Purpose: Prepare your business for shipping to the EU from 1 January 2021.
Summary of shipping requirements from 1 January 2021
- Customs declarations are required for movement of goods between Great Britain and the European Union. including Commercial and Pro-Forma Invoices.
- Due to the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), in most cases you will not have to pay additional customs duties as a zero tariff has been confirmed for goods sent between the UK and the EU.
- To ensure you benefit from the zero tariff agreement, you must provide evidence of Country of Origin for your goods.
- You will be liable for the cost of VAT on goods which are valued at £135 or less. For this you will have to register with HMRC for a UK VAT number.
- A three month, temporary approach to applying declaration requirements for parcels moved
by express carriers from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is in place. This will enable parcels to continue to move as they do now in most cases until 31 March 2021.
- Make sure you have an EORI number for export to the United Kingdom, and have saved this in your Sendcloud sender address. More details on this below.
- Are you sending products with a value of less than £135? You (the sender) are required to register with HMRC. More details below.
- Make sure you understand the customs documentation necessary for exporting from the UK.
- Check if your products qualify for zero tariff. We suggest reaching out to your local Chambers of Commerce for advice on any specific paperwork required for your products – they can produce Certificates of Origin (COO) or ATA Carnets, etc.
- Read our Brexit FAQ.
- Keep up to date on current carrier disruptions due to Brexit.
1. Apply for an EORI number
Every business moving goods between the UK and the EU will require an EORI number starting with GB. An Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number (EORI) is 12-digits long and begins with the country code of your registered country.
To apply for an EORI number for a UK business, go here.
Once you have obtained your EORI number, it's essential you include it in your Sendcloud account details. This will ensure that all of your customs declarations contain your EORI number when created through Sendcloud.
To add your EORI number, log in to your Sendcloud account and go to Settings > Addresses. Fill it in the appropriate field and press Save. For more help, see our dedicated article.
2. Understand the required documentation
While the UK was part of the EU, it was not required to declare goods at the customs border when importing and exporting. You are now be required to present customs documents for all of your shipments outside of the UK, even though the agreement refers to 'zero tariffs.'
In some cases customs duties may not be applied to goods which fulfil all necessary "rules of origin" requirements. However, VAT will still be levied.
You will need to submit either a CN22, CN23 or commercial invoice for your shipments depending on your chosen shipping carrier and the weight and value of your products. If you are exporting items that require a license you need to include a C and E83A ‘Exported by post under HMRC Control’ label.
For more information on how to create customs declarations through Sendcloud, see our designated article.
3. Check your VAT process
When goods are exported into the UK from any country worldwide, they are liable for VAT. Most shipments with a value higher than £135 will attract VAT. You must ensure your VAT number is present on all documentation necessary for crossing the border. You can do this by adding your VAT number to your Sendcloud account details. Click here to see how.
For shipments with a value of £0- £135 sold to consumers in the UK, VAT must be collected at the point of sale and is therefore the seller's responsibility. The VAT paid by the buyer must be stated on the invoice.
Apply for VAT number in the UK
If you are supplying goods to UK customers, or delivering under the Incoterm DDP (Delivered Duty Paid). you need to register for a UK VAT number and supply this on all of your documentation. On the website of the UK government you can read more about the payment of VAT.
4. Rules of Origin requirements
In order to benefit from the 'zero tariff' agreement (0% customs duty), you must provide evidence of the country of origin.
- Check if your products comply with the agreed Rules of Origin Chapter 2 of the Agreement, along with product specific Rules of Origin in the Annex. The Agreement can be found here.
- When you ship a parcel and want to qualify for zero tariff at the time of import/export, you must include a proof of origin statement on the Commercial or Proforma invoice.
If you do not provide this documentation you may be liable to pay customs duties.
- For UK > EU shipments: the origin statement on the invoice can be made out to any exporter who has a GB EORI number. This must be included in the statement regardless of the value of the goods.
- For EU > UK shipments: the statement can be made out to any exporter where the value of the goods is 6,000 EUR or less. Above this amount the EU expo0rter must have a REX number and include it in the statement.
- Identify the HS commodity code for your products so you can have it stated on your customs documentation.
It is required to use the following text on the origin statement on the invoice:
The exporter of the products covered by this document (Exporter Reference No. (REX or GB EORI number)) declares that, except
where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of ....... preferential origin.
(Place and date)*
(Name of the exporter)
*Can be excluded if this information is already contained in the document itself
For more information please read the documentation and guides available from GOV.UK:
How to Import/Export to/from UK, EORI Registration, Duty/VAT, Customs Declaration