Detailed guide: Declare your imports using transitional simplified procedures

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When you import goods into the UK from the EU under transitional simplified procedures there are 2 stages to making a declaration.

The first stage of the declaration will depend on the type of goods you’re importing and which procedure you’re using:

  • for controlled goods, you’ll need to submit a simplified frontier declaration to clear the goods from the border
  • for standard goods, you can make an entry into your own records

For the second stage of the declaration you’ll need to submit a supplementary declaration (a more detailed declaration) for all goods, controlled and standard, after your goods have crossed the border.

HMRC uses the declarations to work out the amount of duty and taxes you owe. You can use a third party to submit declarations for you, but you’ll still be responsible for paying.

What you’ll need to submit your supplementary declaration

You’ll need:

If you’re not using a third party, you’ll also need to get software. This is so you can submit the declaration electronically to HMRC’s systems.

You will also need to use the UK trade tariff to help you complete declarations.

How to submit supplementary declarations

If you’re not using someone else, like a customs agent or freight forwarder, you’ll need to submit your supplementary declarations using the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system (CHIEF).

Find out how to get access to CHIEF if you’re importing goods using transitional simplified procedures.

Combining supplementary declarations

You can submit fewer supplementary declarations by combining imports with the same header and item level data into a single, combined supplementary declaration.

You can submit combined supplementary declarations where the following information is the same:

  • declaration type (all transitional simplified procedure declarations will be imports)
  • deferment account number
  • importer number and EORI number that starts with GB
  • representative (if you’re using multiple agents to make declarations on your behalf, there must be one declaration for each representative)
  • delivery terms
  • country of destination (this will always be the UK)
  • country of dispatch
  • location of goods (this will usually be the delivery address)

You can combine item information on a single line in the combined supplementary declaration. To do this, the following information about the goods must be the same:

  • Customs Procedure Code (we’ll tell you which code to use)
  • Commodity Code
  • description of goods
  • exporter number and EORI number (the goods must be from one supplier)
  • details used in the calculation of the Customs Duty – tax type, method of calculation, currency
  • item price
  • customs valuation method
  • country of origin
  • supplementary units (type of unit, like boxes, items, litres)

After you submit your declaration

When HMRC accepts your supplementary declaration, we’ll tell you how much you owe in duties and import VAT.

We will take payment of duties (and import VAT if you’re not registered for VAT) from your duty deferment account in the same month that your supplementary declaration is submitted. We’ll take the payment on the:

  • fifteenth day of the month for customs duties and import VAT
  • twenty-ninth day of the month for excise duties

For declarations submitted to CHIEF, you’ll also need to submit a final supplementary declaration by the fourth working day of the month following each reporting period.

Include the number of supplementary declarations that are:

  • due for that reporting period
  • finalised
  • late from the previous reporting period

Importing EU goods under the Common Transit Convention

You can use transitional simplified procedures if you’re importing EU goods under the Common Transit Convention. You should end the movement of the goods at the premises of an authorised consignee.

The process for this will depend on whether they’re:

Using third parties

There are third parties that can help with the customs process and movement of your goods, these are:

  • freight forwarders
  • customs agents or brokers

Freight forwarders

Freight forwarding is a service that involves moving goods around the world for importers and exporters. A freight forwarder will arrange customs clearance of goods crossing the frontier and they’ll have the right software to communicate with HMRC’s systems.

There’s more about this on the British International Freight Association and Institute of Export websites.

Customs agents and brokers

Customs agents and brokers make sure that your goods clear through customs on their way to the final place of delivery in the UK.

A customs agent or broker will act as a direct representative.

Software providers

Software providers offer software that lets you submit customs declarations electronically to HMRC’s systems.

For general help, contact HMRC.

For help with tariff classification, you can ask HMRC for advice.

More information

Find out how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

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