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Brexit Update 11.02.21

11 February 2021

Further to our Brexit update last week we’ve been in conversation with a very helpful advisor at the Trader Support Service (TSS).

He first of all explained that complex regulations are being implemented at very short notice, so a level of patience is required as the systems evolve to meet our needs.Lots of the questions we put to him on behalf of the sector had not been raised before, and the guidance is evolving every week.

He also reminded us that the upside of our current difficulties with getting goods into NI is our unrestricted access to EU customers, which our competitors in GB do not have.

Much of the online info is currently aimed at substantially larger businesses. As the system improves, information for sole traders and micro-businesses will get clearer.

The information below is given in good faith as our best understanding of the current position.

BUYING FROM GB

Transactions under £135 do not need any additional paperwork, whether consumer or business purchases.

Over £135 goods (ie parcels/deliveries) will require a ‘Declaration’ to move from GB to NI. They will also need a ‘Supplementary Declaration’ to clarify the ‘Status’ of those items (ie if any duty needs to be paid or not). Both a ‘Declaration’ and a ‘Supplementary Declaration’ are entries made on the TSS website. This is a record of the transaction: ie the supplier, the goods being moved and your delivery details. It will also include the EORI numbers for you and your supplier. Sometimes you will be responsible for doing the Declaration, sometimes it will be the supplier, or even the courier. The current online guidance on how to do this is aimed at much larger businesses; we will update you on how this applies to makers as and when that information becomes available.

None of these additional requirements are currently required as we are in a ‘grace period’ to 31 March to allow the systems to get up and running. Royal Mail has already extended this grace period to 30 June, and other delivery services may also extend. Once this ends, couriers and delivery companies will be required to include this information as part of their documentation.

We know some suppliers have currently suspended trade with NI. Many were unaware they would need to make these Declarations, and they may have other urgencies to solve first. It is hoped they will engage with the process as it becomes easier to navigate – for example they may just have to provide your EORI number to the courier who would complete the Declaration, and you’d get notified to complete a Supplementary Declaration to make sure you don’t get charged duty. In the worst case scenario (supplier declines to ship to NI) you could still arrange a courier collection from them, and you’d then be responsible for the Declarations. We don’t know exactly how this will work, because nobody knows yet.

Parts of the TSS website are also still under development (ie the supplementary declarations), and you are therefore advised to keep clear records of any deliveries (invoice and date received) so they can be entered later. This is assumed to be within 3 months of receiving the goods.You will not have to pay duty on goods from GB, so this will be an admin process only.

Goods purchased from suppliers in NI have no additional requirements.

 

DUTY PAYMENTS

There is no duty to pay on goods bought from GB.

On arrival into NI these goods have to be classified as ‘at risk’ or ‘not at risk’ (ie ‘at risk’ of being sold later within the EU which would require EU duty to be paid). Businesses with a turnover below £500k are exempt from the ‘at risk’ rules, so will not pay any duty (if you wish, you can also check the commodity code(s) as some materials have a tariff of zero even if turnover is over £500K).

You are advised to sign up with the UK Trader Scheme (in addition to the Trader Support Service). This is means by which you arrange to be treated as a ‘not at risk’ trader (ie exempt from paying duty). The webpage lists various requirements such as needing to have good customs records etc – the fact that you keep adequate records to enable an annual tax return is sufficient. Register with them before the end of February.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-authorisation-for-the-uk-trader-scheme-if-you-bring-goods-into-northern-ireland

 

MOVING WORK BETWEEN NI & GB FOR EXHIBITIONS OR FAIRS

If you’re transporting the work in your own vehicle, you can make an ‘oral disclosure’ to customs at the port that your goods/samples are valued at less than £870. This would enable you to proceed either way between NI and GB. If the value is greater, you would proceed to GB as before and use the TSS system to generate a Declaration (as described above) for the return journey. The nature of the movement would be entered into the ‘supplementary declaration’ which will ensure no charges will be applicable.

We have been told that it’s ‘highly unlikely’ that a carnet system would be used at this level of business.

Creating a supplementary declaration would also facilitate work being sent back to NI from a GB Assay Office or from a sale or return retailer in GB.This would be treated in the same way as the supplier options described above.

 

SUMMARY

While this information sets out approximately what will need to be done, it’s still a bit thin on how it will be done. Our experience of TSS was that they were more than willing to understand our questions and come back with helpful solutions, so if you have a specific query we encourage you to contact them by phone or email. Equally, we will continue to seek advice on makers’ behalf and are happy to present your questions as a collective voice, so we can continue to share the information with everyone.

We hope to update here again next week.

 

ACTIONS

  1. Register with Trader Support Service
  2. Register for EORI number (and an XI EORI number should be issued, which indicates you’re in NI)
  3. Register with UK Trader Scheme (before end of February)
  4. Keep clear records of business purchases and delivery dates (ie from GB and over £135)
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