Find out about the changes to all channels of the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS), management of guarantees and Transit completion rules.
Following the referendum decision in 2016 and the invoking of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the UK is due to cease membership of the EU at 11pm on March 29 2019.
At that point in time, as well as losing access to Union Transit, the UK would have lost access to the Common Common Transit Convention (CTC). As a result, the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) which is the key Transit management system for moving goods would no longer have been available for Transit movements.
Because of the severe impact this would have had on UK trade, Her Majesty’s Government have been negotiating UK accession to the CTC as a contracting party in our own right and have been successful in those discussions (Official Journal L 317 of 14 December 2018 refers). The UK will accede to the Convention from the date that the Convention no longer applies to the UK as member of the EU.
To align our system with the CTC, implement system enhancements and to reflect the change of country status of the UK following our exit from the EU, changes are being made to NCTS. These changes will be implemented in four phases with the first due to be delivered on March 29 2019. The key operational change when we leave the EU is the requirement for the Office of Transit formalities. The conditions for when an Office of Transit is required in a transit declaration are covered in the current Technical Interface Specification (TIS) and so the current version of the TIS will remain extant.
In the case of a suitable agreement being negotiated between the UK and EU which also allows for an implementation period, the change of country status will not apply until the end of that implementation period.
A number of changes are being delivered as part of the phased implementation. From a trade perspective these are:
- It is only within the EU that it is required to submit the details of Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) movements to NCTS. When we are no longer in the EU, there will no longer be a requirement to submit TIR movements to NCTS. The TIR Type B guarantee and TIR declaration type will no longer be valid when starting a TIR movement from the UK. Under EU legislation, TIR when moving in the EU will still require declarations to be submitted to NCTS. This will mean that at the first point of entry to any EU Member State, a TIR movement started in the UK will require a TIR submission to the NCTS before entering that territory.
- To meet the terms of the CTC, guarantees will be managed within the system and a reference amount for the goods must be calculated and input into the Box 52 field of the declaration.
- As a Common Transit country, the Office of Transit field (Box 51) of the transit declaration will be mandatory for all Transit movements including all EU countries. When entering any new territory, the goods moving under Transit must be presented to an Office of Transit on entry. Following our exit from the EU, this Office of Transit formality will be required at all points of entry to the EU.
Completion of the transit declaration
HMRC give instructions and guidance on the completion of transit declarations in the following on-line publications:
Transit guarantees must be managed within the NCTS and Guarantee Management System (GMS), in line with Common Transit Convention legislation.
Currently, there is a trade facilitation in place which allows the guarantee ‘Liability Amount (GBP)’ field in Box 52 to be left blank in certain circumstances for common transit declarations. A default amount is then input by the system. This facilitation is being withdrawn and the Web channel is now in line with this.
The free to use NCTS web channel was updated on the 4 December 2018 and the functionality to include the reference amount was activated.
NCTS web channel through the Government Gateway account required accurate reference amount data to be submitted from 5 December 2018.
However, NCTS Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) and Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport (EDIFACT) channels are routed through HMRC’s Electronic Data Capture Service (EDCS). This service will require a software change which is scheduled in NCTS phases to accommodate the input of reference amounts.
To ensure a successful tactical upgrade delivery in March 2019, the upgrade to the EDCS to include the processing of reference amounts will not be included in phase 1. However, this change will take place soon afterwards to meet our CTC commitments and expected dates for this change will follow. Traders that use commercial software to submit transit declarations will need to ensure their systems are capable of providing reference amount data as early as possible after the EDCS change and at the latest by June 30 2019.
Following the update of the Electronic Data Capture System (as stated above, the phase incorporating this change for EDIFACT or XML to be confirmed) the following rules must be applied for guarantees when making a transit declaration:
- where the guarantee securing the movement is a Type 0 (Guarantee Waiver), Type 1 (Comprehensive Guarantee), Type 2 (Individual Guarantee), Type 4 (Guarantee Vouchers (10,000 euros each)) and Type 9 (individual Guarantee with multiple uses), a true calculation of the reference amount must be included in the declaration. The use of the Guarantee Type 6 (Guarantee not required) will not be accepted. The use of the Type B guarantee for TIR movements will become invalid
- when Guarantee Type 2, Type 3, Type 4 and Type 5 (Guarantee Waiver, secured amount does not exceed 500 euros) are used, the Office of Departure may overwrite the provided reference amount if they deem it is insufficient to cover the movement
- Type 8 (Guarantee not required for certain public bodies) must only be used in appropriate circumstances, as set out in the Transit manual supplement
- guarantee Type 9 (individual Guarantee with multiple uses) for several simultaneous or successive operations up to the maximum amount of the guarantee
Rules for calculating the correct reference amount are set out in Part 3.2.3 of the UK Transit Manual Supplement.
Transit users are reminded that declarations must meet the required data requirements. Failure to do so may result in the Office of Departure refusing to release the goods into the transit procedure.
The following have been identified as specific areas of concern where information is often either absent or incorrect.
Box 18 - Identity of Means of Transport at Departure
When making a transit declaration, Box 18 must be completed with the correct details for the mode of transport used in accordance with the UK Transit Manual Supplement Part 3.4.5 and the transit declaration completion rules (above).
Where a tractor unit and trailer have a different identity (ID), both should be included in Box 18.
The only derogations to this requirement are:
- For containerised traffic where the tractor unit ID may not be available at the time of submitting a transit declaration. A simplification can be requested through from the Transit simplifications team as set out in the Transit Manual supplement. If approved the official container ID must be input into Box 18 and the tractor unit ID subsequently recorded on the Transit Accompanying Document (TAD) in Box 55 when the tractor ID is known.
- Traders with an Authorised Economic Operator for Customs Simplifications (AEOC) authorisation in certain circumstances.
Box 31 - Description of goods
The description of goods in the transit declaration or in the supplementary documents must be sufficiently precise to permit easy identification of the goods. If you are not able to provide a suitable description which would meet the above criteria, a six digit commodity code(s) must be provided to identify the goods moving in Common Transit.
The above definition is also used as the criteria to apply a waiver to seal the goods under Common Transit (Article 11(4) of the Common Transit Convention refers).
Box 33 - Commodity code
In most circumstances, use of this box is optional. However, it must be completed either where:
- the same person makes a transit declaration at the same time as, or following, a customs declaration which includes a commodity code (Annex B6, Title 2, Common Transit Convention)
- required by legislation.
Enter the Harmonized System code for the goods, made up of at least six digits. However, where legislation so provides, the Combined Nomenclature heading shall be used.
Time-limit for the presentation of goods
Article 34 of the Common Transit Convention States:
‘The customs office of departure shall set a time-limit within which the goods shall be presented at the customs office of destination, taking into account the Itinerary, the means of transport, transport legislation or other legislation which might have an impact on setting a time-limit, any relevant information communicated by the holder of the procedure.’
Authorised Consignors who set the expected duration of a movement themselves are reminded that they must ensure the time indicates is a reasonable estimation and not a default figure selected for convenience.
Allowing a movement to remain in Transit longer than necessary increases the opportunities for irregularities and delays the re-crediting of the Guarantee. With the withdrawal of the default reference amount facilitation described above, this will impact where several simultaneous Transit movements are being covered under one Guarantee.
HMRC will be requiring all offices of departure to apply a strict approach to ensure the correct completion of transit declarations and to reject declarations in the case of serious or repeated irregularities.
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Issued on 12 March 2019 by Customs Directorate, HMRC.
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