News story

HMRC provides tax and customs support to businesses that trade with Europe

VAT-registered businesses that trade with the EU are being offered further customs and tax support by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

HMRC is offering advice about trading with Europe that will help businesses adapt to the changes to customs and tax rules, and avoid disruption when they move goods between the UK and Europe, or under the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The government department is writing out to all UK based VAT-registered traders, as well as continuing to send weekly email updates to more than 170,000 customers.

Katherine Green and Sophie Dean, Directors General, Borders and Trade, HMRC, said:

We know how challenging it is for businesses to adapt to so many changes, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. And we appreciate how much traders have done already.

Customs and tax rules are complex, and we understand customers working through them for the first time need more support. That’s why we launched the new SME Brexit Support Fund that can pay up to £2,000 for training or professional advice about customs and VAT, for businesses that are new to the importing and exporting rules, and we’ve also announced a six-month delay to the introduction of full import border controls, giving our customers more time to prepare and get to grips with the changes.

We want our customers to know that HMRC is here to help. Our Customs and International Trade helpline has been expanded and we’ve extended our operating hours, while continuing to run regular live webinars that traders can join.

HMRC also recommend that traders:

  • decide if they want to delay import declarations or duty payments on goods moving between EU into Great Britain

  • appoint a specialist to deal with import and export declarations. This is important, regardless of the amount or value of trade your business does with Europe. Most companies use a third party such as a freight forwarder or fast parcel operator to deal with this and do not make their customs declarations themselves

  • find out whether they can claim the preferential rates of duty that were agreed in December’s cooperation and trade agreement between the UK and the EU

  • check what support is available for moving goods through Northern Ireland

Further information

All letters sent to businesses about the new trade arrangements with the EU are available on GOV.UK.

For further information on actions businesses must take, please see guidance on GOV.UK:

Published 25 March 2021