Customs clearance and couriers

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Nicola Alexander

Nicola Alexander

Since 01.01.21 businesses have been required to import and export products between the EU and UK. It goes without saying that the work involved in the necessary customs clearances for this have significantly increased – issuing clearance instructions, obtaining customs declarations and carrying out customs compliance checks on this documentation all need to be completed on each consignment.

The key to completing these in an accurate and timely manner is twofold: ensure that efficient processes are in place, and capture any irregularities at source. This will go a long way towards supporting already stretched teams with their increased workload. You can read our guide on getting the basics right at: https://bethancustomsconsultancy.com/customs-consultancy-advise-back-to-basics-approach-to-tackle-brexit-concerns/

That said, we at Bethan have been made aware of a further potential complication for many companies in relation to the process surrounding Fast Parcel Operators. A number of pressing concerns seem to come up time and again, and we felt it would be helpful to highlight some of these common issues and provide some top tips to help ensure compliance within your organisation.

These include:

1. Goods being delivered without the request for clearance instructions;
2. Customs entries being completed, but not in line with clearance instructions;
3. Difficulty obtaining copies of the customs entries;
4. Additional fees incurred by use of Fast Parcel Operators deferment accounts to pay any duties and VAT to HMRC, over and above standard transportation costs.

1. As we’ve said previously, goods just turning up at the door should not and cannot be considered as having reached the end of their journey. They still must be customs cleared, along with confirmation of that clearance. Whether they have been cleared without your knowledge, or fall under the deferred entries category, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are aware of the process that has been followed to ensure accurate reporting to HMRC.

2. As part of your compliance checks on entries, you should take the appropriate action with HMRC if you identify any irregularities.

3. Our advice would be to subscribe to the HMRC MSS Reports to ensure that your records match exactly those of HMRC. These reports will allow you to establish which Fast Parcel Operators have entered goods against your EORI, and will detail the declarant reference to allow for the documents to be requested.
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mss-supporting-guidance

4. Communications is key. Liaising with your Fast Parcel Operator key account manager to establish the key notes that are held against your company will help to ensure that your instructions are followed. For example, you’ll be able to request that clearance instructions are obtained prior to clearing the goods. Working together in this way will allow for the request, and provision of your company’s written clearance instructions, inclusive of your deferment account or the customs regime that you wish the goods to be cleared under.  No one likes unexpected costs, and by establishing these ground rules you can easily avoid them.

Photo: Jonathan Addie Photography – https://www.jonathanaddie.com/