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HMRC internal manual

Import and National Clearance Hub Procedures

General: entry procedures for detention of goods post clearance

Post Clearance records

The Post Clearance function may maintain records relating to entry transactions. These include a Sample Register and the record of the despatch of entries to other stations. Other records in current use within the scope of post clearance responsibility are those relating to:

  • the despatch of Temporary Admission entries and supporting documents to the National Temporary Imports Section (NTIS)
  • the despatch of entries to the National Import Duty Adjustment Centre (NIDAC)
  • the control entries awaiting DV1 or other documents, and
  • reports to Policy teams about entry matters.

In order to minimise and standardise the types of records we need to maintain, post clearance control used is on computer printout control lists.

CHIEF Control printouts

Management Information printouts will also be produced for entries set up under transaction of a listing / action indicator on CHIEF.

Receipt of entries

If an entry does not appear on a control list the entry record is to be interrogated and the entry scrutinised to establish the reason (misrouting of un-cleared entry) and appropriate action taken.

Entries awaiting production of documents

When goods have been released against security, except the securities dealt with by the NIDAC or against and undertaking pending the production of documents, Post Clearance is responsible for ensuring their timely production and for processing them on receipt. The general rule of action on the lodgement of documents is no more than that required if they had been presented prior to clearance.

Presentation of original Route 1 entries and supporting documents post clearance - see INCHP04200 for all route definitions.

Unless otherwise specified, there is no requirement to present original documents for Route 1 entries already cleared by NCH. These must be retained by the declarant for a period of 4 years from the date and time of clearance, as are Route 6s and must be made available for inspection by HMRC on request.  NIDAC and NDRC require original copies of preference certs.

Presentation of entries subject to Route 3 post clearance profiles and supporting documents

Unless the entry has been previously pre-lodged or under any other specific advised circumstances, all imports original Route 3 entry documents must arrive at the NCH for post clearance action within 3 working days from the date and time of clearance. A freepost service has been made available for use by the trade to assist in meeting this requirement.

For bulk EUR1s, ATR1s and GSP certificates, declarants should send the original document to the NCH with the first Route 3 entry. Subsequent Route 3s should be accompanied by a copy of the appropriate preference certificate and box 44 noted with the number of the entry to which the original has been attached.

Wherever possible A4 size envelopes are to be used and Route 3 entries should be despatched to the NCH on a daily basis. An audit of entries received will be carried out. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in Civil Penalty action.

Uncleared Route 3 entries (CCS22)

Where a Route 3 entry has been amended and attracts a CCS 22 status on CHIEF, release of the goods requires Customs to input clearance. In these cases, the entry is treated as equivalent to a Route 1 and should be emailed to the NCH with the appropriate Header Sheet for NCH action. It is recommended that a separate header is provided for each entry. Clearance times may be affected if an appropriate header is not used.

Pre-lodged ‘Hold’ entries attracting Route 3

Under the pre-lodgement of entries the Route is advised once arrival of the vessel or aircraft has been reported on CHIEF. Where pre-lodged entries are faxed to the NCH, the documentation will be updated and Route 3 entries automatically passed to the Post Clearance team at Salford. No other documentation should be sent to the NCH unless requested by the Route 3 Processing Team.

Non-presentation of entries

The NCH will undertake regular assurance checks to ensure that all declarations subject to Route 1 and / or Route 3 profiles have been presented as required. If checks reveal that declarants are regularly failing to submit entries, either pre or post clearance, action including the use of civil penalties or administrative action should be taken.

Invalidated entry and a substitute entry for entries in error

Where initial entry has been to a Special Procedure regime and the goods are to be entered to free circulation the original entry must be invalidated and a C88 substitute entry needs to be keyed onto the system. See INCHP02480 for further advice.

Retention of records

All original Route 1 entries and supporting documents which have been submitted, processed and cleared by fax or email at the NCH are to be retained by the trade and where used, as Route 6 declarations, for 4 years from the date and time of clearance. This includes originals of email / fax copy entries and supporting documents submitted to the NCH for customs input (CIE).

All importers (not only agents) must keep a copy of the import entry for the 4 year period, as per Finance Act 1994, Section 21 (1) (a)(b)(i) and 2008/450, Article 29

In context of the retention records, the ‘trade’ means either the:

  • third party declarant (usually a customs agent), irrespective of whether they are acting as direct or indirect representative (where relief from customs charges is claimed third party declarants should always ensure copies of entries and supporting documents are sent to the person on whose behalf declarations are made), or
  • importer or exporter where the declaration is made under self representation.

Documentary evidence may be stored in an electronic format as long as an original copy is capable of being reproduced from it. The exceptions are any documents which contain original stamps, watermarks etc (for example, preference certificates). These must be retained in their original paper format.

Only where original entries and supporting documents have been pre-lodged at the NCH for clearance will HMRC retain them for the relevant period.

Notification of Customs checks

To facilitate routing of entries to the appropriate area of responsibility, computer generated Customs check code will be output (except for CFSP Supplementary Declarations) in the entry acceptance response (E2) arranged in descending priority order.

Entries for verification

Entries for routine or occasional verification will have a Customs check code endorsed on a C90 when they have been selected by previous functions. Selection may be made from entries routed for other post clearance action after computer processing.

Verification of Route 3 entries should be selective, targeting agents on a risk basis. Routine checks should not exceed 5%.

Goods sampled for test

Entries for cleared goods that have been sampled for test are to be routed for post-clearance action and control. The sample record register record is to be updated using the information on the attached test note, noting the serial number and forwarding to the proper destination. Post-clearance completes the Sample Register record and finalises the import account on the return of the test note.

When delivery of goods is withheld pending test results these responsibilities are to be carried out by the examining function, they should use the post clearance sample record.

Note: this procedure has nothing to do with the Community System of Duty Reliefs (CSDR) arrangement ‘Goods For Test’ Relief.

Union / Common Transit (CT) forms

Since the introduction of the NCH, Transit Accompanying Documents (TADs) and Single Administrative Documents (SADs) produced under the NCTS fallback are no longer presented with customs import entries. They must be produced at the office of destination where the goods are presented.

Misclassification offences

Where misclassification is suspected officers must use their own judgment in obvious cases and agree a change with the importer. However, where classification may prove contentious or there is room for error because of a technical element, officers are to:

  • detain the goods and send samples to:
    Station Road
    Chipping Campden
    GL55 6LD
    Phone: 01386 842000
    Fax: 01386 842100 (release may be made against security), or
  • contact Tariff Classification Team to discuss the correct classification of the goods in dispute. Initial contact should be made via the Gateway Team on 03000 593704, 593046 or 594127.