How customs brokers can serve your business following Brexit. Official Government advice suggests that businesses hire CUSTOMS BROKERS, to help with Brexit outcome, with regards to IMPORTS & EXPORTS from UK.
Regardless of the eventual Brexit outcome, UK companies that import or export goods to the European Union (EU) will have to examine their processes and a customs broker may need to be part of that.
The UK is currently part of the EU customs union. This means there are no customs borders between the EU countries. Typically, there’s no customs paperwork to complete or duties to pay, or VAT payments. This allows goods to pass through national ports such as Dover and Calais as seamlessly as they might travel from Birmingham to London.
Once the UK leaves the EU following Brexit, though, it will probably leave the customs union and the EU VAT area.
Although the specifics of how customs and VAT will work are yet to be decided, it’s likely paperwork and customs payments will be required when exporting to EU countries, just like when exporting to any non-EU country right now. Businesses will need an understanding of how customs and VAT work in the countries they export to, or import from.
We’ve already discussed freight forwarding on Sage Advice, which provides a good background on the issues involved. We’ve also examined customs and export following Brexit. we take a look at how customs brokers can serve your business following Brexit.
What is a customs broker?“A customs broker will check the all-important classification and get you the right commodity code,” says Fastrack Custom Declaration Services Ltd “Every product on the planet has a unique individual code.
“Back in the 1970s and 1980s, it used to be a set of huge volumes of books that you would have to flip through. It’s all done electronically now. It’s a bit easier.”
The commodity code is then used to prepare the customs documentation but often that’s not all that’s required.
“Some products might need an import licence,” says Fastrack Custom Declaration Services Ltd “They might be hazardous goods, or restricted. This is where the customs broker again comes in useful because they will know exactly what documentation is required.”
The customs broker is electronically registered with customs, speeding up communications, and they will know the timescales required to anticipate problems.“We have a CRN number with customs,” adds Fastrack Custom Declaration Services Ltd “We can electronically file import and export documentation. This can be done in advance of a shipment, either leaving the country or before it comes in.“It gives you a bit of time because customs might come back with a different classification that carries a higher duty.”
Customs brokers can also help with making payments, adds Fastrack Custom Declaration Services Ltd“If you’re a regular importer and frequently have to pay duty, taxes or VAT on commodities, the customs broker or their freight agent will often have a duty deferment or a VAT deferment account,” he says.
“This means you don’t have to pay the duty or VAT immediately. You would pay that once a month. The goods are then able to get through the port quickly.”
Getting customs documentation wrong can mean goods are held up, or even confiscated.“If there’s ever going to be a delay, it will be with customs,” adds Fastrack Custom Declaration Services Ltd
Delays can mean not only increased costs for you in terms of lost revenue and storage fees, but also for your freight company, who might find one of their HGVs is not available for the next job – and who will then pass the cost on to you.
“Customs brokers are headache avoiders,” says Fastrack Custom Declaration Services Ltd “That is exactly what a customs broker offers. Customs brokers take away the pain at the port of entry.”
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Customs brokers: Local vs international
It’s best to go local with customs brokers, continues Fastrack Custom Declaration Services Ltd
He says: “If you’re exporting something out of Felixstowe and you’re looking for a customs broker to clear your goods, then the best one to use would be a customs broker in Felixstowe.
“He will know who the local customs guys are. The customs officer will have him on speed