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HMRC internal manual

Customs Freight Simplified Procedures

Processing the application: group authorisations

Many large traders consist of groups of companies. It is not always easy to identify the legal entity in a group of company ‘names’ and some further research may be necessary to determine which member is ultimately responsible for the debts of the others. Some or all may be separate legal entities in their own right. Any registered limited company (ie whose name ends in ‘Limited’, ‘Ltd’, or ‘PLC’) that is capable of both suing and being sued should be individually authorised for CFSP. Such a company cannot be included as a branch office in the authorisation of any other legal entity. Cases of dispute are to be referred to the Solicitors Office (via the CFSP Policy Team in Southend on sea) with appropriate background information.

If all the companies are separate legal entities the authorisation may take one of the following forms:

  • each company within the group may be separately authorised to operate CFSP and have a separate system and a separate DAN/CCG. Each company would submit their own SDs and FSDs or would nominate a Direct Representative to do this
  • one of the companies may act as a Direct Representative for the others and would transmit all SDs and FSDs. Each company would, however, be authorised to operate CFSP, each with their own deferment/CCG number or using the DAN/CCG of another group member (only allowed for VAT groups)
  • one of the companies may take responsibility for applying for authorisation to operate CFSP. That company would need to be authorised as an IR. In this case only one company in the group need be authorised. The EORI of the group member acting as the IR will be shown in box 14 (declarant) and the EORI of the group member/legal entity who owns the goods will be shown in box 8 (consignee).
  • one company may act as the importing member for the group. Only that company is authorised to operate CFSP and their EORI appears in box 8.

Some companies may consist of a single legal entity with many trading names or divisions. The legal entity may wish to use branch references to differentiate between the separate areas of the business. Legal entities that fit into this category may apply for authorisation using:

  • One CFSP authorisation for the legal entity covering one EORI under which all imports for the legal entity will be declared. No branch references will be declared in box 44 and one Final Supplementary Declaration (FSD) for the legal entity will be required.
  • One CFSP authorisation for the legal entity, with various branch references for each trading name/division declared in box 44 so that they can identify their CFSP declarations separately (see CFSP14600). A separate FSD will be required per branch reference.