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How to import goods into the UK

How to import goods into the UK

Robert Macdonald

If you are new to the import process the following beginners check list will provide you with what you need to do:

•    You need an EORI number that starts with GB to import goods into England, Wales or Scotland. You will need a new one if you have an EORI that does not start with GB.

•    The business sending you the goods may need to make an export declaration in their country or secure licences or certificates to send goods to the UK.

•    You can hire someone to deal with customs and transport the goods for you, or you can do it yourself. Most businesses that import goods use a transporter or customs agent.

•    If the UK has a trade agreement with the country you are importing from, you may be able to pay less duty or no duty on the goods (known as a 'preferential rate').

•    If you have appointed someone to deal with UK customs for you, they will make the declaration and get your goods through the UK border.

If you do not have experience dealing with cross-border transactions, appointing a customs agent or similar organisation would be a practical option unless the value and frequency of your imports is unlikely to be significant.

There is additional detailed information available on the GOV.UK website.

Please also be aware of the Postponed VAT Accounting rules introduced for businesses importing into the UK. Postponed VAT accounting is where the importer does not pay import VAT when goods arrive at a port or airport, instead the VAT is deferred. For a business that is registered for VAT in the UK, it will be able to account for import VAT on VAT returns for all goods imported from any country in the world.

For more advice, please contact your local Moore (South) office for advice on this matter.