Guidance

Delaying declarations for EU goods brought into Great Britain

Check if you can delay sending HMRC full information about your goods by up to 175 days and the actions you need to take before the deadline.

Applies to England, Scotland and Wales

For goods brought into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) from the EU, you (or someone who deals with customs for you) may be able to delay sending HMRC the full information about your goods by up to 175 days after import.

However, you cannot delay declarations and must follow the normal rules for making an import declaration if either:

If your business is not established in the UK, you must get someone established in the UK to act indirectly on your behalf for customs.

When you can delay declarations

You can delay declarations if:

  • you import goods into free circulation in Great Britain from EU free circulation between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021
  • your goods are not controlled
  • HMRC has not told you that you cannot delay declarations

Moving goods from the EU into free circulation

You must be moving EU goods into free circulation (declared and customs duties paid). This can be one of the following:

  • directly from import
  • from a customs special procedure in Great Britain (for example customs warehousing)
  • from a temporary storage facility in Great Britain
  • using transit – if the movement of the goods started in the EU and ended in Great Britain

Delaying declarations if someone else is dealing with customs for you

You must consider how long each step takes so that you do not risk leaving it too late.

You’ll need to:

  1. Get an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number starting GB. You must do this before you start moving your goods. This can take up to 5 working days.

  2. Get someone to deal with customs for you.

  3. You or the person acting on your behalf will need to apply for an account to defer duty payments, and be authorised to use simplified customs declarations processes to make supplementary declarations.

  4. If you’re VAT registered, estimate the import VAT to be accounted for on the VAT Return covering the date the goods were imported.

  5. If you’re established in the UK, when you import your goods you can either enter the goods in your records yourself and then get someone else to make the supplementary declaration on your behalf, or get someone else to enter the goods in their records and make the supplementary declaration on your behalf. You’ll need to provide these details to your representative for them to record.

  6. If you’re not established in the UK, you must get someone who is established in the UK to enter the goods in their records and make the supplementary declaration on your behalf.

Delaying declarations if you’re doing them yourself

You must consider how long each step takes so that you do not risk leaving it too late.

You’ll need to:

  1. Get an EORI number starting GB. You must do this before you start moving your goods. This can take up to 5 working days.

  2. Enter the details of these goods in your own records, and if you’re VAT registered estimate the import VAT to be accounted for on your VAT Return covering the date you imported the goods.

  3. Research and buy Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) software and get a CHIEF badge.

  4. Apply for an account to defer duty payments. You will need to have a duty deferment account to be authorised for simplified customs declarations processes to pay any duties and taxes due. When we have all the information to process your application, we will aim to complete this within 30 working days.

  5. Choose how you’ll make supplementary declarations for EU goods brought into Great Britain, that you entered into your own records without authorisation. You must then apply for authorisation to use simplified declarations at least 60 days before you need to make your first supplementary declaration.

  6. Make a delayed supplementary declaration using CHIEF or using the Customs Declaration Service within 175 days after the goods are entered in your records.

  7. Adjust the import VAT you estimated when you complete your next VAT Return. If you are not VAT registered, you must pay the import VAT after you submit your supplementary declaration using CHIEF or using the Customs Declaration Service.

You must also submit monthly Intrastat supplementary declarations for arrivals from the EU if you’re required to.

From 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2022 you can import controlled and non-controlled goods from the EU without making an entry summary declaration, this is also known as the safety and security declaration.

Transitional simplified procedures have been withdrawn. You will not be able to use them to import your goods from the EU.

Published 10 July 2020
Last updated 28 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Guidance updated to tell you when to get an EORI number, when you (or the person acting on your behalf) can apply for an account to defer duty payments, what to do if you’re VAT registered (whether you or another person completes your declarations) and how to adjust your estimated import VAT when completing your next VAT Return if you do declarations yourself.

  2. The guidance has been updated to clarify when you can delay declarations, how to delay declarations and the actions you need to take and when.

  3. The final date that you can use the deferred declaration scheme, including submitting supplementary declarations up to 175 days after the goods have been imported, has been changed from 30 June 2021 to 31 December 2021. The date when you will need to submit safety and security declarations for imports into Great Britain from some countries has also changed, from 1 July 2021 to 1 January 2022.

  4. First published.