Export Declarations


Arrival messages

Arrival messages should be made as the goods arrive at the port or airport and must contain several specific pieces of information.

Departure messages

As with arrival documentation, departure messages should contain all core information required to progress the movement of goods, the detail of which will be completed by the customs agent.

If transport details on the departure messages are incomplete, you will need to seek permission from HMRC before withdrawing any goods from the port.


Repairs and leasing

Goods exported from the UK for maintenance or repair (without a change of ownership) may use a Customs Special Procedure at export and subsequent re -import. The use of a Customs Special Procedure could potentially reduce any relevant duties at the time of re-import.


As ever, we are here to help. If you’d like to discuss these changes, and how they may affect your business, please get in touch with us at info@bethancc.com.


For further information visit: 






Customs consultancy advise ‘back to basics’ approach to tackle Brexit concerns


See below recent press coverage for Bethan Customs Consultancy:


A leading North-east customs consultancy has highlighted the need for businesses to understand basic customs documentation as they adjust to our new trading relationship with the EU.


Founder and Director of Oldmeldrum-based Bethan Customs Consultancy, Nicola Alexander, said that a high proportion of businesses who deal solely with the EU have never previously needed to complete customs declarations to move their goods. As a result, there appears to be a collective gap in awareness on how to complete the documentation required needed to import and export goods in our post-Brexit economy.


She explained: “New rules covering imports, exports, tariffs and data came into force on 1st January this year, and in some cases businesses may now need a licence or certificate to continue trading with EU countries. The exact requirements for each business will vary depending on what is being exported, its value, where the product originates from and to which country it is being sent.


“For some time now, we have been working closely with our clients to support their knowledge and understanding of the operational changes necessary for a seamless transition into these new trading conditions. However, judging by the volume of requests for support that we have received from companies who are not current clients, there is a degree of apprehension across the wider business community about how to navigate this new customs landscape. These queries indicate a lack of awareness about the process that will allow businesses to continue moving goods without incurring costs or delays.


“There are several simple steps that can help. For example, implementing import and export procedures within your business will provide a clear ‘go to’ guide for staff.  Creating template documents such as commercial invoices and import clearance instructions within your business will ensure the information being supplied to the agent remains consistent, and streamlines the clearance process.”


In a bid to help businesses understand how the new arrangements are operating in practice, the Bethan team plan to release a series of short Q&A videos.


The firm will also be running two bite-size training sessions on ‘Imports’ and ‘Exports’ in the coming weeks.


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

Border Control Posts – What You Need to Know

A Border Control Post is a dedicated area within a port area where Government agencies can inspect goods prior to import / export. This inspection can take the form of a physical check, or a documentation check. Government agencies may also allow the import / export process to continue without their involvement.
With various uncertainties and changes in prospect, and as we all adapt to a new movement of goods process, it would be sensible to expect the frequency of these physical and /or documentation checks to increase, along with a more structured inspection programme.
If this is something you have limited experience of, it’s only natural to feel some trepidation. However, an understanding of the process, and your role in it, whether you are a business or port authority, goes some way towards alleviating this.

What does the inspection process look like?

Clear communication and co-operation between port authorities and businesses is vital in addressing the practical measures that will ensure these inspections take place in a timely and efficient manner.
Any physical inspections may delay the import / export of goods, so it’s important to factor in considerations such as whether these are perishable.
There are several logistical storage and handling issues to consider. Does the port or harbour have a lay-down area to act as a Border Control Post? Is this clear, accessible and available to use at short-notice?
Does the port have an adequate facility with the associated equipment in place?


You should make sure that all of your shipping documentation is in order, including, for example, cargo summaries, invoices and manifests.


Contingency planning

There are a number of reasons why Government agencies might not give permission for the import / export to proceed ranging from straightforward documentation irregularities or errors, to the import / export of unauthorised goods. Potential actions by Government agencies can include the detention of goods, monetary penalties, payment of the Duty and VAT, as well as criminal proceedings.

The team at Bethan Customs Consultancy have extensive experience spanning HMRC, Border Force and supply chain and logistics. We can support businesses at every stage of the process from guiding through standard inspections and follow-up visits, to liaising with HMRC in ensuring compliance and minimising penalties.

As ever, we are here to help. If you’d like to discuss these changes, and how they may affect your business, please get in touch.
Photos by: Grant Anderson – www.grantanderson.me / @grantandersondotme

Deferred Customs Entries

Photos by: Grant Anderson – www.grantanderson.me / @grantandersondotme

As of 1st January 2021, HMRC are allowing businesses to defer entry of their Customs declarations on goods imported or exported for up to 6 months. In essence this will maintain the security of the supply chain during what promises to be a period of upheaval for businesses which trade with EU partners.

As a business, the most important consideration is whether the deferring of the declarations works for your commercial business. You will still be required to input all the relevant information from your records into your commercial systems at the time of the transaction, even if you don’t send this to your freight forwarder immediately. However, it does allow you to continue importing business critical goods without incurring potential delays while setting up the new process.

If you are interested in this option, there are a number of factors to bear in mind.


Any UK company importing goods from the EU should have a GB EORI number.

Know your goods

Make sure you are fully aware of your customs obligations in relation to your goods. For example, what is their tariff code? Do your goods attract customs duty? Do they require any other certification, such as an import licence, health certification or certificates of conformity? Does your import declaration require any additional support documentation?

Controlled goods

The deferred declaration process is not applicable in the case of controlled goods, so businesses which import or export these must follow the normal rules for making import declarations.

Controlled goods include:

• Alcohol products
• Tobacco products
• Fish
• Fertiliser
• Plants
• Animals
• Explosives

VAT requirements

Is your business registered for UK VAT? Do you need to be registered for UK VAT? If you wish to use Postponed VAT Accounting, then a UK VAT registration is a necessity to allow this facilitation. All business should retain within their commercial records the import transaction information to ensure accurate duty and VAT is being paid.

Commercial records

Before importing the goods, it’s important to ensure that your business records are of a sufficient standard to document and maintain all the relevant information. In addition to the standard import transaction information held, companies will be expected to record the date and time of arrival of the goods within their commercial premises.


Should you wish to defer making an Import Declaration – you have up to 6 months to submit the Supplementary Declaration to HMRC. Of course, no business would want to be in the position of having to make all their declarations at the same time, so it’s worth putting in place a process for the declarations to be made within a business acceptable timeline.

Monies will be taken from the Deferment Account when the supplementary declaration / deferred declaration has been submitted.

Who will be making the declarations?

Customs Freight Agents can make the declarations to Customs on your behalf. Does your business have a preferred Customs Freight Agent? If you have engaged the services of a Customs Freight Agent, have you checked whether they can or will make Deferred Customs Declarations for your business? Have you asked them if you can utilise their Deferment Account, and is there a cost associated with doing so?

Alternatively, if you intend to make your own Customs Declarations, there are several important considerations. Do you have personnel with the necessary experience and specialist knowledge to carry this out on behalf of the business? Do you have the necessary software to complete these Declarations and communicate with HMRC?

If so, your business will require a Deferment Account, which must be set up and authorised by HMRC prior to your first deferred declaration being presented.

And finally….

The legislative requirements surrounding customs declarations are subject to change at the moment. For the most up-to-date information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/prepare-to-import-to-great-britain-from-january-2021.

As ever, we are here to help. If you’d like to discuss these changes, and how they may affect your business, please get in touch.

Photos by: Grant Anderson – www.grantanderson.me / @grantandersondotme

The Free Trade Agreement and your Business

Photos by: Grant Anderson – www.grantanderson.me / @grantandersondotme

As the end of the Brexit transition period looms ever closer, we’re all eagerly waiting to find out whether the UK government and their EU counterparts can reach a Free Trade Agreement.

Any such agreement would allow ‘free’ trade between the EU and the UK. It would mean that, if we have a full Free Trade Agreement covering all the relevant sectors, the rate of duty would be 0%, allowing the movement of goods without the payment of any additional duty. So far so good, but there are still several changes in the pipeline that you need to consider, regardless of whether an agreement is reached or not.


There seems to be a common misunderstanding that a Free Trade Agreement would remove the need for any additional paperwork. This is certainly not the case! Businesses must still adhere to all the standard administrative regulations from trade bodies such as HMRC, HSE and DEFRA. Anyone exporting goods from the UK will still be required to complete export declarations in the UK, and ensure that goods are formally imported into the EU with an import declaration, and vice versa.

In order for HMRC to process import / export declarations, detailed and comprehensive documentation must be submitted to them, so it’s vital that you factor in the additional time and cost of consolidating all of this information, as well as process time with HMRC and other Government bodies.


With this increased volume of official documents required across the supply chain, it’s imperative that businesses pay close attention to the terms and conditions of contracts, particularly in relation to risk and the liability for making declarations and paying any relevant duties.

EORI numbers

It’s also worth noting that businesses may require both EU and UK Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers in order to make import / export declarations. If you have already held or been allocated one of these, you can apply to HMRC online. It’s a straightforward process which typically takes HMRC around 3 days to approve.

Trade Tariffs

Finally, businesses should also be aware of both the UK and the EU trade tariffs for their goods, regardless of whether there is a Free Trade Agreement in place or not. Depending on the terms of sale previously agreed with the customer, the liability for paying any additional duties may well lie with them.

If you’d like to discuss these changes, and how they may affect your business, we’d be happy to have a chat. You can get in touch with us at: info@bethancc.com.

Smooth Sailing – Customs Planning Advice for Port Authorities

Exporting support Bethan Customs Consultancy

As things stand, it’s full steam ahead for the end of the Brexit transition period on 31st December 2020. This will have significant implications for port authorities in relation to the customs procedures and documentation required for goods being imported and exported.

Customs entries

Previously free circulation goods were allowed to move within the EU with no tax or duties payable. However, all EU states will now be classed as a third country, and vice versa. As such, port users should be aware that customs entries will be required for all cargo, and may be required to show that the goods comply with EU standards.

Port authorities should also consider whether they have the correct approvals in place to allow commercial businesses / customers to import and export goods through the port?

It’s also worth checking whether port users have the relevant Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers. EORI should be held by all UK and EU businesses looking to import and export goods, from / to each other. Previously EORI numbers issued in the UK would have been accepted in the EU. However, post 31.12.2020, there will be GB EORI and EU EORI numbers. Therefore, all businesses within the supply chain should ensure they have the appropriate EORI.

Temporary storage facilities

All goods being shipped to the EU will require a pre-shipment security declaration before departure, potentially delaying vessels loading/departing. Consideration should be given to whether goods will need to be temporarily stored within the port site.

Any such storage facility must be approved by Border Force, meeting their specific criteria for security purposes, and allowing goods to be examined and customs cleared with minimal disruption.

Import and export documentation

While draft legislation in relation to exports is in place in the UK, the EU’s full expectations will be revealed in the final trade agreement.

So it’s vital to be prepared for changes to UK requirements. The likelihood is that port users will need to liaise more with HMRC in order to progress the clearance of goods. More documents will be required when importing and exporting goods going forward – for example, goods being exported to the EU will require documentation proving that they meet EU standards.

Port approvals

Businesses which currently hold approvals within the EU for importing and exporting may find that these no longer apply in the UK. There is still some uncertainty regarding how the situation will be resolved, but there is the potential that these approvals could be invalid once the transition period ends. Going forward, the onus will be on businesses to ensure their approvals remain valid.

Access to Government agencies

Something else to bear in mind – Government agencies are more likely to be visible within port areas post 31st December 2020, including HMRC, Border Force, Police, Trading Standards, Food Standards, Fishery authorities.

If you’d like to discuss these changes, and how they may affect your business, we’d be happy to have a chat. You can get in touch with us at: info@bethancc.com.

Fancy Joining Our Team?

Compliance Executive…

We currently have an exciting opportunity for a Compliance Executive to join our highly experienced and passionate team.

We are looking for a self-motivated individual with excellent knowledge of customs legislation and a full understanding of supply chain procedures.

If you have the following experience, we would love to hear from you:
– Several years experience within a similar role
– A positive “can do” attitude
– Excellent communication skills
– Excellent knowledge of Microsoft Excel, Word and Power Point

For more information or to apply, please send a covering letter along with your CV to:  nicola.alexander@bethancc.com

Closing Date: Friday 23 October 2020

George’s appointment bolsters Bethan team

George Laing

An Oldmeldrum-based business which provides customs and supply chain support has doubled its team since the start of the year with a number of key appointments, the most recent being former HMRC Higher Officer, George Laing.

Bethan Customs Consultancy has appointed George to the role of Customs Consultant, where he joins fellow consultant and former HMRC colleague, Elaine Lownds and the firm’s director, Nicola Alexander.

Since January of this year, the team has doubled from three members of staff to six.

George’s addition to the team creates new opportunities for Bethan to meet the increasing demand for its bespoke and independent service offerings, as well as to expand its capacity for dedicated in-house and remote customs consultancy to clients.

Before taking up his role with Bethan, George enjoyed a very distinguished 43-year career within the civil service. He has held a number of roles within the Inland Revenue and HMRC in both Glasgow and the North East. Most recently he worked as a Higher Officer in Customs International Trade, where he specialised in Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) approval processes.

Director and founder of Bethan Customs Consultancy, Nicola Alexander, said: “George’s appointment comes at a very exciting time for Bethan, and we are absolutely thrilled to welcome him on board. With his experience and knowledge of customs compliance, I have no doubt he will be yet another asset in our team of consultants, all of whom apply their expertise in customs, logistics and supply chain management to help our clients grow their businesses.”

George added: “I am looking forward to building on my previous experience in my new role with Bethan. I see this as a natural progression from my previous role within HMRC – guiding and supporting clients to navigate the complexities of importation and exportation from a customs perspective, particularly during these unprecedented times.”

Bethan Customs Consultancy provides independent, clear and practical advice, as well as training and on-going support to businesses throughout the UK in relation to customs compliance and supply chain requirements. They offer a bespoke service, tailored to their clients’ business requirements, which span a range of sectors, from oil and gas to food and drink.

Bethan Customs Consultancy Team
L-R Aby Wilson, Stuart Wood, Elaine Lownds, George Laing, and Director, Nicola Alexander

HMRC has 120 days to approve a CCG – are you ready?

CCG HMRC Bethan Customs Consultancy

Under UCC (Union Customs Code), a CCG (Customs Comprehensive Guarantee) is required to apply for any new HMRC Authorisations allowing the entry of goods under a duty deferred customs procedure such as Customs Warehouse.


To get a CCG, you need to:

  • be established in the EU
  • have no serious or repeated infringements of customs or tax rules
  • have no record of serious criminal offences related to your business activities

From acceptance of your CCG application, HMRC has up to 120 days to approve the CCG.  As of 6th November 2018, 120 days for the actual approval to be granted would take us to 6th March 2019, not taking into account the time required to prepare the application and for HMRC to issue the initial acceptance.

Upon receipt of CCG, the new HMRC Application for the duty deferred regime would require to be submitted.  This can then take up to 60 days for HMRC to approve.  Taking the submission date as the 6th March 2019, 60 days for the actual authorisation approval to be granted would take us to 5th May 2019.

As UCC transitional arrangements are expected to expire on 29th April 2019, this would result in companies potentially having to duty pay at import due to authorisations not being in place by the end of the transitional deadline.

Are you ready?

For more information or for support with CCG applications, get in touch with us today.

Would you like to Join us on our Journey?

Join us on our journey Bethan Customs Consultancy

Bethan Customs Consultancy is a dynamic company with big ambitions and we’re ready to take on the next leg of our journey.
We love what we do!

We are passionate. We are professional. We are precise.

We do things differently. Bethan aims to make life easier for clients by helping them to deal with customs compliance, importing & exporting legislation. We give them the freedom to fly and grow their businesses through importing & exporting.

But, we want to share the journey…

The next stage of our growth plan is looming and we’re looking for talent to join us on the journey, so that we can climb the next mountain with even more passion and spirit in our backpack.

What you’ll need…

A suitcase full of customs knowledge, expertise, experience, passion and fun. We’re looking for dedicated and ambitious individuals who are ready to take on the world, as we map out the future.

What roles are we looking for?

We have a few roles in mind. But, how do you think you can help us? What can you bring to complement our team?

We want to hear from you

Get in touch by sending your CV with covering letter to Nicola Alexander at: nicola@bethancustomsconsultancy.com