Competitive rates combined with high quality overseas manufacturing, has created an influx of many UK, Irish and EU firms sourcing products from newly industrialised countries such as Brazil, India and China to name but a few.
There are a number of challenges to overcome for first time Importers, such as the mechanics of ordering and paying for the respective product, declaring the goods to Customs and paying the import duty (if applicable), VAT and any other charges which may be due. For customs purposes the word import defines the process of bringing goods from outside the EU into the EU. Goods moving between the EU are described as acquisitions.
Imports must be formally declared or entered to Customs. Import entries are usually submitted electronically by a forwarder.
Most importers will employ an import agent/forwarder to declare the goods to Customs on their behalf and to calculate the taxes due. Once the taxes have been paid the goods can be released from Customs control to free circulation within the EU. Whilst the VAT paid at importation is usually recoverable on the VAT return, other charges are not, so any mistake made will affect the bottom line. Furthermore whilst Customs can raise assessments for underpaid import duty (capped at three years) it is much more difficult to recover overpaid duty. The message therefore is get it right first time!
Information about importing to the UK can be found on the HMRC website www.hmrc.gov.uk/businesses/. There is also a useful HMRC publication which Neptune Shipping Agency recommend called ìBreaking down the Barriers' which can be downloaded from their website.
The following top tips will help importers get it right:
Get the value right
Claim preferential duty rates
Check out any import licensing restrictions
Apply for a Duty deferment account
Apply for simplified import VAT accounting (SIVA)
Apply for general valuation statements (C109)
Check out any import duty relief
Use a bonded (Customs) warehouse
Make sure that the import agent is told in writing how to declare the goods
EORI/TURN NumbersIt is essential for a customer to register an EORI number when importing and exporting to and from the UK. Without an EORI number, it will increase the risk that customers will be treated by Customs as an 'unknown' party and this will delay the Customs Clearance.
It is important that if your EORI number has not yet been activated you contact Customs on 0845 010 9000 and select option 2, to be put through to a member of Customs who will assist with the query.
If you have any questions or queries please contact your Sales or Operations Handler who will be pleased to assist you.
Written by David Gough a VAT and duties consultant at tax consulting firm Chiltern plc.Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7153 2406. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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