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9th June 2021

Anything to declare? Exploring customs options for importers

Since January 1, new border controls have been introduced in stages for imports to Great Britain from the European Union. With border controls now in place with the free trade agreement, customs declarations are needed for all imports to Great Britain.

Traders moving controlled goods, such as excise goods, will need to make a frontier declaration to customs. Similarly, businesses bringing non-controlled goods into Great Britain can also make a full declaration at the time of their arrival into the country, but they have another option: the supplementary declaration.

What is a supplementary declaration?

A supplementary declaration is an electronic message submitted to HMRC using the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system (CHIEF) or Customs Declaration Service (CDS), allowing a business to delay sending the full information about its non-controlled goods by up to 175 days after import.

The process, applicable to traders who import goods into Great Britain from the EU between 1 January and 31 December 2021, must follow either an entry in declarant’s records or a simplified frontier declaration which allow goods to clear customs and keep them moving.

The supplementary declaration, to be completed within 175 days from the date of import, provides customs with more information about your goods, working out the VAT and Customs Duty that a business is required to pay. Businesses leave themselves open to fines of up to £2,500 for any declarations that are not completed on time.

What does a business require to make a supplementary declaration?

A business must be authorised by HMRC, have an EORI number beginning with ‘GB’, a duty deferment account to delay paying customs duty, excise duty and import VAT, a financial guarantee waiver, access to the CHIEF or CDS systems and compatible software in order to submit the supplementary declaration.

While some businesses may prefer to complete declarations themselves, appointing a customs intermediary to deal with complicated import and export declarations could be beneficial.

How can Chambers Wales help?

Importing has a whole culture and language of its own but, fortunately, the Chamber speaks the language and understand the culture. With extensive experience in supporting internationally trading businesses for years, Chambers Wales’ team is able to curate end-to-end solutions and supply chain connectivity across global markets.

As a dedicated customs intermediary, Chambers Wales can manage all HMRC declarations including supplementary declarations through every UK port, handling the paperwork and logistics to keep goods moving and ensure compliance at every stage.

Chambers Wales also offer a wide range of international documentary services, including Certificates of Origin, ATA Carnets and EUR1s, as well as accredited British Chambers of Commerce training courses on importing requirements, in addition to the Foundation Award in International Trade, to help upskill traders.

Jo Price, Director of International at Chambers Wales, said: “We have a long history of supporting businesses trading internationally and have a network of global connections that will open doors to new markets. There are further controls yet to be introduced on the movement of goods from the EU. I’d urge businesses to make sure they’re prepared and can keep trading by seeking support from organisations like Chambers Wales.”

Read more about HMRC Staged customs controls here | Apply for an EORI number here |

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