and quickly as possible.

Our lawyers regularly act for those requiring assistance with:

  • Preparing notices of claim challenging the legality of the seizure
  • Representation at condemnation proceedings
  • Applying for restoration of the goods
  • Requesting a review of a refusal to restore decision
  • Appealing a decision to the first tier tax tribunal

To speak to a member of our team call us on 01616 966 229.