The Chancellor is expected to set out plans for a new customs regime built on cutting red-tape and simplifying admin processes at today’s Spring Budget.
Jeremy Hunt is expected to take full advantage of the UK’s post-Brexit freedoms to make things easier for the UK’s 363,000 international traders, freeing up businesses to spend more time doing business and less time on paperwork, boosting economic growth – a key government priority.
While a member of the Customs Union the UK had to stick to rules laid down by the EU. Now though the government has the freedom to tailor the customs system to meet the needs of British business.
The expected reforms include giving traders more time to submit forms after border crossings, making it easier to complete the customs process away from the UK’s borders and reducing admin burdens for business.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, said:
“A simpler tax and customs system lets businesses focus on what they do best – creating wealth and generating economic growth – instead of getting tied up in red tape.
“Post-Brexit freedoms offer an outstanding opportunity for us to do this and I want to make sure we take full advantage of them.”
The UK is a world-leading exporter. Its trade was worth more than £810 billion last year, up almost a quarter on the year before. The Chancellor’s expected customs reforms are expected to build on that, making use of the freedom over its custom systems, which leaving the EU has brought the UK.
The Chancellor’s Budget package will see the introduction of reforms designed to streamline customs and excise authorisations, making it easier for UK traders to access simplified processes for bringing goods into the UK.
Traders will now be able to do more with fewer authorisations, reducing the number from 42 to five. Each of the five will cover several functions which currently require separate applications.
In addition, the government is giving traders more time to submit declarations after crossing the border; they will have six more days to submit their supplementary declarations.
At present, traders have to submit them on the fourth working day of the month, in future they can submit them on the 10th calendar day of the month. This will make it easier to group these declarations together on a monthly basis, which is not possible at present, cutting the amount of paperwork required.
The government is also reviewing opportunities to simplify customs declarations to free up time for firms, allowing them to focus on what matters to them most, growing their business.
The Chancellor will consult to set new voluntary standards for the experts who handle customs issues for traders, known known as customs intermediaries.
The package will also feature plans to further liberalise the requirement to hold a financial guarantee– which sees firms put up collateral to cover customs debts – enabling more traders to access customs authorisations without a financial guarantee.
The current system means if some traders want to pay their customs debt to HMRC later, they have to get a guarantee from a bank, costing them extra money. In future, we want more traders to be able to manage their cash, without needing such a guarantee, ultimately saving them money.