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Sunday 24th March 2024 – Customs Declaration System Goes Live in Northern Ireland

Experts in International Trade

24th March is another big day for trade to and from Northern Ireland. This is the day that the Trader Support Service (TSS) will start feeding through to the Customs Declaration System (CDS). CDS will then calculate if you need to pay any EU duty or UK duty on your trade. If you were hoping that things would get more straightforward, or simpler with this development, you may well be disappointed.

Looking at the guidance is rather like trying to find your way through a jungle of acronyms.

For instance, one simple route might be to get your XI EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification for moving goods to Northern Ireland) number, decide if your goods are NIREM (‘Not at risk’ of going into Europe) and then make sure you have your UKIMS (UK Internal Markets Scheme) authorisation, and you could be ready to input all your details to TSS!

It’s not surprising that here at Exporter Services we have been receiving more enquiries from Northern Irish businesses trying to make sense of the scheme in relation to their individual business circumstances.

In this article, we aim to help you recognise the main questions that you need to ask yourself about your business and trading requirements and point out where to start looking to find the answers so you can navigate the new requirements. If you’re in any doubt, give us a call and we’ll endeavour to sort it out for you.

To begin with it helps to know the applicable rate of duty in the UK and EU for importing your goods. If it is zero or the UK rate is larger than the EU rate, then you will pay nothing or the UK rate. In this case you do not need to declare NIREM. If your goods are at risk of going to the EU then you will be charged the relevant EU duty by CDS.

Without evidenced approval, any applicable EU duties will become due. Other duty-saving measures are available, such as under the Duty Reimbursement Scheme, if the appropriate compliance evidence is available.

There are changes If your goods are ‘not at risk’ of going to the EU and you want to use the associated NIREM code to indicate this on your documentation. In order to use the NIREM code from 24th March you need a UKIMS authorisation letter. Once you upload your authorisation letter onto TSS it will add your UKIMS authorisation number to your declaration.

Sue Wright, Exporter Services Managing Director, commented, “These changes will have significant impact on some businesses importing into Northern Ireland. This system aligns the province with the rest of the UK using CDS and people will begin to feel the financial implications of the Northern Ireland Protocol and new long term trading requirements with Europe. It’s requiring quite a bit of work for many businesses to find the right documentation path for their imports to Northern Ireland.”

If your goods are not covered by UKIMS you are no longer able to use the NIREM code. You now need to establish if you can claim other preferences or relief to reduce your customs duty charges. You may be eligible for a customs duty waiver under ‘de minimis state aid’ see here for details.

Alternatively, you may be able to apply for the Duty Reimbursement Scheme for EU duty paid on goods brought into Northern Ireland, see here for details.

There is also an online checking tool to see what duty you need to pay for bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

Further details of help and support can be found at the Northern Ireland Customs Trade Academy.

Or contact us via our helpdesk at Exporter Services on either 02895 320818 or 0115 7270018, or via the chat function on our website

And finally, if you should need a jargon or acronym buster try the search function on here.

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