Find out how to declare your goods so that the correct duty is applied, including where this is zero duty.
If you are a business that brings goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, then you will need to submit declarations for those goods. It is important that you complete your declarations correctly so that the right tariff treatment is applied to the goods. The options for completing these declarations include using:
- the free Trader Support Service
- a customs intermediary
- a Customs Declaration Service enabled software provider
- a fast parcel operator or Royal Mail when declarations for these movements are introduced
Whether duty is payable on the goods you bring into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, and how much duty that is, will depend on whether:
- you are eligible to claim a waiver, subject to de-minimis State Aid limits
- you can declare your goods ‘not at risk’ of onward movement to the EU
- the goods meet rules of origin requirements under the UK-EU Trade and cooperation Agreement
- the goods are eligible for reliefs such a Returned Goods Relief
- you are able to use customs special procedures to suspend, and in some cases get partial or full relief from import duty
If none of these apply, then the applicable EU tariff will be due.
Claiming a waiver
You may be eligible to claim a waiver subject to de-minimis State Aid limits for duty on goods you move into Northern Ireland from Great Britain which might otherwise be liable for duty.
An industrial business has a de-minimis aid limit of €200,000 over any rolling 3 tax year period including tax years prior to 1 January 2021.
If the goods brought into Northern Ireland would be charged an average tariff of 4% and the business is bringing in a total of €5 million worth of goods, over 3 years the business could be liable for up to €200,000 of duty. This could be waived within the industrial allowance, if no other de minimis aid had been claimed within the current and previous 2 tax years.
This is dependent on the business not claiming any other de minimis aid in this period. If the business received other aid in this period, the amount they would be able to claim would be smaller. It’s important for the business to check that they are not exceeding their aid allowance each time they claim a waiver.
You should read the full guidance to get more information about how to claim a waiver, as individual circumstances vary.
Declaring goods ‘not at risk’
If you are moving goods which are in free circulation in Great Britain into Northern Ireland then you will not need to pay any duty if the applicable EU duty is zero. Where this is the case, the goods are regarded as ‘not at risk’. This is unless the goods are subject to processing in Northern Ireland, where there are additional requirements.
Where the applicable EU duty is above zero, you can still declare your goods ‘not at risk’, and therefore benefit from zero duty if you are authorised under the UK Trader Scheme and the goods you are moving meet the requirements.
This may be an easier option for you if you are certain that your goods will remain within the UK’s customs territory.
Claiming preference under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement
The goods you bring into Northern Ireland from Great Britain may be able to benefit from the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. This would mean zero duty would be due on the goods.
To claim preference under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement when bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, the goods must meet UK rules of origin requirements under the agreement.
Rules of origin requirements specify the minimum amount of processing or content that is required for goods to be considered ‘originating’ from the relevant trading partner. Find more information about the rules of origin requirements under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
You should note that declaring goods into free circulation in Great Britain on its own does not mean that they have UK origin.
You will need to declare that they meet UK rules of origin requirements on your declaration. Find out more about how to claim the preferential rate on UK-EU trade.
This may be a suitable option for you if you can prove your goods are of UK origin.
Claiming Returned Goods Relief
If you are moving goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, and those goods were previously moved to Great Britain from either Northern Ireland or the EU as goods in free circulation within the EU, then you may be eligible for Returned Goods Relief .
If the goods are eligible and have followed the correct process, there will be no duty due on the EU goods you move into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. Find out more about claiming Returned Goods Relief, including acceptable forms of evidence.
You will need to prove that the goods satisfied the conditions for acceptance as returned goods at the time of the previous movement or export from Northern Ireland or the EU.
Suspending duty through special procedures
You may want to consider using customs special procedures to suspend the duty payment on the goods you bring into Northern Ireland. Special procedures can help with cashflow, by delaying or in some cases removing the need for duty payment, including where you:
- are not yet certain about the final destination of your goods
- will be processing or storing your goods before selling or re-exporting them
You can declare goods ‘not at risk’ when they are declared into special procedures, and when they are declared out of special procedures, if the goods meet the conditions to be declared ‘not at risk’. If you declare your goods ‘at risk’ on entry to the special procedure, this does not stop you from declaring them ‘not at risk’ when you declare them out of the procedure .
A financial guarantee is usually required while duty is suspended. If you are able to declare your goods ‘not at risk’ on entry to the special procedure in Northern Ireland and the goods are already UK duty paid, then your guarantee requirement will be £0. If the goods are ‘at risk’, the guarantee requirement will be at the EU rate of duty.
When discharging your goods from a special procedure into free circulation in Northern Ireland, you will need to work out if your goods are ‘at risk’ or ‘not at risk’ in the same way as you would at import. If:
- your goods are ‘at risk’ when leaving the special procedure, the applicable EU rate of duty will be due in full
- you are able to declare your goods ‘not at risk’ and they entered the procedure from Great Britain with UK duty having been paid, there will be no duty due
When discharging your goods from a special procedure, and not into free circulation in Northern Ireland, if you:
- export your goods to a country outside of both the EU and the UK, no duty will be due
- return your goods to free circulation in Great Britain, no duty will be due (unless the goods entered Northern Ireland from Great Britain and were not already UK duty paid, in which case the goods remain liable to UK duty)
If you are bringing goods into Northern Ireland for processing and do not meet the additional requirements to declare these goods ‘not at risk’, the Inward Processing procedure may be useful. You can suspend duty while you process your goods. You do not need to take into account the processing undertaken during the procedure when declaring goods ‘not at risk’ when you declare them out of the procedure .
If you are not sure of the final destination of your goods when bringing them into Northern Ireland, the Customs Warehousing procedure may be useful. You can suspend duty while you store goods in a Customs Warehouse. When discharging the goods from the procedure you can declare those that are:
- destined for the EU, ‘at risk’
- to remain in the UK, ‘not at risk’, subject to meeting the other ‘not at risk’ requirements
You may want to consider if other special procedures may be of help.