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If your trading activities include imports, exports or both, you could at anytime be subject to a customs audit.

UK importers or exporters that trade with countries outside the EU are subject to audit by HMRC in respect of their transactions.  The main purpose of the audit is to target under-declarations of duty, import VAT and other irregularities.   

Under the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, UK importers or exporters will be required to submit customs declarations for their activity with the EU as well as the rest of the world. All UK businesses must have procedures to establish the correct data for import and export declarations. They are expected to have competent, skilled and educated staff undertaking customs and international trade activities.

Our provider can offer consultancy and pre audit support.  We can help you to implement any strengthening of procedures which may be required, and assist you in negotiating with HMRC where necessary.

Some of the main areas of compliance regarding customs declarations are -

•    incorrect calculations on import customs declarations
•    tariff classification (ie commodity codes)
•    valuation of goods at import and export
•    declarations of origin of the goods
•    issuing preference statements and/or claiming preferential duty at import
•    the use of customs special procedures, such as inward and outward processing
•    sufficient evidence of export to support zero-rating supplies under the VAT regulations
•    Inaccurate export declarations for export licence controlled goods

Revenue assumes that all customs declarations submitted contain the correct information. As misdeclarations are possible, it is necessary to validate a selection of declarations by audit to confirm compliance.

If a business cannot satisfy customs that they meet the compliance criteria then:

•    any underpaid customs duty and Import VAT will be demanded, going back 3 years
•    customs civil penalties may be levied
•    there may be supply chain delays due to increased inspections
•    certain customs simplifications and duty relief benefits may be withdrawn or not authorised

If an error is made with intent to defraud HMRC then these are criminal offences subject, ultimately, to criminal investigations and prison sentences.


Our Providers: Chadwick’s have a long history of providing consultation to companies in communicating with HMRC, DIT, Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) and UK Border Force. We have significant experience helping both large global corporations as well as small local businesses, across a wide spectrum of industry sectors.

They are large enough to cope but small enough to care.