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Duty Calls - Avoiding Customs Problems


The VAT People - Expert Author

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12th August 2013

We assist many businesses with the Customs affairs but still find that new clients are often unaware of the rather stringent requirements the EU (via HMRC) place on importers - it pays to be aware!

Although there are only a limited number of issues involved with Customs declarations, the rules surrounding those issues are very complex and many businesses are not fully aware of those rules especially when dealing with Customs Reliefs which may be applied for.

This is of concern given that the EU's approach is that if they have published something on a Customs issue then they consider that any importer affected will be aware of the issue, even when the information is hard to find for importers.

Add this to the fact that from discussions with HMRC Customs inspectors we have been told that they are increasingly having pressure put on them by the EU to adhere strictly to the rules and are not, for example, use their discretion which has previously been allowed and there is a strong message for importers to ensure that their Customs affairs are fully thought through.

Given that duty is often a sticking cost to a business; i.e. it affects bottom line as well as cash flow, it will be worth any importing business to consider how it operates to ensure it has no nasty surprises.

In view of the apparent disconnect between the complex rules and how businesses often view Customs, often leaving matters to their freight forwarder, we urge any business to act proactively in Customs matters.

About the Author

The VAT People are leading VAT and Customs Duty consultants based in the North West of England. We work with a wide range of businesses throughout the UK as well as assisting our accountancy colleagues to unravel the thorny VAT issues for their clients. We are one of the UK's largest and most comprehensive sources of VAT and Customs advice, our consultancy team having over 140 years of experience in VAT and Customs gained in either HMRC or a Big 4 accountancy practice environment.

Call us on our VAT helpline 0800 077 4604 to discuss. All initial discussions are free with no-obligation.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-08-20 13:02:34 in Tax Articles

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