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Importing or exporting goods after Brexit

View profile for Alison Marriott
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Guidance for vocational drivers

The UK’s departure from the EU brings about a period of uncertainty for many UK businesses, as they try to plan for and adapt to the possible changes.

At 11pm on January 31st 2020 the UK entered a transition period which is due to last until the end of 2020. During this period the UK and the EU will be negotiating future arrangements and the current rules on trade, travel, and business for the UK and EU will continue to apply.

The government's website invites people to complete a questionnaire to check how any changes may affect them, whether as an individual or for those running businesses. You are also able to subscribe to receive email updates regarding the relevant changes.

For businesses who import/export goods or other items within the EU it will be important to keep on top of the changes and to consider how this may affect you or your business.

The new arrangements may affect businesses who find themselves the subject of an investigation by Border Force or HMRC officers who wish to inspect goods being imported or exported.  Goods can be seized by Border Force or HMRC for a number of reasons, but we often find that this is due to poor or inadequate paperwork or errors in the paperwork.

Challenge a customs & excise seizure

Under the current arrangements if you have items seized and you do not believe the seizure was right then, as the owner of the items, you can challenge it. This must be done within one month of the seizure.

Whether you believe the seizure was right or not you can still request your items back. This process is called restoration. The relevant authority will usually expect to receive a request for restoration of a seized item within one calendar month of the date of seizure or the date on the notice of seizure.

If they decide not to return your items to you, you can then ask for the decision to be reviewed. The request must be received by HMRC or Border Force within 45 days of the date of the restoration decision letter.

If the request for a review is also refused an appeal can be lodged with the tax tribunal. This must be within 30 days of the review conclusion.

How can we help?

At Stephensons we have a team of solicitors who are specialists in customs and excise law who are able to assist those who have had goods seized at all stages of the process and we have successfully had items restored at each stage. It is important to consult a solicitor at the earliest opportunity to ensure you have the best chance of your items being returned. Any inconsistencies or inaccuracies in your application can have an impact on the likelihood of having the items restored.

Our specialist lawyers at Stephensons will be able to advise on any changes to the process during the transition period and once the new arrangements are in place.

If you have any queries please call us on 01616 966 229 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.

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