Customs warehousing is like implementing a free port at your premises and delaying or removing the need to pay customs duties. At Barbourne Brook we can help you complete the application process for getting a customs warehouse in place in order to provide you with savings on VAT, HMRC or any additional affiliated charges.

Customs warehousing process provides the following benefits:

Negates the need to pay customs duty on goods imported, stored, and subsequently exported from the UK. Brexit creates a significant demand for a customs warehouse in order to avoid double customs duties on overseas imports where companies make sales to both the UK and EU. This can considerably aid your business in reducing or minimising HMRC payments while still meeting their customs requirements. 

Reduced customs declaration charges, as the customs agents make simplified declarations with limited data sets. The customs warehousing software automatically populates the complete customs declarations helping make the application process faster and more streamlined.

Greater control of customs declarations and reporting to support more comprehensive customs compliance

Cashflow advantages from delaying the customs duty tax point from the time of import to the time of release from the customs warehouse.

Greater flexibility on the application of quotas and licensing.

Enabling inspection of goods and ensuring no duty is incurred on rejects or lower duty on goods subject to repair.

Many companies use Customs warehousing in conjunction with other customs planning. For example, you can only carry out simple processes in a customs warehouse, so businesses often apply for Inward Processing to create a virtual free port thereby saving money on VAT and HMRC charges as well as giving themselves the freedom to freely import and export their goods as they see fit. 

Application Process

Customs warehousing requires prior authorisation from HMRC and your business taking on additional compliance obligations. The application process typically takes 6-9 months meaning that it should be undertaken with an element of forethought and preparation and should include:

  • Review your current operations to ensure:
    • Meeting of the underlying conditions of customs warehousing, including financial solvency, being established in the UK, having appropriate systems, having a good tax compliance history, etc.

    • All master data (mss) (customs classifications, origins, and customs values are correct), negating the risk of Garbage in Garbage out with the new system. HMRC will require a significant portion of this data during the application process and it is important that you have this present. 

    • The business case still makes sense if changes in your master data impact your customs duty costs and, therefore, any savings on fees or charges that you may attain along the way. 

  • Fixing any compliance issues from the review provided by HMRC.  

  • Determining the most appropriate customs warehousing configuration for your business, including whether to outsource operations or bring them in-house, the choice of partners or Duty Management Software, which options to select (e.g., common stocking) to optimise any savings on charges and reduce the complexity of the HMRC compliance process. 

  • Complete the necessary application forms and questionnaires in order to streamline any HMRC checks. 

  • Build the customs warehousing operating systems, mapping data-flows, interfacing the commercial and customs systems, etc.

  • Draft the necessary document landscape, including audit trails, control of master data, transaction flows, working instructions etc. A good portion of these documents may be needed during the HMRC application process and it is therefore recommended that you have them on hand. 

  • Managing HMRC involvement through the process, addressing initial questions on the application, addressing points coming out of their application audit, and reviewing any authorisation to ensure it conforms with what you applied for.  By, carrying out these checks, you ensure that you avoid any extra charges from HMRC during the verification progress and ensure customs warehousing is available to you at the earliest opportunity.

  • Training staff to operate the customs warehouse and ancillary compliance obligations coming out of the authorisation, including spotting errors, managing business and regulatory changes, etc.

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How we can Help

At Barbourne Brook we have a plethora of experience implementing customs warehousing and have aided numerous clients in attaining customs warehousing through our application services. We ensure that by working with us, you avoid any common mistakes during the process helping to speed up the general verification process while also avoiding any surprise charges, while also mitigating any disruption to you or your business during the implementation process. 

Our wealth of experience and deep knowledge of customs regulations and best practices ensure you end up with the best solution for your business that maximises savings and minimises the risk of incurring surprise fees or charges. 

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We are on-hand to help with all of your customs need. Provide us with some details on your circumstances and one of our friendly experts will be in touch to provide support and advice.