Making declarations using transitional simplified procedures

How to submit your declarations if you’re importing from the EU into the UK using transitional simplified procedures.

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When you import goods into the UK from the EU under transitional simplified procedures there are 2 stages to making a declaration.

The first stage of the declaration will depend on the type of goods you’re importing and which procedure you’re using:

For the second stage of the declaration you’ll need to submit a supplementary declaration (a more detailed declaration) for all goods, controlled and standard, after your goods have crossed the border.

HMRC uses the declarations to work out the amount of duty and taxes you owe. You can use a third party to submit declarations on your behalf but you’ll still be liable for any duties and taxes payable.

You must register to use transitional simplified procedures.

How to submit a supplementary declaration

You’ll need to submit your supplementary declarations using Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system or the Customs Declaration Service. To do this you will need specialist software that links to HMRC’s customs systems.

You’ll be able to:

  • submit declarations individually or in batches
  • submit more than one supplementary declaration for a single simplified frontier declaration

Making a supplementary declaration

You can submit fewer supplementary declarations by combining imports with the same header and item level data into a single, combined supplementary declaration.

You’ll be able to submit combined supplementary declarations where the following information is the same:

  • declaration type (all transitional simplified procedure declarations will be imports)
  • deferment account number
  • importer and UK EORI number
  • representative (if you’re using multiple agents to make declarations on your behalf, there must be one declaration for each representative)
  • delivery terms
  • country of destination (this will always be the UK)
  • country of dispatch
  • location of goods (this will usually be the delivery address)

You can combine item information on a single line within the combined supplementary declaration. To do this, the following information about the goods must be the same:

  • Customs Procedure Code (we’ll tell you which code to use)
  • Commodity Code
  • description of goods
  • exporter and UK EORI number (the goods must be from one supplier)
  • details used in the calculation of the Customs Duty – tax type, method of calculation, currency
  • item price
  • customs valuation method
  • country of origin
  • supplementary units (type of unit, that is boxes, items, litres)

After you submit your declaration

When HMRC accepts your supplementary declaration, CHIEF will send a customs response message giving a calculation of what you owe.

We’ll take payment of customs duties and import VAT (if you’re not registered for VAT) from your deferment account on the 15th day of the month when you’ve submitted the supplementary declaration (or the next working day), and excise duties on the 29th of that month.

For declarations you submit to CHIEF, you’ll need to submit a final supplementary declaration by the fourth working day of the month following each reporting period.

Declare the number of supplementary declarations that are:

  • due for that reporting period
  • finalised
  • late from the previous reporting period

Transitional simplified procedures declarations for transit goods

You can use transitional simplified procedures if you’re importing goods from the EU or for goods that have cleared EU customs formalities, under the Common Transit Convention.

When you import goods to the UK under the Common Transit Convention, you must discharge them from transit at an office of destination or to an authorised consignee using the existing process.

You’ll be able to use simplified declarations to declare EU goods to free circulation at the time of discharging the transit movement. Or, if you declare your goods to temporary storage after they’re discharged from transit, you’ll be able to use simplified declarations to release your goods from temporary storage.

The process for this will depend on whether the goods are subject to the controlled or standard goods procedure.

Controlled goods

You’ll need to submit a simplified frontier declaration for controlled goods. You can do this after the goods have entered the UK. You must do this before the time that you want your goods to leave the office of destination or authorised consignee premises.

If you submit the declaration before, you’ll need to update the declaration to ‘arrived’ when it arrives in the UK. You must do this before the end of the following working day or before the time that you want your goods to leave the office of destination or authorised consignee (whichever is sooner).

You’ll need to give the office of destination or authorised consignee the master reference number of your simplified frontier declaration as evidence that you’ve declared your goods to free circulation. Someone acting on your behalf can do this for you (for example, a haulier).

You must be able to submit full supporting documentation, for example the appropriate licence, if you’re asked to do so by a government authority.

You’ll normally submit a supplementary declaration by the fourth working day of the month after the goods are released from temporary storage.

Standard goods

If your goods are not on the transitional simplified procedures controlled goods list, you’ll need to declare the goods by recording this information into your commercial records before the time that you want your goods to leave the office of destination or authorised consignee.

You do not need to record the time of the goods arriving in the UK, but you must update your records with the time of your goods’ release to free circulation. This will be the tax point.

You’ll give the office of destination or authorised consignee your UK EORI number (an EORI number starting with GB) as evidence that you’re registered for transitional simplified procedures and proof that you’ve declared your goods to free circulation. Someone acting on your behalf (for example, a haulier) will be able do this for you.

If your goods are in an inventory-linked temporary storage facility, you’ll need to make a customs clearance request to release your goods. To do this, you’ll need a customs agent or intermediary to help you or you’ll need to buy software to do this yourself. An authorised consignee could also do this for you. The UK EORI number you provide will be validated during this process.

If your goods are in a non-inventory linked facility, follow the local procedures.

You’ll need to update your records with the time of your goods’ release from temporary storage. This will be the tax point.

You’ll normally need to submit a supplementary declaration by the fourth working day of the month after the goods have been released to free circulation. HMRC will update this guidance to let you know when to start making them.

Getting help from third parties

There are third parties that can help with the customs process and movement of your goods, these are:

  • freight forwarders
  • customs agents or brokers
  • express courier industry (fast parcel operators)

Freight forwarders

Freight forwarding is a service that involves moving goods around the world for importers and exporters. A freight forwarder will arrange customs clearance of goods crossing the frontier and they’ll have the right software to communicate with HMRC’s systems.

There’s more about this on the British International Freight Association and Institute of Export websites.

Customs agent or broker

Customs agents and brokers make sure that your goods clear through customs on their way to the final place of delivery in the UK.

A customs agent or broker will act as either a direct representative or indirect representative.

Express courier industry

The express courier industry involves operators who specialise in time definite transportation services for documents, parcels and freight.

These fast parcel operators offer world-wide, integrated, door-to-door movement of shipments. They track and control shipments throughout their journey.

Software providers

Software providers offer software that enables you to make customs declarations electronically to HMRC’s systems.

Contact us

For general enquiries, you can contact the HMRC VAT imports and export: general enquiries helpline.

For help with tariff classification you can ask HMRC for advice.

More information

Find out how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Published 22 March 2019