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Using Simplified Declarations to Import Goods

In some cases, you can get authorisation to make a 'simplified declaration' and ease the process when imported goods arrive at one of the UK ports or airports. The information in this help guide explains how to apply to use simplified declarations for imports into the United Kingdom.

Authorisation to Use Simplified Declarations

Getting authorisation to use simplified declaration procedures means you can enter goods to free circulation and special procedures for:

  • Inward processing
  • Outward processing
  • Authorised use
  • Temporary admission
  • Customs warehousing

note:You should always check if you need to declare your goods brought into or taken out of the United Kingdom.

Goods Brought in from EU Before 1st of January 2022

What if your goods are not controlled and you will be bringing them into Great Britain from the European Union (EU) before the 1st of January deadline in 2022? If so, check to see if you can:

  • Create a supplementary declaration (and delay it for up to twenty five weeks later).
  • Enter the goods in your records to declare them without getting advance authorisation.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) offers further guidance about delaying declarations for EU goods brought into Great Britain (e.g. up to 175 days) and how to declare goods in the records without having authorisation.

Supplementary Declarations Using Aggregation

Completing your supplementary declarations for imports using aggregation (e.g. combined data) means you can group certain items together (e.g. those that have the same supplier, recipient, and commodity code).

Making fewer supplementary declarations will be the main advantage, and it also helps to remove goods from a customs warehouse when they have identical data. Authorisation to aggregate items can be set out across one single day or up to a maximum of ten (10) days.

How to Use Simplified Declarations

  1. Check whether you can make a simplified frontier declaration for the goods and then submit it to the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system or subscribe to the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).
  2. Submit the supplementary declaration ‘electronically’ to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
  3. Submit the Final Supplementary Declaration no later than the fourth working day of the month after the reporting period of the due date for the supplementary declarations.

Note: You cannot use simplified declaration procedures if your goods have been entered into a special procedure using the process of authorisation by declaration.

Using Entry into the Declarant’s Records

  1. Check whether you can declare imported goods to customs by entering them into your own records. If so, you will be able to clear the goods into free circulation.
  2. Submit your supplementary declaration.
  3. Submit your Final Supplementary Declaration.

Note: The main section has more information on the rules and regulations for importing goods into Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Acting as a Third-Party Representative

You may prefer to hire a person or business to deal with customs on your behalf. If so, you must decide whether the third-party representative will be acting for you as an ‘indirect’ or ‘direct’ representative.

They need to use indirect representation for clients who are not established in the United Kingdom. But, indirect representatives cannot use their own simplified procedure authorisation to submit the declaration to any special procedure authorisations.

As long as the client is established in the UK for customs, they can use an authorised direct representative for goods imported into Great Britain. But, to import goods using simplified declarations, you are going to need:

  • An Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI number) and have authorisation from HMRC to use it.
  • Access to approved computer software that supports Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) to communicate with CHIEF or the Customs Declaration Service for submissions.
  • Confirmation about the type of CHIEF badge (your software supplier or representative should be able to confirm it).
  • To agree to let HMRC test the system you are using to make sure it can communicate with CHIEF or the CDS.
  • A duty deferment account (e.g. to delay paying customs charges).

Note: Authorised direct and indirect representatives can use deferments held by their client for payment, as long as they have permission to do so.

Who Can Apply to Become Authorised?

To get authorisation to use simplified declarations for your imports, you will need to be established in the United Kingdom, have no record of any serious criminal offences relating to your business operations, and:

  • Have no issues with your customs compliance record (based on the last 3 years), VAT returns, and payments made through your duty deferment account.
  • Keep accurate and up-to-date records of all declarations made for a period of at least four (4) years after submission dates (and make them available to customs if requested).
  • Provide a document detailing your Customs Procedures (C&E48), with information about your experience and qualifications in customs matters and who will be responsible for making your declarations.

Making Customs Declarations to HMRC

Apply to Get Authorisation Yourself

You can apply for authorisation yourself and still use a direct representative. The customs agents would be able to make simplified declarations and submit your supplementary declarations on your behalf.

Even so, anyone who makes declarations on your behalf (and holds relevant records) would need to make them available for inspection by HM Revenue and Customs (upon request).

Responsibility for VAT and Customs Duty Payments

You can appoint someone to act directly or indirectly (e.g. in their own name). But, the method you choose will determine who has the responsibility for customs debt (e.g. duty payments and Value Added Tax).

Important: Any declarations made on your behalf (including the appropriate records) must be available at your premises.

Related Help Guides

Note: This short video explains how the new HMRC trader tool is useful for anyone trading with Europe from January 2021 to check whether it is possible to delay customs payments and declarations.

Applying to Use Simplified Declarations for Importation