Importing goods into the UK? Follow these steps to ensure your business does this efficiently (2021)

Importing goods into the UK can be a complicated and lengthy process for any business. After the UK’s departure from the European Union, the importing process has become somewhat difficult and costly but it can still be a profitable move for your own business.

Importing refers to the shipment of commodities and services from other countries, and it has numerous advantages:

  • Gaining access to better quality and non-UK products;
  • Cost-effective;
  • Become a market leader.

Before we get started with the process, you must keep in mind whether this importing process is applicable to your business first. There are many differences depending on how your business will be importing goods. For instance:

  • transporting products between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, or from the European Union to Northern Ireland;
  • obtaining products via the post;
  • bringing goods through luggage for personal use;
  • bringing goods through luggage, a vehicle for your own business;
  • bringing in temporary goods;
  • bringing goods that were previously rejected at other borders;
  • moving to the UK with personal belongings.

We have provided a simple guide on how to import commodities and services into the UK successfully and efficiently. Follow these steps to get started:

  • Prepare your company for imports and check to see if the company that is exporting to the UK is capable of doing so 
To import commodities into England, Wales, or Scotland, you'll need an EORI number that starts with GB. If your EORI doesn't begin with GB, you'll need to get a new one. 

You might need one that starts with XI if you're transporting products to or from Northern Ireland. As for the company that will be exporting commodities to the UK, they may have to make an export declaration from their own country and obtain their own license too.

  • You must choose who will file customs declarations and transport the merchandise
You have the option of hiring someone to handle customs and transportation for you, or you may do it yourself. A transporter or customs agent is used by the majority of enterprises that import goods.

  • Obtain a commodity code and calculate the value of these commodities 
The commodity code must be included in your import statement. This will decide the duty rate you must pay and whether you require an import licence. The commodity code must be included in your import statement. This is something that your customs agent or carrier may be able to assist you with as well.

You'll need to specify the worth of your products in your import declaration. This is necessary since it will assist you in calculating the amount of duty and VAT you will be required to pay.

  • Check whether you can postpone or minimise your duty payment
If the UK and the country you're importing from have a trade agreement, you might be able to pay the reduced duty or no duty on the products. This is known as a preferential rate.

  • Find out if you need a specific license or credentials to import your chosen commodities
If you're importing commodities such as animals/ animal products, high-risk food, medicine, then there are additional rules to follow and you may need to obtain licences or certificates. Please refer to the importing guide on the UK government website for the full list of goods and their rules.

  • Always check the labelling, marking, and marketing standards
You must follow all marking, labelling and marketing standards when importing plant seeds, food and manufactured commodities.

  • Get your chosen commodities through UK Customs
If you've hired someone to deal with UK customs on your behalf, they'll file the paperwork and get your products across the UK border.

  • Make sure you are VAT registered and claim VAT refund
If you're VAT registered, you can get a refund on any VAT you paid on the goods you brought in. Your Import VAT Certificate will be required (C79). Read our blog post, ‘A Simple Guide on VAT Registration’ if you would like your business to register for VAT.

  • Find out how to claim a refund for import duties 
HMRC can reimburse or remit a customs debt in certain circumstances. They can refund a portion of an import or export duty that has already been paid, or they can waive the payment of a charge that has yet to be paid.

  • Keep a record of all the commercial invoices and essential paperwork
Commercial invoices and other customs documents, including your Import VAT Certificate, must be kept on file (C79).

Importing goods can become a profitable venture for your business and we at Persona Finance are aware of how the importing process can be difficult as there are certain taxes that are required during this process. For more information on how to import commodities, please contact Persona Finance at [] or for other business and accounting queries.