Guidance

Moving and declaring excise goods if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal there'll be changes to how businesses trading in excise goods (alcohol, tobacco and certain oils) move and declare these goods.

Overview

From 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019, excise goods being moved between the UK and the EU will be treated in the same way as those moved between the UK and the rest of the world.

This guidance explains changes to UK rules.

Importing excise duty-suspended goods from the EU to the UK

After 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019, imports of excise duty-suspended goods to the UK from EU member states will be treated in the same way as imports from the rest of the world.

You will no longer be able to use the Excise Movement Control System (EMCS) to move excise duty-suspended goods to the UK from the EU. But you must still use EMCS to move these goods from the place they enter the UK if they are being delivered to a UK excise warehouse.

The UK EMCS will stop exchanging messages with EMCS in EU member states at 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019. Any excise movements from EU member states that are dispatched after 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019 will not be processed by EMCS and HMRC. This means these movements must follow the relevant customs import procedures when they arrive at the place they enter the UK.

The following guidance explains arrangements for transitional simplified procedures to import goods into the UK. You can find out how to register to use this. If you are importing excise goods from the EU and you want to use transitional simplified procedures, you will need to follow the controlled goods procedure. We will write to you with information about this before 31 October 2019 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

How to use EMCS to move imported excise goods within the UK

You must still use EMCS to move excise duty-suspended goods from the place they enter the UK to their final destination, for example an excise warehouse. To do this, you will need to appoint a Registered Consignor, or become one yourself if you are eligible.

Registered Consignors can only move excise duty-suspended goods and are not legally allowed to store them.

Applying to become a Registered Consignor can take up to 45 working days. We have streamlined our existing approval process to reduce the processing time. However, if you intend to import excise goods straightaway after the UK leaves the EU, and are not already approved, you may want to consider identifying an existing registered consignor to move excise duty suspended goods on your behalf while your application is processed. You can find out how to apply.

The Registered Consignor will need to register for HMRC online services and enrol for EMCS to use it.

After clearing the relevant customs import procedures the Registered Consignor will need to complete and submit an electronic administrative document (eAD) through EMCS before the movement takes place.

Once the details entered on the eAD have been validated, EMCS generates a unique Administrative Reference Code (ARC) for that specific movement.

The ARC must travel with the goods at all times. This means you must supply the person accompanying the goods (for example, the driver of the vehicle transporting the goods) with a printed version of the eAD or any other commercial document which clearly states the ARC. Once the goods are received and checked into the excise warehouse, the consignee will confirm that they have arrived. They will then complete and submit a ‘report of receipt’ which is sent to the Registered Consignor.

Importing excise duty-paid goods from the EU to the UK

After 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019, imports of excise duty-paid goods to the UK from EU member states will be treated in the same way as imports from the rest of the world.

After this time, these goods will no longer be covered by a Simplified Accompanying Administrative Document (SAAD).

Distance-selling to individuals in the UK from the EU

After 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019, excise duty-paid goods imported to the UK will no longer be covered by EU distance-selling arrangements. After this time, excise duty-paid goods entering the UK from the EU will be treated in the same way as imports from the rest of the world.

Exporting excise duty-suspended goods from the UK to the EU

After 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019, exports of excise duty-suspended goods from the UK to EU member states will be treated in the same way as exports to the rest of the world.

You will no longer be able to use EMCS to move excise duty-suspended goods from the UK to the EU. But you must still use EMCS to move these goods within the UK to the place they are exported from.

The UK EMCS will stop exchanging messages with the EMCS in EU member states at 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019. Any excise movements to EU member states dispatched after 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019 will be rejected by EMCS and HMRC. If you move goods without following the relevant customs export procedures at the place they are exported from, you may be liable for excise duty and may be subject to seizure and penalties.

From 24 October 2019, if you raise a movement on EMCS to an EU member state with a dispatch date later than 31 October 2019 the movement will be rejected by EMCS and HMRC.

How to use EMCS to move excise goods to the place of export from the UK

You must still use EMCS to move excise duty-suspended goods within the UK to the place they are exported from. To do this, an authorised warehousekeeper must declare this movement on EMCS.

The authorised warehousekeeper or Registered Consignor must complete and submit an electronic administrative document (eAD) through EMCS before the movement takes place.

EMCS will generate a unique Administrative Reference Code (ARC) for that specific movement.

The ARC should be entered into box 40 on the customs export declaration via the National Export System (NES), which is part of HMRC’s Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. This triggers an automatic 30-day timer on EMCS.

If the ARC does not match the customs export declaration on CHIEF within this timeframe, the warehousekeeper or Registered Consignor will receive a “rejected for export” notification to remind them that the movement is still open on EMCS. If this happens, you will need to establish why the movement has not been completed and take corrective action.

If the ARC does match the customs export declaration on CHIEF after the excise goods are cleared by customs, the EMCS status will change from “accepted” to “exporting”. The warehousekeeper or Registered Consignor will receive an “accepted for export” notification on EMCS. Once the goods have departed from the UK, the EMCS status will change to “delivered”. The warehousekeeper or Registered Consignor will receive a report of export and the movement will be closed on EMCS.

Exporting excise duty-paid goods from the UK to the EU

After 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019, exports of excise duty-paid goods from the UK to EU member states will be treated in the same way as exports to the rest of the world.

You will need to submit an electronic export declaration.

If you are a business you may be able to recover the excise duty on the exported goods by claiming excise duty drawback.

Making customs declarations

If you are a UK importer or exporter of excise goods, you should use the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system to make customs declarations. HMRC has built a new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) to replace CHIEF – HMRC, your customs representative or your software provider will contact you when you need to start using CDS instead of CHIEF.

Registered excise businesses and authorised destinations that will become redundant

In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, certain registered excise businesses and some destinations that are currently authorised for moving excise goods will no longer apply. These are:

  • Registered Consignee (including movements for direct delivery)
  • Temporary Registered Consignee
  • Exempt consignee
  • Unknown destination for energy products
  • Tax representative (for excise duty on distance sales from the EU)
  • Registered Commercial Importer
  • Unregistered Commercial Importers

If you are registered for these schemes or use these authorised destinations, you will no longer be authorised to receive or dispatch excise goods. You will need to understand if this will impact your business and take steps to ensure you can continue to trade.

Transitional arrangements for movements on 31 October 2019

In most cases, excise goods dispatched before 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019 that are still in transit at that time will remain under the old arrangements until they arrive at their delivery address.

This means you will not have to complete a UK customs declaration or pay customs duty in the UK. The requirements and any sanctions that may apply to these goods will be based on current UK excise legislation and duty points that apply to EU movements.

To qualify:

  • the goods must be travelling under a recognised excise scheme at 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019
  • you must be able to show that the movement started before 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019 – for excise duty-suspended goods this is on the eAD and for excise duty-paid goods this is on the request to import excise goods bought duty-paid in another EU member state (HM4) or SAAD forms
  • the goods must be consigned to a UK destination before 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019

If requested by HMRC or Border Force, you must present evidence showing that the dispatch date and time was before 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019. If you are unable to present evidence, the movement will be treated in the same way as one that started after 31 October 2019 and customs import procedures will apply.

Confirming receipt of excise goods

Imports dispatched from the EU before 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019 but received in the UK after

You will not be able to use EMCS to create reports of receipt for goods dispatched from the EU before 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019 but received in the UK after this time. This movement will remain open in the system and you will need to provide alternative proof of receipt. This must be a paper document and must include exactly the same information as an EMCS report of receipt.

For excise duty-paid goods, you must still approve and return copy 3 of the SAAD to the EU business if they requested it. Please note that copy 1 stays with the despatching business and copy 2 is kept by the UK receiving company.

Exports dispatched from the UK before 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019 but received in the EU after

UK EMCS will not process reports of receipt for goods dispatched from the UK before 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019 but received in the EU after this time. This movement will remain open in the system and you will need to provide alternative proof of receipt. More details on this are provided in the Excise Notice 197.

For excise duty-paid goods, you may not receive an endorsed copy of the SAAD back from the EU business. If this happens you must provide alternative proof of receipt.

Excise duty drawback claims

There will be changes to how you can claim duty drawback if you provide HMRC with an EX75 Notice of Intention (NOI) before 31 October 2019 but the drawback claim is made after this date. We will provide more information about these changes before 31 October 2019 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Published 22 February 2019