Partnership pack: preparing for a ‘no deal’ EU Exit



HM Revenue & Customs Staff


At the heart of government’s approach to preparing for a ‘no deal’ scenario is a commitment to prioritise stability for citizens, consumers and business. This is equally true in our approach to customs as elsewhere. We will continue to apply highly automated, risk-based and intelligence-targeted customs controls when the UK leaves the EU.

HMRC will work closely with industry to ensure its interventions are conducted in a way which minimises delays and additional burdens for legitimate trade, while robustly ensuring compliance. The approach of continuity does not mean that everything will stay the same, but the priority is maximising stability at the point of departure through the government’s action.

The role that you can play in helping the government reach out to businesses is crucial. You understand the customers, members and clients that you represent and you can provide insight, knowledge and channels to improve how many businesses receive these messages and how well they respond to them.
We look forward to working with you and getting your feedback on what you think customers need.

Working in partnership with you This partnership pack will help you support businesses to prepare if we exit the EU without a deal. It explains:

  • how trade, processes and regulations at the UK border will change after 29 March 2019
  • what traders and other businesses operating at the UK border will need to do from 29 March 2019.
  • Over time, it will evolve to cover a wider range of topics, including:
  • agrifood regulations
  • road haulage licensing and other arrangements
  • other regulations and standards (for example licences, trading standards, chemicals, waste, wood and timber, other controlled goods).

Customs, excise and VAT changes

Businesses can currently move goods freely between EU member states. For customs, this means that businesses trading with the rest of the EU do not have to make any customs import or export declarations, and their trade with the EU is not subject to import duty.
Certain goods are subject to excise duty. This is a tax charged on the production and importation of alcohol, tobacco and oils. These goods are currently free to move between the UK and the rest of the EU with the excise duty-suspended.

If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without a deal, there will be immediate changes to the procedures that apply to businesses trading with the EU. It would mean that the free circulation and movements of goods between the UK and EU would end.

HMRC is currently introducing its new Customs Declaration Service (CDS), which replaces its Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. Read information about how CDS is being introduced and what businesses need to do to prepare on GOV.UK.

From 11pm on 29 March 2019, for businesses trading with the EU, the impacts would include:

• businesses having to apply the same customs and excise rules to goods moving between the UK and the EU as are currently applied in cases where goods move between the UK and a country outside of the EU. This means customs declarations would be needed when goods enter the UK (an import declaration), or when they leave the UK (an export declaration). For imports into the UK a separate safety and security declaration needs to be made by the carrier of the goods (this is usually the haulier, airline, freight train operator or shipping line, depending on the mode of transport used to import goods). For exports from the UK, the export declaration includes the safety and security declaration
• the EU applying customs and excise rules to goods it receives from the UK, in the same way it does for goods it receives from outside of the EU. This means that the EU would require customs declarations on goods coming from, or going to, the UK, as well as requiring separate safety and security declarations for imports into the EU
• for movements of excise goods, the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) would no longer be used to control duty-suspended movements between the EU and the UK. However, EMCS would continue to be used to control the movement of duty-suspended excise goods within the UK, including movements to and from UK ports, airports and the Channel Tunnel. This will mean that, immediately on importation to the UK, businesses moving excise goods from the EU, including those in duty suspension, will have to make a customs declaration and the goods placed either into a customs or excise suspensive arrangement or the duty must be paid at that point.


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