Baker Tilly warns East Anglia’s importers to prepare for EU customs changes

Anne Holt of Baker Tilly.

Anne Holt of Baker Tilly. - Credit: Archant

East Anglia’s many ports and logistics businesses are being advised to prepare for new European Union customs duty arrangements which come into force next year.

From May 1, 2016, the current regime will be replaced by the new European Union Customs Code, under which, according to accountants Baker Tilly, importers can expect changes including an increase in the financial guarantee required.

The absence of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) accreditation may also result in additional cost, and changes are also likely in the duty liability of royalty payments and customs valuation.

Anne Holt, indirect tax partner at Baker Tilly East Anglia, said: “Given the number of ports and logistics operators across East Anglia, these changes are going to have a significant impact on many of the region’s importers.

“All importers need to take action now to identify key areas of uncertainty and to consider potential risks and opportunities. Some importers will find they will need to change the way they manage their supply chain. Others will find they will need to obtain Authorised Economic Operator authorisation.”

She added: “Careful preparation is required as our recent experiences have highlighted the significant impact on margins that any mistakes in customs duty can have on a business. This can be from incorrect valuations on products leading to a deficit of duty being paid to reliefs for rejected or returned goods not being appropriately claimed.

“Many businesses successfully use import agencies to clear goods. However, whilst diligent, the speed of clearance is usually a priority and if any customs duty is due, responsibility lies with the business. It is therefore important to review your arrangements to ensure you accurately account for customs duty.”