HMRC signs up 95,000 businesses to simplified import procedures

exports
Jim Harra

HMRC has automatically registered 95,000 businesses for its simplified import procedures allowing most traders up to 6 months to pay import duties and submit customs declarations, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal at the end of October.

The scheme, known as Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP), will make importing after Brexit on 31 October much simpler, particularly for businesses that would be completing customs processes for the first time. Up to now, businesses have had to apply for it – over 30,000 had previously registered.

This TSPscheme will allow most businesses up to 6 months to send in customs declarations and pay any customs duties to HMRCafter importing goods from the EU. This will prevent congestion at the border when goods enter the UK.

The government has chosen to automatically enrol VAT-registered businesses that import from the EUinto the TSPscheme as it is the best option for businesses that are new to customs processes and haven’t yet appointed a customs agent. Businesses that are not registered for VATshould apply for the scheme if it would benefit them.

HMRC Interim CEO Jim Harra said: “We are doing everything we can to help businesses get ready for Brexit on 31st October. This move will support the trade of thousands of businesses and is part of our longstanding policy of making sure we continue to keep trade flowing.”

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “At a time of change, the top priorities at the border have to be keeping trade flowing and minimising the potential for disruption.

“Automatically registering companies for TSPat the border means one less immediate demand on traders’ limited time and resources in the unwanted event of a ‘no-deal’ exit.

“In particular, it would help the thousands of UK firms who import from the EUbut have little experience of dealing with customs processes. We are pleased that ministers have again listened to BCC’s calls to reduce the number of administrative hoops businesses will need to jump through as they navigate major changes to the way they trade across borders.”

Businesses registered for TSPtoday are UK-based traders that HMRChas a record of having imported goods from the EUin 2018.

HMRChas sent letters to these traders with further details of their TSPregistration, and they only have to take a few simple extra steps – such as checking if their goods attract tariffs, and getting a Duty Deferment Account if they do – to make sure that they are ready for 31st October.

Importers do not have to use TSP: they still also have the option to use full import processes instead. However, HMRCstrongly advises traders new to dealing with customs to take advantage of the benefits of TSP.