Guidance

Check if you can declare goods you bring into Northern Ireland not ‘at risk’ of moving to the EU

Find out if goods you bring into Northern Ireland are not ‘at risk’ of moving to the EU such that EU tariff will not be due on those goods.

From 1 January, you will need to make declarations and may need to pay any tariffs due when bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain or from countries outside of the EU. Whether you have to pay a duty, and how much that duty is, will depend on where you are bringing the goods from and whether they are ‘at risk’ of onward movement to the EU.

If you do not have experience in customs or would like to find out more information, you can sign up for the Trader Support Service to support you with this process.

The Government has reached an agreement with the EU as to when goods moving into Northern Ireland are considered not ‘at risk’ of onward movement into the EU under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol. This is set out in more detail in the Command Paper on The Northern Ireland Protocol and the full legal text is set out in a decision of the UK and EU withdrawal agreement joint committee.

Check if you can declare goods you bring into Northern Ireland from Great Britain not ‘at risk’

There are two ways that goods brought into Northern Ireland from Great Britain are not ‘at risk’. You should consider which of these two options is most suitable for your business. Goods will be not ‘at risk’ where:

When your goods are not ‘at risk’ due to the applicable tariffs

Goods brought into Northern Ireland from Great Britain are not ‘at risk’ if the applicable EU tariff is zero.

Where this is the case you do not need to seek authorisation under the UK Trader Scheme and you may complete your declaration as normal.

From 1 January, the applicable EU tariff will be zero, if your goods originate in the UK and you are able to claim a preferential rate of duty.

To work out what the applicable UK tariff and EU tariff would be you need to take account of the customs duty and any other applicable measures that apply to your goods, such as:

When your goods are not ‘at risk’ under the UK Trader Scheme

Where the EU tariff is above zero, goods brought into Northern Ireland from Great Britain can still be declared not ‘at risk’ when they are for sale to, or final use by, end consumers located in the United Kingdom.

To declare these goods as not ‘at risk’, you will need to be authorised under the UK Trader Scheme. The origin of goods brought into Northern Ireland from Great Britain does not affect the ability to be authorised under the UK Trader Scheme.

Once authorised, you must have evidence to demonstrate that these goods entered Northern Ireland for the purpose of sale to, or final use by, end consumers located in the United Kingdom. Some examples include:

  • a sale for the good in a retail store in Northern Ireland or Great Britain
  • a business purchasing stationary for use in Northern Ireland or Great Britain
  • a farmer purchasing a tractor for their own use in Northern Ireland or Great Britain

If the goods you bring into Northern Ireland will be subject to processing, you must also meet additional criteria when applying for UK Trader Scheme authorisation before you can declare these goods not ‘at risk’.

Check if you can declare goods you bring into Northern Ireland directly from a country outside of the EU and the UK as not ‘at risk’

There are two ways that goods brought into Northern Ireland directly from a country outside of the EU and the UK are not ‘at risk’:

  • the applicable UK tariff is equal to or higher than the applicable EU tariff
  • the goods are for sale to, or final use by, end consumers located in Northern Ireland and are brought into Northern Ireland by a trader authorised under the UK Trader Scheme

If the applicable EU tariff is higher than the applicable UK tariff and the difference is equal to or greater than 3 percentage points, then you may not declare these goods not ‘at risk’. These goods are ‘at risk’ and the EU tariff will apply.

If the goods you bring into Northern Ireland will be subject to processing, then you must also meet additional criteria when applying for UK Trader Scheme authorisation before you can declare your goods not ‘at risk’.

When your goods are not ‘at risk’ due to the applicable tariffs

Goods brought into Northern Ireland directly from countries outside of the EU and the UK are not ‘at risk’ where the applicable UK tariff is equal to or higher than the applicable EU tariff. Where this is the case you do not need to seek authorisation under the UK Trader Scheme to declare your goods not ‘at risk’.

If the goods you bring into Northern Ireland will be subject to processing, then you must also meet additional criteria when applying for UK Trader Scheme authorisation before you can declare your goods not ‘at risk’.

To work out what the applicable UK tariff and EU tariff would be you need to take account of the customs duty and any other applicable measures that apply to your goods, such as:

When your goods are not ‘at risk’ under the UK Trader Scheme

Where the EU tariff is higher than the UK tariff, goods brought in to Northern Ireland directly from countries outside of the EU and the UK can still be declared not ‘at risk’ where all of the following are true:

  • the difference between the applicable EU tariff and the applicable UK tariff is less than 3 percentage points
  • the goods are for sale to, or final use by, end consumers located in Northern Ireland
  • you are authorised under the UK Trader Scheme and hold sufficient evidence to declare your goods not ‘at risk’

Once authorised, you must have evidence to demonstrate that these goods entered Northern Ireland for the purpose of sale to, or final use by, end consumers located in Northern Ireland. Some examples include:

  • a sale of a good in a retail store in Northern Ireland
  • a business purchasing stationary for use in Northern Ireland
  • a farmer purchasing a tractor for their own use in Northern Ireland

If the goods you bring into Northern Ireland will be subject to processing, then you must also meet additional criteria when applying for UK Trader Scheme authorisation before you can declare your goods not ‘at risk’.

Additional requirements for when you bring goods into Northern Ireland for processing

If the goods you move into Northern Ireland will be subject to processing, you will need to meet additional criteria to declare these goods not ‘at risk’. You must specify that you either meet the turnover criterion, or that you process goods for one of the approved purposes when applying for UK Trader Scheme authorisation.

Once authorised, you will then be able to declare your goods for processing as not ‘at risk’ in line with the treatment of other goods.

Meet the turnover criteria

If you are bringing goods into Northern Ireland for processing and your turnover is below £500,000, you can apply through the UK Trader Scheme to be able to declare goods as ‘not at risk’ in line with the treatment of other goods.

If you are a newly established business, you will need to provide records approved by the directors, partners or sole proprietor, to enable an assessment of anticipated turnover. For example, latest cash flow, balance sheet and profit and loss forecasts.

Process goods within an Approved Processing Sector

You can also apply to the UK Trader Scheme for authorisation to be able to declare goods for processing as not ‘at risk’ if you intend to bring those goods into Northern Ireland for the sole purpose of:

  • food for sale to end consumers in the UK
  • construction, where the processed goods form a permanent part of a structure that is constructed and located in Northern Ireland by the importer
  • direct provision to the recipient of health or care services by the importer in Northern Ireland
  • not for profit activities in Northern Ireland, where there is no subsequent sale of the processed good by the importer
  • the final use of animal feed on premises located in Northern Ireland by the importer

When a good is ‘at risk’

Where you are not able to move goods under the UK Trader Scheme, and the applicable EU tariffs are higher than the applicable UK tariffs (which are zero in the case of movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland), then the EU tariff will apply.

In those circumstances you may want to consider other circumstances where the tariff does not need to be paid or where delaying duty payment may be of benefit:

  • you may be eligible for a waiver subject to de-minimis State Aid limits, on the goods you move into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. This may be an easier route for some traders
  • you may wish to use existing customs special procedures such as Customs Warehousing and Inward Processing which allow you to store, temporarily use, process or repair your goods and get partial or full relief from import duty, or in some cases suspension - these may be of benefit if you’re unable to declare goods not ‘at risk’ when bringing them into Northern Ireland

Check how to declare your goods not ‘at risk’

From 1 January, you will need to make declarations when bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain or from countries outside of the EU. You should first check what declarations need to be made when you are bringing goods into Northern Ireland.

You do not need to complete these declarations yourself - you can sign up for the Trader Support Service, or get someone else to complete declarations for you.

Where somebody else is completing your declaration for you, you will need to make sure they know whether you are authorised for the UK Trader Scheme and that you wish to declare that your goods are not ‘at risk’, or you will be charged the EU tariff.

If you are completing your declaration yourself, you will need to use the Additional Information code ‘NIREM’ in Data Element 2/2 of your import declaration. Find out specifically how to declare your goods not ‘at risk’.

What supporting evidence you’ll need to declare your goods not ‘at risk’

You must be authorised for the UK Trader Scheme to declare the goods you bring into Northern Ireland not ‘at risk’, unless your goods are not ‘at risk’ based on the applicable tariff rate.

You will also need to keep supporting evidence for each consignment you move into Northern Ireland and this evidence will need to be accessible in Northern Ireland for 5 years. Type of evidence to support a not ‘at risk’ declaration include:

  • commercial receipts and invoices
  • VAT invoice
  • commercial contracts and purchase orders
  • delivery receipts
  • consignment note (CMR)
  • proof of installation
  • electronic records
  • proof that goods comply with rules of origin (if you have claimed a preferential rate of duty, you can check what proof you should hold)

You will not need to provide this evidence to HMRC on a routine basis, only when asked to do so.

Apply for authorisation to declare goods not ‘at risk’

If you need to declare your goods as not ‘at risk’ other than because of the applicable tariff rates, you will need to be authorised for the UK Trader Scheme. Find out how to apply for authorisation.

If you are moving goods which will be subject to processing will need to meet additional requirements at UK Trader Scheme authorisation.

Published 14 December 2020