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Delay to HMRC implementation of the Transitional Simplified Procedures

Freight operators have welcomed HMRC’s decision to delay implementation of the Transitional Simplified Procedures for customs (TSP) in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Announced in February, the TSP matches trader numbers against trailers and postpones payment of import duties – but only for ro-ro traffic.

TSP met with a fierce backlash from haulage operators who claimed the arrangements prioritised new applicants for authorisation, and forwarder association Bifa was particularly vocal in its disdain.

It seems this opposition has paid off, with the announcement confirming that supplementary customs declarations and associated payments will now not be required until 4 October.

Bifa director general Robert Keen said: “Having criticised HMRC when it originally published the TSP, we welcome today’s news.

“We also welcome the news that TSP will be available for any port or airport where goods are being brought into the UK from the EU, not just ro-ro ports.

“But most importantly, we are pleased that HMRC has agreed to allow freight forwarders to operate TSP on behalf of their clients.”

Prior to amendments to the TSP, it appeared that the easements it had originally sought to implement would make it easier for new applicants than existing operators to obtain authorisation.

However, both Bifa and the FTA said it seemed the “equivalent liberalisation” was not in place for existing operators and forwarders.

Head of multimodal policy at the FTA Alex Veitch told The Loadstarfollowing the initial launch of TSP that it was a “dramatic simplification”, but needed to be expanded.

“The problem here is the TSPs only apply to shippers – we have confirmed this through HMRC – and shippers often have no control over how goods are transported,” he said.

“Forwarders may transport by air, container or unaccompanied trailer, meaning the shipper will have signed up for a TSP and then be required to go through full customs checks.

“There is the potential for shippers to be pushing for goods to go by ro-ro when other options are more suitable, which could create more delays.”

Mr Keen said that with the extended deadline, operators will have more time to make “necessary” preparations and fully test the systems that would be required.

Furthermore, he noted the extensions would make it possible to establish communication links along the supply chain and ensure “everyone” was aware of their responsibilities.

“This is a very significant easement of policy and one for which Bifa, amongst others, lobbied hard to ensure all modes were treated equally,” he continued.

“It should be noted that much confusion and effort could have been saved if government had consulted with the trade in the first place.

“By allowing freight forwarders to operate TSP, the extension recognises the critical role that the freight forwarder plays as an intermediary in the UK’s supply chain,” he said.

For more information on the implementation of Transitional Simplified Procedures please see our earlier news post here.

Source: The Loadstar

Transitional Simplified Procedures

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has written to 145,000 VAT-registered businesses trading with the EU about simplified importing procedures and also updated them on the actions that they need to take to prepare.

Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) for customs will make importing easier for an initial period of one year, should we leave the EU without a deal, to allow businesses time to prepare for usual import processes.

Once businesses are registered for TSP, they will be able to transport goods from the EU into the UK without having to make a full customs declaration at the border, and will be able to postpone paying any import duties.

Treasury Minister, Mel Stride MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

Leaving the EU with a deal remains the government’s top priority. This has not changed. However, a responsible government must plan for every eventuality, including a no deal scenario. Businesses and citizens should ensure they are similarly prepared for leaving the EU.

HMRC is helping businesses get prepared and, amongst other significant communications, has written 3 times to affected businesses, each time stepping up the advice and encouraging them to take action.

This latest letter, and new GOV.UK guidance, announces Transitional Simplified Procedures for EU trade which will ease the transition, especially for businesses new to the rules associated with importing.

The new procedures reduce the amount of information importers need to give in an import declaration when the goods are crossing the border. They do this by allowing importers to defer:

  • giving a full declaration until after the goods have crossed the border
  • paying any duty until the month after import

If tariffs apply to the goods that they import, and they want to use transitional simplified procedures, they will need to defer paying any import duties by setting up a direct debit.

HMRC is also reminding businesses to get an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number if they do not already have one. This number is crucial to be able to trade after we leave the EU (if we leave without a deal). It’s free and takes just 10 minutes to register online.

TSP will remain in place for more than a year to give businesses time to prepare to use the full customs processes that already apply to imports from non-EU countries.

The policy will be reviewed within 3 to 6 months after it’s introduced on 29 March 2019 to see how it’s working.

HMRC will consult with businesses and give them at least a 12-month notice period before withdrawing the easements in TSP and applying the usual customs processes to imports from the EU. This will give businesses enough time to prepare.

Businesses can register for TSP from 7 February 2019.

Businesses can register for TSP if they:

  • have an EORI number
  • are established in the UK
  • are importing goods from the EU into the UK

Read the full guidance on registering for simplified import procedures if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

You can see the letter sent to 145,000 VAT registered businesses that trade with the EU, and previous letters on GOV.UK.