Delaying import declarations – Great Britain

Feb 03, 2021

The UK has a phased plan for the introduction of border controls on imports into Great Britain from 1 January 2021 until 30 June 2021. If you import goods from the EU into Great Britain that are not on the controlled goods list, and they are moving from EU free circulation to Great Britain free circulation, you may be able to delay import declarations for up to 175 days after import.

Examples of controlled goods include all goods subject to excise duty (alcohol, tobacco etc), controlled dugs, toxic chemicals, endangered species, and fishery products.  Import declarations must be made for these goods.

Free circulation means goods have cleared customs and are moved directly from import, from a customs special procedure (e.g. customs warehousing), from a temporary storage facility or using transit procedures if the movement of the goods started in the EU).

In order to delay import declarations, you must make a record of the imported goods in your commercial records at the time of import. You do not need to get authorisation from HMRC in advance.

You will need to send HMRC full information about your goods in a supplementary declaration within 175 days of your goods arriving in Great Britain. You must get authorisation from HMRC before you submit supplementary declarations and HMRC recommend that you apply for this as soon as possible.

You can find more information about delaying import declarations on GOV‌‌‌.UK.

If you decide to get someone else to deal with your customs declarations for you, they’ll be able to do this for you using their own authorisation. If your business is not established in the UK, you must get someone established in the UK to deal with customs for you (and they must act indirectly).

You must still apply and be authorised for a duty deferment account to pay any duties owed on goods by monthly direct debit, even if your goods do not attract customs or excise duty. You need to have set this up before you complete your supplementary declaration. Even if you choose to use a customs intermediary, they may ask you to get your own duty deferment account.

Safety and security declarations

From 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021 you can import controlled and non-controlled goods from the EU without making an entry summary declaration. This is also known as the safety and security declaration.

You must follow the normal rules for making an import declaration if either:

  your goods are controlled

  • HMRC has told you to because you have a poor compliance record.