UK’s customs brokers warned over delayed declaration scheme

By Damian Brett

The UK’s customs brokers are being warned to be very careful accepting business from traders that took advantaged of the Delayed Declaration scheme set up to help firms adjust to new ways of working following Brexit.

The scheme was set up following the end of the Brexit transition period to give businesses importing into the UK up to 175 days to complete their customs declarations, with the first of those due on June 25.

In order to submit delayed declarations, companies need to be Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) authorised.

Freight forwarder association BIFA has warned members that some importers that have not taken out a CFSP authorisation are now trying to find customs agents to undertake the work required to complete the process.

However, agents could potentially be liable for duties on any declarations they take on-board.

BIFA director general Robert Keen said: “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.”

Keen added: “Whilst the government has extended the scheme to defer declarations to December 31, 2021, on a rolling basis, it is important that any BIFA members undertaking this work on an importer’s behalf remains vigilant and ensures 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.”

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