Resources

Brexit FAQ

13 April 2021

 

This guide has been collated to address the most common scenarios affecting NI Makers post Brexit. The information is given in good faith and is accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication (April 2021). Parts of the guidance are likely to change over the coming months and we expect to provide updates accordingly.

We’ve all had to absorb a lot of unfamiliar terminology over the past few months, so there is a Glossary to provide definitions where necessary.

 

You must have an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI number) that starts with XI if you:

  • move goods from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) to Northern Ireland
  • move goods from Northern Ireland to another non-EU country

The Trader Support Service (TSS) is a free service to enable you to complete customs declarations if you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is free to use and will guide you through any changes to the way goods move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Suppliers based in GB will also need to register with TSS and obtain an EORI number starting with XI to move goods to Northern Ireland.

If the goods you are receiving in a parcel have a value of £135 or less, then you can continue to receive these goods from Great Britain as usual with no new requirements. A declaration is not required for these goods.

VAT will continue to be accounted as it is currently on goods sold between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This means that the seller of the goods will continue to charge its customers VAT and should show this on its invoices. The VAT charged will be accounted for as output VAT on the VAT return in the same box as it is now. The seller will not be able to claim this back as input VAT.

Where the customer receives an invoice from the seller showing that VAT has been charged, it may use this as evidence in order to reclaim the VAT as input VAT, subject to the normal rules.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/accounting-for-vat-on-goods-moving-between-great-britain-and-northern-ireland-from-1-january-2021/accounting-for-vat-on-goods-moving-between-great-britain-and-northern-ireland-from-1-january-2021

If you are a Northern Ireland based business receiving goods valued over £135 and delivered by a courier company (or through the Royal Mail Group), you will have to submit a declaration. However, you can delay when you do this, and you will be able to use the free Trader Support Service (TSS) to do so. You should speak to the TSS on when and how to make this declaration, and further details on how you will be able to submit this delayed declaration will be issued in due course.

You should prepare by:

You should also take steps to avoid the risk of needing to pay tariffs unnecessarily on these goods when you submit your declarations. You will need to keep additional records dependent on the tariff removal route appropriate:

  1. You could consider applying to join the UK Trader Scheme to become authorised to declare goods ‘not at risk’. You will need to meet certain criteria to do this, including being able to demonstrate the end use of the goods.
  2. Proof that the goods meet Rules of Origin to benefit from zero tariffs under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement; or
  3. Evidence that you are within your de minimis State Aid allowance (see Waiver Scheme).

Dependent on your contractual arrangement with the Great Britain sending business, they may complete the delayed declaration instead of you.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sending-parcels-between-great-britain-and-northern-ireland

HMRC has adopted a temporary approach to applying declaration requirements for the movement of goods in parcels (including by the Royal Mail Group and express carriers/couriers). The temporary approach recognises the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland, the impacts of any disruption to parcel movements in the context of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and specific challenges for operators moving parcels. This guidance sets out the detail of this approach. For business to business movements, these temporary arrangements will end on 1 October. Further guidance setting out longer term requirements will be published in due course.

The Government has launched the Trader Support Service (TSS) – a free-to-use service that helps businesses and traders of all sizes to navigate the changes to the way goods move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The TSS enables you to:

  • complete declarations without the need for specialist advice or software
  • get information and advice about moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland through free online courses and training materials
  • access help and support through a dedicated contact centre.

The service uses the information you provide to submit customs and safety and security declarations on your behalf.

Find out more and sign up now at www.gov.uk/tradersupportservice

GET AN EORI NUMBER

If you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and you do not already have an EORI number you should apply for one now. You need an EORI number that starts with XI to:

  • move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • move goods between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries
  • make a declaration in Northern Ireland
  • get a customs decision in Northern Ireland

To get an EORI number that starts with XI, you must already have an EORI number that starts with GB. For information on what an EORI is and how to get one, visit www.gov.uk/eori. It takes 5 to 10 minutes to apply.

CHECK YOUR COMMODITY CODES

To understand any duty or other measures that apply to your goods, you’ll need to find the right commodity code when you bring goods into Northern Ireland. You also need a commodity code to fill in declarations and other paperwork. You can search the Tariff tool to find the right commodity code for goods you purchase, and you should speak to your supplier as they may be able to tell you the code

CHECK WHETHER THE UK TRADER SCHEME COULD HELP YOUR BUSINESS

While the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement delivers zero tariffs on imports and exports, there are some instances where duty may be due. If you bring goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain or a country outside of the EU, you will need to make declarations and may be liable to pay EU customs duty. Whether you have to pay a duty, and how much that duty is, will depend on where you are bringing the goods from and whether they are ‘at risk’ of onward movement to the EU.

If you intend to bring goods into Northern Ireland which you know are not ‘at risk’ of moving to the EU, then you can apply for authorisation under the UK Trader Scheme.

CHECK GOODS REGULATION: AGRI-FOOD GOODS

  • If you move certain agri-food goods (including products of animal origin such as leather, wool, feathers, etc.) from Great Britain to Northern Ireland there are new rules you need to follow. Depending on the type of goods you are moving, you may need to obtain certificates such as an Export Health Certificate (EHC), a Phytosanitary Certificate (PC) or a Certificate of Inspection (CoI).
  • Free support, including a dedicated helpline, is available for traders and businesses from the Movement Assistance Scheme. Advisors are available on 0330 0416 580, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays). The Movement Assistance Scheme also provides financial support to traders so you will not be charged for certain certification costs. For EHCs, certifiers should invoice the Government up to a set amount (subject to current caps of £150 excl. VAT for EHCs). Certifiers of EHCs will need to register before submitting a claim for reimbursement.

VAT

  • For goods sold between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, VAT will continue to be accounted for as it is currently. This means that the seller of the goods will continue to charge its customers VAT and should show this on its invoices. The VAT charged will be accounted for as output VAT on the VAT return, in the same box as it is now. The seller will not be able to claim this back as input VAT.
  • Where the customer receives an invoice from the seller showing that VAT has been charged, it may use this as evidence in order to reclaim the VAT as input VAT, subject to the normal rules.

RULES OF ORIGIN

  • If you bring goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain or a country outside of the EU, you may be liable to pay EU customs duty if your goods are ‘at risk’ of onward movement to the EU. Rules of Origin are used to help you work out which preferential tariff rates, or other specific measures, apply to qualifying goods. Goods that can be proved to be of UK origin under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), can claim preferential tariffs if moved directly from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
  • The Trader Support Service offers further resources on Rules of Origin.

Tariffs may apply to goods brought into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. The Tariffs will apply if there is a risk that the goods will subsequently be moved to the EU. If the goods are not at risk of movement to the EU, then no tariffs should apply.

SPS CHECKS

SPS checks will be applied at designated Border Control Posts in NI Ports to products of animal origin.

This would depend on your trading/delivery terms with the supplier, type of goods, values and transport method. Assuming you operate on DAP, and the movement of sale is GB to NI then customs declarations would be required by your company).

Returns, going from NI to GB will not require any declarations.

Trade in goods between the EU (including the Republic of Ireland) and Northern Ireland is unaffected. There will be no change at the border, no new paperwork, and no tariffs or regulatory checks.

Trade in goods between the EU (including the Republic of Ireland) and Northern Ireland is unaffected. There will be no change at the border, no new paperwork, and no tariffs or regulatory checks.

Although there are no customs declarations or additional postal requirements for businesses posting items from NI to the EU, Royal Mail has provided the following advice:

  • Following some issues with NI parcels being returned or incorrectly charged by EU postal authorities, Royal Mail has advised that from 15th February 2021, it has started separating items sent from NI destined for the EU from other GB parcels. This helps to ensure NI postal items are not subject to customs processes and continue to flow smoothly.
  • Royal Mail encourage all NI consumers or businesses to include a return address on their parcels – this can help identify that it has was sent from NI; but is also good practice in case the item needs to be returned to sender.

The overall process for trading between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries will continue broadly as before Brexit. Tariffs may apply for goods imported from the rest of the world. The UK’s tariff regime will apply to such movements unless a good is considered ‘at risk’ of moving into the EU and where UK and EU tariffs differ.

Items going NI to GB will not require any declarations. In respect of returns from GB, this would depend on your trading/delivery terms with the wholesaler, type of goods, values and transport method. Assuming you operate on DAP, then declarations would be required (ENS and SFD by the wholesaler or carrier and supplementary declaration by your company). If the goods are returned using a courier company, then separate guidance should be followed (i.e. grace period in place until  1st October for parcel deliveries from GB-NI).

You might want to use RGR (returned goods relief) to negate the need for payment of any duties or import VAT.

For almost all traders, when your goods leave Northern Ireland for Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), there’ll be:

  • no export declaration
  • no exit summary declaration
  • no import declaration on arrival in Great Britain
  • no customs duties to pay
  • no VAT to pay at point of arrival
  • no changes to how your goods arrive at ports in Great Britain

There are some very limited exceptions. For example, goods falling within the very limited number of procedures relating to specific international obligations binding on the UK and the EU.

In respect of returns from GB to NI, it will depend on trading terms, type of goods, values and transport method. If returns operate on DAP basis – the sender will have to complete SFD / ENS and supplementary declarations will have to be completed on arrival in NI. However, if the goods are returned using a courier company, then separate guidance should be followed (i.e. grace period in place until 1st October for parcel deliveries from GB-NI): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sending-parcels-between-great-britain-and-northern-ireland You might want to use RGR (returned goods relief) to negate the need for payment of any duties or import VAT.

Trade in goods between the EU (including the Republic of Ireland) and Northern Ireland is unaffected. There will be no change at the border, no new paperwork, and no tariffs or regulatory checks.

Although there are no customs declarations or additional postal requirements for businesses posting items from NI to the EU, Royal Mail has provided the following advice:

  • Following some issues with NI parcels being returned or incorrectly charged by EU postal authorities, Royal Mail has advised that from 15th February 2021, it has started separating items sent from NI destined for the EU from other GB parcels. This helps to ensure NI postal items are not subject to customs processes and continue to flow smoothly.
  • Royal Mail encourage all NI consumers or businesses to include a return address on their parcels – this can help identify that it has was sent from NI; but is also good practice in case the item needs to be returned to sender.

Most likely an oral declaration would be sufficient, as per the guidance https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bringing-commercial-goods-into-northern-ireland-in-your-baggage

You can make an oral declaration if the goods:

  • have a value less than £873
  • weigh less than 1,000 kilograms
  • are not restricted goods
  • are not alcohol, tobacco or fuel (excise goods)

In respect of returns from GB to NI, it will depend on trading terms, type of goods, values and transport method. If returns operate on DAP basis – the sender will have to complete SFD / ENS and supplementary declarations will have to be completed on arrival in NI.

You might want to use RGR (returned goods relief) to negate the need for payment of any duties or import VAT.

It will depend on your agreement with the Gallery. Easiest for you would be to agree DDP (delivered duty paid) terms with them for the return of goods. They would therefore be responsible for all return arrangements and completing any declarations required. If the goods are returned using a courier company, then separate guidance should be followed (i.e. grace period in place until 1st October for parcel deliveries from GB-NI): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sending-parcels-between-great-britain-and-northern-ireland

You might want to use Returned goods relief (RGR) to negate the need for payment of any duties or import VAT.

If you’re a UK trader and not registered for UK VAT you still have to pay the import VAT, but you will not be able to reclaim it. If you use delayed declarations and are not registered for VAT, you will pay import VAT when you make your supplementary declaration. Find out more about delaying declarations.

For further VAT government advice, visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/vat-imports-acquisitions-and-purchases-from-abroad

The threshold for VAT registration is £85,000, you can voluntarily register for VAT without meeting this threshold.  We recommend you speak to your accountant or bank manager. Basic principles to consider: if you become VAT registered, you need to apply current vatable rate to your invoices (20%) for selling products, you can claim VAT back on all vatable items related to your business.

Additional information on the 4 main options available to E-Commerce sellers:-

https://www.avalara.com/vatlive/en/vat-news/brexit-vat—customs-options-of-uk-ecommerce-sellers.html

Information on the forthcoming Import One Stop shop system for low value shipments:

https://www.avalara.com/vatlive/en/vat-news/eu-2021-one-stop-shop-vat-return-for-e-commerce.html

Small Craft businesses should contact their local councils for Brexit supports.

Smaller businesses can also apply for grants of up to £2,000 through the SME Brexit Support Fund to adapt to new customs and tax rules. These grants enable traders to access practical support, including training or professional advice.

Brexit supports are also available from InterTradeIreland; but criteria apply.

 

Craft NI worked with Ronan McDonnell of The Logistics Consultants who produced this guide in response to the most common issues encountered by NI makers post Brexit. We are grateful to Belfast City Council’s EU Exit Mentoring Support for funding this research.
https://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/Business-and-investment/City-for-business/City-for-growth/EU-Exit-mentoring-support
http://thelogisticsconsultants.com/

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