Jessica Fino 5 Feb 2019 10:02am

HMRC to relax EU imports in case of no deal Brexit

The UK tax authority says it will relax the border to EU imports during the first year after Brexit in case of a no-deal, in a bid to avoid congestion at ports

HMRC has written to 145,000 VAT-registered businesses telling them goods coming from the EU will be waved through the UK without checks for an initial period of one year.

The Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) aims at giving businesses time to prepare for usual import processes. Businesses will be able to transport goods from the EU into the UK without having to make a full customs declaration at the border, and will be able to postpone paying any import duties.

Treasury minister Mel Stride said that, while leaving the EU with a deal remains the government’s top priority, “a responsible government must plan for every eventuality, including a no deal scenario”.

“HMRC is helping businesses get prepared and, amongst other significant communications, has written three times to affected businesses, each time stepping up the advice and encouraging them to take action,” he added.

The Revenue said it anticipates TSP will remain in place for more than a year to give businesses time to prepare to use the full customs processes that already apply to imports from non-EU countries.

It will review the policy three to six months after it’s introduced and will consult with businesses, giving them at least 12-months notice before withdrawing the TSP.

Businesses can register for TSP from Thursday.

Ronan Quigley, executive director for Trade at the British Chambers of Commerce, said, “In the case of no deal, it is reassuring that HMRC are introducing these TSP, which will make importing easier by simplifying the declarations at the border and postponing the payment of import duties that would otherwise be due.

He added that the “government must do everything it can to let firms know what they’ll need in terms of new documentation to trade with the EU”.