Getting ready for BREXIT on 1st January.
Saturday, November 14th, 2020   Posted in:News

Getting ready for Brexit 1st January 2021.

There are a number of actions that businesses trading in goods between the U.K. and EU can be taking now to prepare for January 1, 2021 and the start of the U.K.’s new trading relationship. We fully expect delays at Dover during January and early February as teething issues are worked through.

If a business does not have an EORI number it will need to get one in place ASAP.

An EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number is an importer/exporter ID number.

Customs declarations will be mandatory.

There are some misunderstandings as to what the impact or benefit of a “deal” would be.

Import and export declarations will be required for trade in goods between the U.K. and EU. Once the Brexit transition period ends, the U.K. will be outside of the EU and will no longer be part of the Customs Union or Single Market. Goods that move into the U.K. from the EU after January 1, 2021 will be considered imports in place of an intra-EU acquisition. Import value-added tax (VAT) and customs duties will be payable and customs declarations will need to be made. If there is a “deal” it would likely alter the rate of duty payable on eligible goods but it would not remove the need for import and export declarations. If there is “no deal” duty will be at WTO levels. There will be charges associated with customs declarations (aka ‘clearance filing’ or ‘entries’).

European movements – practical advice from the start to all exporters/importers check list.

  1. Commercial Shipping invoices will be required for each shipment (eg. same as for exports to the USA or imports from China)
  2. For UK-EU movements a Shipper’s/Consignor’s Shipping invoice and packing list to be given at time booking to EFS (whether import or export), zero rated of VAT, HS code detailed per line item (commodity code dictates the duty level), incoterm and country of origin detailed.
  3. EORI# to be added to consignor and consignee address clearly and visible to aid smooth clearance (make sure you get this info from your suppliers and customers alike)
  4. Suggest regular importers from the EU through Dover ferry port look at acquiring their own deferment account to pay customs duty and import VAT for imports cleared through Dover. This is the most seemless payment mechanism whereby the importer can defer payment of duty and VAT to customs to the 15th of the following month from their deferment account linked to a trading bank account. The deferment account number is lodged against the clearance entry.
  5. Importer’s should consider Postponed VAT accounting for imports (see below).

Customs declarations & the need to raise commercial shipping invoices for exports will require shippers to adjust their sales admin processes as well as allow extra lead time for door to door transits.


For export shipments (road or express parcel courier) please provide your shipping paperwork at the time of booking transport to ensure an export customs entry (declaration aka EAD) is filed timely.


Import shipments & clearances.

Shipping documents must be given at time of booking & clearance instructions must be given to the clearance clerk. The declaration must be pre lodged before the vehicle leaves the EU ferry port. In practical terms our clearance team need copy of shipper’s EAD (with MRN barcode) plus the vehicle details (reg and trailer number and country of registration of the vehicle).


  1. Standard clearances. Import Duty and Import VAT payable immediately.

A full clearance at Dover for road arrivals whereby duty and import VAT are payable immediately at the border cleared against a deferment account. A charge will be levied for clearance filing. If shipments are cleared against the EFS deferment account because the importer (declarant) does not have one, import Duty and import VAT monies are required to be paid to EFS immediately and a fee will also be levied for use of the deferment account itself. New clients or high outlay amounts – until funds are received, delivery could be stopped which could also incur additional penalty charges in itself. Alternatively, importers can use their own deferment account, avoid delays, and defer payment of the duty until the 15th of the following month to customs as detailed earlier.

VAT registered businesses can choose to use postponed VAT accounting, see below.

Express parcel couriers (eg. DHL, Fedex..) will arrange clearance filing on arrival from Europe by air as they do already for international arrivals – their rates may increase to allow for clearance filing. They will contact the importer and have their own processes in place for deferment admin and associated charges and payment of import duty and VAT.


  1. Deferred Declarations & Simplified procedures. Import Duty and Import VAT can be deferred for up to 6 months.

An importer will firstly be required to obtain an authorisation from customs to be able to use this procedure in the form of a CFSP style authorisation. EFS will only use this clearance procedure for importers against written instructions from the importers CEO/MD/Owner and only using an importers own deferment account for the clearance. Postponed VAT accounting must be used. EFS will not allow this procedure to be used on its own deferment account. A charge will be levied for each part of clearance filing. EFS can raise front declarations to get goods cleared at the border (Dover) and also supplemental declarations (the actual clearance) , although will not be involved in any monitoring part.


Postponed import VAT accounting.

From January 1, 2021, import VAT will no longer be required to payable when goods enter into the U.K. Instead, postponed VAT accounting can apply to all goods imported by VAT registered importers to the U.K., including those from the EU. Under postponed accounting, import VAT will be declared and recovered on the VAT return rather than having to pay it upfront and then recover it later, which will lead to an improved cash flow position for businesses. No authorisation from customs is required to do this. Import declarants (UK importing businesses) will be required to give EFS written authorisation to arrange this on their behalf at the time of clearance declaration if this is the importers preference.



Deferment accounts.

Deferment accounts for duty may be beneficial for those importing on a regular basis from Europe. For most importers, a bank guarantee will not be required for deferred customs duty amounts below 10,000 pounds ($13,000) per month or if the business has Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) certification. Note that postponed import VAT accounting will mean that there is no need to include import VAT when considering the required level of deferment guarantee.


Duty levels by commodity (HS) code.

The U.K. has issued its own global customs tariff which is similar to, but different from, the EU Customs Union tariff. The U.K. Global Tariff can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/check-tariffs-1-january-2021


Notice 252 – Valuation of goods for Imports for Customs  – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-252-valuation-of-imported-goods-for-customs-purposes-vat-and-trade-statistics


July UK.GOV notice.



Rules of Origin.



Incoterms: internationally recognised set of rules communicating obligations, costs, and risks associated with the transportation and delivery of goods between consignor and consignee. The most common for road shipments are EX WORKS (buyer arranges collection from the factory), DAP (door to door but the importer arranges clearance and duty) and DPP (the seller pays everything including duty in destination country).


Customs Freight Simplified Procedure (CFSP) is an electronic customs declaration for speeding up the importation of goods. … HMRC treat goods imported under CFSP in the same way as goods entered under the normal procedures.


Did you know ? EFS operates its own bonded warehouse facility as well as having access to an ERTS facility nearby.


V1 6/11/2020 adjustments may be made in due course.

V2 4/2/2021 adjustments made.

Professional memberships
I have been using EFS for nearly 4 years and found the service and competitive rates to be exceptional
Sam Critchley
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