HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has automatically registered 95,000 businesses for its simplified import procedures allowing most traders up to six months to pay import duties and submit customs declarations, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on October 31.
And it is a move welcomed by the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce to help ease pressure on exporters as the deadline edges closer.
While a new deal was agreed by the Prime Minister and the EU on Thursday morning, it has to be passed by MPs during a special sitting on Saturday – far from a foregone conclusion.
The scheme, known as Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP), will make importing after Brexit much simpler, particularly for businesses who would be completing customs processes for the first time. Up to now, businesses have had to apply for it – over 30,000 had previously registered.
This TSP scheme will allow most businesses up to six months to send in customs declarations and pay any customs duties to HMRC after importing goods from the EU. This will prevent congestion at the border when goods enter the UK.
The government has chosen to automatically enrol VAT-registered businesses who import from the EU into the TSP scheme as it is the best option for businesses who are new to customs processes and haven’t yet appointed a customs agent. Businesses who are not registered for VAT should apply for the scheme if it would benefit them.
Jo James, CEO of the Kent Invicta Chamber, said: “The chamber network has been campaigning for this change and I am sure this simple measure will go a long way in helping Kent exporters prepare for Brexit.
“With the automatic issuing of EORI numbers, the government are at last looking at supporting the county’s exporters. Hopefully, with the final flurry of information, we will minimise delays at the border.”
Businesses now registered for TSP are UK-based traders who HMRC has a record of having imported goods from the EU in 2018.
HMRC has sent letters to these traders with further details of their TSP registration, and they only have to take a few simple extra steps – such as checking if their goods attract tariffs, and getting a Duty Deferment Account if they do – to make sure that they are ready for October 31.
HMRC interim CEO, Jim Harra, said: “We are doing everything we can to help businesses get ready for Brexit on October 31.
“This move will support the trade of thousands of businesses and is part of our longstanding policy of making sure we continue to keep trade flowing.”