HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has automatically registered 95,000 businesses for its simplified import procedures, allowing most UK traders up to six months to pay import duties and submit customs declarations, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on October 31, 2019.
The scheme, known as Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP), will make importing after Brexit on October 31 much simpler, particularly for businesses that would be completing customs processes for the first time.
Up to now, businesses have had to apply for it, and over 30,000 had previously registered.
TSP is intended to prevent congestion at the border when goods enter the UK.
The Government has chosen to automatically enrol VAT-registered businesses that import from the EU into the TSP scheme, considering that it is the best option for businesses that are new to customs processes and haven’t yet appointed a customs agent.
HMRC Interim CEO Jim Harra said: “We are doing everything we can to help businesses get ready for Brexit on October 31. This move will support the trade of thousands of businesses and is part of our longstanding policy of making sure we continue to keep trade flowing.”
The businesses registered for TSP are UK-based traders that HMRC has a record of having imported goods from the EU in 2018. HMRC has sent letters to these traders with further details of their TSP registration. HMRC said they have to take only a few simple extra steps – such as checking if their goods attract tariffs, and getting a Duty Deferment Account if they do – to make sure that they are ready for October 31. HMRC has published the content of this letter online.
Importers do not have to use TSP; they still also have the option to use full import processes instead. However, HMRC has strongly advised traders new to dealing with customs to take advantage of the benefits of TSP.