Online check how to import or export goods

HMRC has a useful online tool to help UK business owners check how to import or export goods. This online tool can be used by businesses, the self-employed and agents acting on behalf of a business.

Using the online tool you can obtain information on:

  • the commodity codes (reference numbers) you need to classify goods for import and export declarations;
  • paying the right VAT and duties for your goods;
  • which licences and certificates you will need for your goods; and
  • how to move goods into a specific country.

There are many special procedures to be aware of when importing or exporting goods to / from the UK. Following the end of the Brexit transition period, the process for importing / exporting goods to / from the EU effectively mirrors the process for all other international destinations. There are different rules if you are moving goods in or out of Northern Ireland under what is known as the Windsor framework.

The online check can be a useful tool for smaller businesses and the self-employed to familiarise themselves with the necessary requirements and work accordingly. Businesses can make customs declarations themselves or hire a third party such as a courier, freight forwarder or customs agent to do the paperwork.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 01-04-2024

Customs Declaration Service open for business

All businesses can now move their export declarations to the Customs Declaration Service (CDS), HMRC has confirmed.

Businesses who have yet to move their export declarations to CDS will have a transition period to move across, until 4 June 2024. After this date, customs declarations cannot be submitted through the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) service.

CDS is replacing CHIEF and provides businesses with a more user-friendly, streamlined system with greater functionality. It has been running since 2018 for import declarations and more than 100 million customs declarations have already been submitted through CDS, including more than 30% of all export declarations.

Paying duties and VAT

To make an import declaration you need to choose how to pay duties, VAT or excise.

The Customs Declaration Service allows you to manage your customs financial accounts and download statements. You can also give authority to others to use your accounts.

Check how to import or export goods

You can check how to import and export goods using the GOV.UK online service at https://www.gov.uk/check-how-to-import-export.

Using this facility you can get information on:

  • the commodity codes (reference numbers) you need to classify goods for import and export declarations
  • paying the right VAT and duties for your goods
  • which licences and certificates you’ll need for your goods
  • how to get goods into a specific country

You will also need to know the approximate date when the goods will arrive at or leave the UK border.

Source:Other | 18-03-2024
start-up loan success and new working rules for feb 2023

Start-up loan success and new work hours rules – HMRC updates Feb Q2 2023

The week of 13 February 2023 has seen positive reports from HMRC about its Start-up Loan Scheme and a record high of on-time self-assessment tax filings.

Importantly, new legislation is on the table that would give more power to those with zero-hour contacts. This new bill is aimed at mitigating the effects of forcing workers to be available at any time, with little warning.

Start-up Loan Scheme success

The Start-up Loans scheme was established in 2012, to provide support for new businesses that have been trading for less than 36 months.

The loans range from £500 to £25,000, and charge a fixed interest rate of 6% per year. Businesses also get free support writing up their business plan, and up to 12 months of free tutoring.

Young people (aged between 18-24 years old) have received 14 percent of loans since the scheme was established. Of the total of more than 100,000 loans, 40 percent have gone to women and one-in-five to people from Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority backgrounds.

With 12,382 loans in the North-West, 7,117 in the East of England, 5,616 in the East Midlands and 15,39 in Northern Ireland, as well as many more across all parts of the United Kingdom, the Start Up Loans scheme has seen the entire UK benefit, with total economic activity estimated to be around £5.3 billion.

Predictable working hours bill on the table

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill, proposed by Blackpool South MP Scott Benton, could bring forward huge changes for tens of millions of workers across the UK to request predictable working hours.

The move, which would apply to all workers and employees including agency workers, comes after a review found many workers on zero hours contracts (i.e. contracts with no minimum working hours) experience ‘one-sided flexibility’.

This means people across the country are currently left waiting, unable to get on with their lives in case of being called up at the last minute for a shift. With a more predictable working pattern, workers will have a guarantee of when they are required to work, with hours that work for them.

What does this change for zero-hours contracts?

If a worker’s existing working pattern lacks certainty in terms of the hours they work, the times when they work, OR if it is a fixed term contract for less than 12-months, they will be able to make a formal application to change their working pattern to make it more predictable.

All workers and employees will have this new right if the bill gets parliamentary approval. However, they must first have worked for their employer for a set period before they make their application. This period will be set out in regulations and is expected to be 26-weeks.

Employers do have the option to refuse a request for a more predictable working pattern on specific grounds, such as the burden of additional costs to make changes, or there being insufficient work at times when the employee proposes to work. Workers will be able to make up to two requests a year.

Record number of taxpayers file on time

HMRC reports that more than 11.7 million people submitted their 2021-22 Self-Assessment tax returns by the 31 January deadline. This included over 861,000 taxpayers who left their filing until the final day and over 36,000 that filed in the last hour before the deadline.

Whilst this was the highest ever number of filings, there are still an estimated 600,000 taxpayers that have missed the deadline and are yet to file. Are you among those that missed the 31 January 2023 filing deadline for your 2021-22 Self-Assessment returns?

If you have missed the filing deadline, have a look at this post explaining the penalties and this post on how to reduce your penalties.

If you are unable to pay your tax bill, there is an option to set up an online time to pay payment plan to spread the cost of tax due on 31 January 2023 for up to 12 months. This option is available for debts up to £30,000 and the payment plan needs to be set up no later than 60 days after the due date of a debt.

Late tax payment interest rate increase

For those who have not filed and paid their taxes on time, your repayment amounts have just gone up. Luckily, CIGMA Accounting can help you with this process.

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) met on 2 February 2023 and voted 6-3 in favour of raising interest rates by 50 basis points to 4% in a move to try and continue to tackle upward pressures on inflation. This is the tenth time in a row that the MPC has increased interest rates with rates now the highest they have been since November 2008.

This means that the late payment interest rate applied to the main taxes and duties that HMRC charges interest on increases by 0.5% to 6.50%.

When do these changes come into effect?

These changes will come into effect on:

  • 13 February 2023 for quarterly instalment payments
  • 21 February 2023 for non-quarterly instalments payments

The repayment interest rates applied to the main taxes and duties that HMRC pays interest on will increase by 0.5% to 3% from 21 February 2023. The repayment rate is set at the Bank Rate minus 1%, with a 0.5% lower limit.

Becoming an Authorised Economic Operator

Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) status is a recognised quality mark of businesses who deal with imports, and customs control procedures. Businesses that hold the AEO standard can demonstrate that their role in the international supply chain is secure and that they have customs control procedures that meet Authorised Economic Operator standards and criteria.

There are 2 types of status:

  • Authorised Economic Operator Customs Simplification (AEOC)
  • Authorised Economic Operator Security and Safety (AEOS)

You can apply for customs simplification or security and safety, or you can apply for both (Customs simplifications & Security and safety-AEOF).

What are the benefits of being an Authorised Economic Operator?

Businesses with AEOS status benefit from Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs). The UK negotiates MRAs with other customs authorities to reduce friction and excessive taxation. The UK currently has negotiated agreements with the EU, Japan, China and USA. Following Brexit, all Northern Ireland AEO authorisations continue to be recognised in the EU.

HMRC’s list of approved Authorised Economic Operator businesses has recently been updated and lists 1,237 businesses that hold status with HMRC.

Change in approved ISA managers list

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are accounts for cash and investments (such as stocks and shares) for which you are not charged tax on interest, income, or capital gains. The maximum you can save in ISAs for the current tax year is £20,000.

 

HMRC releases lists of individuals and firms who it deems are able to manage ISAs satisfactorily. However, HMRC has not approved any ISA that the ISA manager may offer. Potential investors are advised to take independent advice if they’re in any doubt about the suitability of the ISA manager or of a particular ISA.

What can i hold in an ISA?

The list of investments that can be held in a tax-advantaged ISA also includes:

  • securities (including retail bonds) and shares issued by housing associations and other co-operative societies or community benefit societies (registered societies – formerly known as industrial and provident societies);
  • a broader range of securities issued by companies, including those admitted to trading on certain Small and Medium Size Enterprise (SME) market; and
  • shares in a wider range of investment trusts.

Wimbledon Accountant

165-167 The Broadway

Wimbledon

London

SW19 1NE

Farringdon Accountant

Better Space

127 Farringdon Road

London

EC1R 3DA

New Green Freeports for Scotland

The UK and Scottish governments have jointly announced that Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport and Forth Green Freeport have been successful in their bids to establish two new Green Freeports in Scotland. Each of these Freeports will be granted up to £26 million in funding over the next few years, primarily to address infrastructure gaps which are currently holding back investment.

Freeports are a special kind of port where normal tax and customs rules do not apply. Rather, there are simplified customs procedures and duty suspensions on goods. This announcement builds on the UK Government’s successful Freeport programme in England, where there are currently eight operational Freeports with a further five sites recently being granted final government approval.

After designation, businesses in Freeport tax sites are able to benefit from various tax reliefs including:

  • an enhanced 10% rate of structures and buildings allowance;
  • an enhanced capital allowance of 100%;
  • full relief from Stamp Duty Land Tax;
  • business rates relief on certain business premises within freeport tax sites; and
  • employer National Insurance contributions relief, subject to Parliamentary process and approval.
Source:The Scottish Government| 23-01-2023

Customs Declaration Service deadline extended

The Customs Declaration Service (CDS) is a customs IT platform designed to modernise the process for completing customs declarations for businesses that import or export goods from the UK. A phased launch of the service started in August 2018 and was due to be completed by 31 March 2023. The CDS covers export declarations of goods sent from the UK. This phase has now been delayed until 30 November 2023, an 8-month delay. 

HMRC’s Director of Border Change Delivery commented that:

'We have moved the deadline to enable us to spend more time working with industry in delivering and testing critical functionality as well as the support needed to help declarants move across to the new system. The extra time also allows businesses and stakeholders more time to prepare their customers and software products for the November deadline.'

When the transfer to the CDS is complete, the old Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) service will close. The first stage of this withdrawal started on 30 September 2022 when the ability to make import declarations on CHIEF closed for the vast majority of users. From 1 December 2023, the ability to make export declarations using CHIEF will also be withdrawn.

HMRC has confirmed that they will provide further information about the exact timeline for CDS exports by the end of January 2023.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 02-01-2023

The Customs Declaration Service

Businesses importing goods must submit import declarations from 1 October 2022 using the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). The CDS is a customs IT platform designed to modernise the process for completing customs declarations for businesses that import or export goods from and to the UK.

A phased launch of the service started in August 2018. The CDS is used for making import and export declarations when moving goods into and out of the UK.

The CHIEF system is being withdrawn in two stages. The first stage, 30 September 2022, saw the ability to make import declarations on CHIEF close. From 1 October 2022, businesses who did not move across to the CDS are now unable to import goods into the UK. The second stage will happen on 31 March 2023 when the CHIEF system will fully close. From this date, the ability to make export declarations using CHIEF will also be withdrawn.

Even businesses that use a customs agents need to ensure they take the following steps:

  • subscribe to the CDS;
  • choose a payment method;
  • check their standing authorities are correctly set up; and
  • give their customs agent customs clearance instructions.

HMRC’s Director of Programme and Operational Delivery for Borders and Trade said:

'Those concerned about moving across to the Customs Declaration Service should work with a customs agent who is ready to use the system and can make declarations on their behalf.'

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 19-09-2022