Monday, June 7, 2021

Stern Warning for Freight Forwarding Agents Over the Danger of Brexit Customs Procedures

Beware the Incautious Importer as Deadline for Delayed Declarations Looms
Shipping News Feature

UK – Brexit, the headache that persists for many traders and agents. Since leaving the EU British businesses have fought the difficulties which come with changes to import and export procedures, mitigated only by the guidance and sage advice offered by the freight and logistics Associations which support the industry.

With yet another deadline looming, 25 June for importers that have taken advantage of *HMRC’s Delayed Declaration Scheme from the beginning of the year, comes a stern warning from the British International Freight Association (BIFA) advising its freight forwarding members to be very careful with any business that they are offered from traders that have utilised the scheme.

Any such businesses that have not taken out a CFSP authorisation in their own right and are now trying to find a Customs Agent to undertake the work required to complete the process, may well mean potential problems for the agent concerned, as BIFA Director General, Robert Keen explains:

“We are reminding members that if they take on this work, it is their CFSP authorisation being used and they may have to pay any duties and VAT on behalf of the importer. So, it is essential that they ensure that their customers’ paperwork is in order and completely accurate, and if it is not, our advice is to not accept the responsibility.

“Whilst the Government has extended the scheme to defer declarations to 31 December 2021 on a rolling basis, it is important that any BIFA members undertaking this work on an importer’s behalf remains vigilant and ensure that they have all the information required to make an accurate supplementary declaration and that they don’t miss the first and subsequent deadlines.

“Any mistakes could be costly as, despite the ability to use direct representation, the authorised agent is still considered to be the owner of the procedure and responsible for a timely submission of correct declarations.

“Finally as payment will need to be made against the Deferment Account of the CFSP authorisation, we are reminding our members to consider the impact of potentially large sums that become due and the ability of the client to meet their obligations.”

* The UK Government introduced the Delayed Declarations scheme following the end of the Brexit transition period, giving businesses importing into the UK up to 175 days to complete their customs declarations. Any business that took advantage of this opportunity at the start of January this year, now has a deadline of June 25th (or 175 days from the original import) to make the declaration.