Frances Ball 15 Oct 2019 12:47pm

HMRC sets up no-deal six-month leeway for traders

Traders will have up to six months to pay import duties and submit customs declarations, under new rules designed to ease congestion at the border if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

Up until now, businesses have had to apply for the scheme, known as Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP). HMRC has now automatically registered 95,000 more VAT-registered businesses that import from the EU.

HMRC has announced that its scheme will make “importing after Brexit on 31 October” simpler.

Under the Benn Act, the prime minister is obliged to ask the EU for an extension if he has not negotiated a deal by 19 October. Despite this, it’s currently the government’s position that the UK will leave the EU on 31 October.

TSP arrangements will become active if the UK leaves without a deal, from the date of its departure.

Businesses under TSP will still have to check if their goods attract tariffs, and get a Duty Deferment Account if they do.

HMRC’s interim CEO, Jim Harra, said, “We are doing everything we can to help businesses get ready for Brexit on 31 October. 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.”

Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said, “At a time of change, the top priorities at the border have to be keeping trade flowing and minimising the potential for disruption.

“Automatically registering companies for TSP at the border means one less immediate demand on traders’ limited time and resources in the unwanted event of a no-deal exit.

“In particular, it would help the thousands of UK firms who import from the EU but have little experience of dealing with customs processes. We are pleased that ministers have again listened to BCC’s calls to reduce the number of administrative hoops businesses will need to jump through as they navigate major changes to the way they trade across borders,” he added.