For many online retailers, the United Kingdom (GB) is one of the most important and largest foreign markets. Until 31.12.2020 nothing will change for merchants - but after that!

This applies to online merchants who ship their products directly to the UK and also to those who participate in the Pan-EU program of Amazon , for example.

As of 01.01.2021, GB will finally become a third country from the point of view of turnover tax and customs law after a long transitional phase. In this one-hour webinar, our partner Francine Dammholz from Zollcoaching explained what to look out for in order to avoid customs problems.

You can watch the recording from 9 October 2020 here.

Recording of the webinar Brexit & Customs from 9 October 2020

Summary of the most important points

What will change in trade with the United Kingdom (UK) from 2021?

  • Trade until 31.12.2020: Until now, there has been a single European market, i.e. no customs duties among the member states and no further trade barriers.
  • Trade from 01.01.2021: Whether a trade agreement is reached or not, the UK is from now on a so-called third country. All goods imports and exports must now be cleared through customs. Even if a trade has been decided.
  • Imports of goods from the UK into the EU follow the same processes as imports of goods from any other non-EU country, such as China.
  • When goods are exported, export declarations must be submitted to customs. In principle electronically, unless the consignment has a value of up to 1,000 € or 1,000 kg. In this case oral declarations are also permitted.

Do I need to have a registered office in the UK to import goods?

  • No, but the customs agent/freight forwarder must be established in Great Britain or Northern Ireland to be able to represent.
  • Our partner Francine Dammholz will be happy to recommend reliable service providers to you, with whom she herself works in a trustworthy manner. Just contact us via this contact form.

What customs risks are to be expected?

  • In the case of direct deliveries, e.g. from China to the UK: high customs risks are to be expected here. The question arises as to what is the relevant purchase transaction to the UK here, if the goods have been taken to a warehouse and have not yet been sold to the end customer. Other risks are associated with customs-compliant accounting and the commissioning of goods.
  • For deliveries via the EU, e.g. from China via the EU to the UK: Significantly lower customs risks. The problem here is the possible double customs clearance (when importing from China and importing into the UK). However, several solutions can be found quickly, for example the use of a bonded warehouse.

What do I have to prepare now at the latest to avoid a customs chaos?

  1. Request a British EORI.
  2. Review authorisations already granted. These remain valid if they have not been issued to a British EORI number.
  3. Appoint a representative in the UK to make customs declarations.
  4. Have British customs tariff numbers bindingly determined so as not to risk incorrect customs duties or delayed deliveries.
  5. Clarify import processes and, if necessary, obtain customs authorisations in order to avoid the risk of double customs clearance.
Note: Preparations for Brexit should be started now at the latest in order to avoid customs chaos from 2021. Some considerable waiting times for applications and customs permits are already to be expected.

Our partner Francine Dammholz supports you in all 5 listed preparation steps and offers Taxdoo customers a non-binding Brexit analysis meeting.

Simply arrange your individual meeting here.

Francine dam wood

Diploma in Finance/ Business Law LL.M / Managing Director

Francine is a commercial lawyer, former customs officer and nationwide expert on the subject of goods imports. Her mission is to help otherwise excellently positioned companies to unknowingly burn a lot of money when importing goods and to expose themselves to liability risks that they are not even aware of. For this reason she founded her company Zollcoaching.

Francine Dammholz, founder of Zollcoaching

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