UK-EU border changes and how this may affect the importing of goods

The countdown continues!

As things stand, the UK will no longer be a member of the EU at some point in the near future.  This means that UK businesses that have only traded inside the EU may need to follow the same procedures used for trading outside the EU.

In order to keep imports up to speed, businesses may find the following points helpful:

  • Register for  an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number

This is the unique registration & identification number for your business. This is completely free and only takes a couple of minutes to register. If you have previously traded with non-EU countries, you should already have one of these and won’t need to register again.

  • Find commodity code of your goods

This classifies and declares what you are importing so that you pay the correct amount of duty & import VAT. It also helps work out if you need a licence for specific goods. Commodity codes can be found under ‘Trade Tariff’ on GOV.UK.

  • Determine the value of your goods

This will help you understand how much duty & import VAT applies. The easiest way to determine this is to take the transaction value (the price payable by the buyer to the seller when sold).

  • Check if goods are restricted

Some goods need special licences in order to be imported such as plants, animals & medicines. The operator of the vehicle transporting the goods needs to complete a safety & security declaration before the goods arrive in the UK.

  • Check where the goods are from

This could reduce your import tariff.

  • Get the right CPC (Customs Procedure Code)

This identifies why goods are being imported and how they are categorised.

  • Check if you are eligible for facilitations

These are special processes available to business that trade, but you will need to make sure that you can meet the necessary obligations. More information about this is available on GOV.UK.

  • Declare your imports

The easiest way to do this is to use a customs agent, an express courier or a freight forwarder. These agents can help arrange customs clearance & fill out the forms the right way. You can also purchase software to help you declare imports. It is advised that you get training on this before doing it.

  • Pay duty and import VAT

If you are registered for UK VAT, you can delay when you have to account for import VAT by using postponed accounting. This basically means you declare and recover the import VAT due on your next VAT Return.

  • Keep records

For your own tax purposes you should keep all relevant documents for 6 years.

More can be found regarding the importing of goods on the GOV.UK website. Likewise, if you want to discuss this further then please give us a call on 0116 2423400 or drop us an email at

Jake Dempsey, Accounts & Tax

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