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HMRC internal manual

Export Procedures

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Pre-shipment control: definitions

An export

In the context of the Single Market, ‘export’ takes place when goods leave the customs territory of the EU. Under the Union Customs Code (UCC) Regulation 952/2013 Goods to be taken out of the customs territory of the Union shall be covered by a pre-departure declaration to be lodged at the competent customs office, this action must take place within a specified time-limit before the goods are taken out of customs territory of the union. This includes European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries.

By virtue of Regulation 57D and 57F of the VAT (General) Regulations Amendment 1992 an export declaration is also required for goods sent to one of the ‘special territories’ which, although within the Customs territory of the Community, are outside the fiscal (VAT) territory of the EU.

In addition an export declaration is required for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) goods sent to an ‘entitled destination’ (as provided for in Article 36 of Regulation 800/99) (eg supplies to international institutions such as naval bases in other EU countries).

Office of Export/Office of Exit

An office of Export is the Customs office where the export declaration is first presented and entered into Customs control. (Legal acceptance)

An office of Exit is in the case of goods exported by:

  1. rail, post, air or sea, the Customs office competent for the place where the goods are taken over under a single transport contract for transport to a third country by the railway companies, the postal authorities, the airlines or the shipping companies.
  2. pipeline and of electrical energy, the office designated by the Member State where the exporter is established.
  3. other means or in circumstances not covered in (1) or (2) the last Customs office before the goods leave the Customs territory of the Community.

For direct exports, ie goods leaving the Community direct from a Member State, the Customs office where the declaration is presented can be both the office of Export and an office of Exit.

Definition of exporter

Article 1 (19) Delegated Regulation 2446/2015 - Customs definition of exporter:

(a) the person established in the customs territory of the Union who, at the time when the declaration is accepted, holds the contract with the consignee in the third country and has the power for determining that the goods are to be brought to a destination outside the customs territory of the Union,

(b) the private individual carrying the goods to be exported where these goods are contained in the private individual’s personal baggage,

(c) in other cases, the person established in the customs territory of the Union who has the power for determining that the goods are to be brought to a destination outside the customs territory of the Union.

If you plan to start exporting, you’ll need to be the person on whose behalf the export declaration is made, be the owner of the goods, or have a right of disposal at the time the declaration is made. You will also need to follow the rules that depend on whether your goods or services are going to a country: