UK customs representation legislation has now changed
But the changes regarding customs agents are hard to spot 

At the beginning of this year the rules concerning the role of customs agents in the UK changed when the European Union (EU) Union Customs Code (UCC) was scrapped in this country in favour of the newly independent United Kingdom’s Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act (TCTA 2018). Yet although this development marks a significant change for UK based traders, as well as for customs agents such as Aerona, in many respects certainly from a practical point of view, not much has actually changed. 

Just compare the two pieces of legislation. 

The UCC states:
Any person may appoint a customs representative.This representation may be direct, meaning that customs representatives (or customs agents) may act in the name of and on behalf of another person. Alternatively they may act indirectly in their own name but still on behalf of the other person.  

The recently applied TCTA 2018 (Section 21) replaces the UCC and stipulates:
A person (the principal) may appoint any other person (customs agents such as Aerona) to act on the principal’s behalf.
The customs agents are empowered to make customs declarations in the name of the principal and can act as a ‘direct agent’. 
Alternatively the customs agents may make customs declarations in their own name (which means the customs agents then act as an indirect agent).

As you can see, there is not a great deal of difference between the two statements. Especially important is the fact that distinction between direct and indirect representation has been retained and the new TCTA 2018 Act carries the same implications as the now outdated UCC. 

The main point to be aware of however, is that if you appoint customs agents (or withdraw them) this must be disclosed to HMRC in accordance with the new regulations. Remember though, any actions undertaken by the customs agents are regarded as actions taken by the principal and not the customs agents. 

As you will appreciate, the implications resulting from these statements are especially important. Customs agents must be able to prove that they are properly appointed by the principal. Failure to confirm this appointment to the HMRC means the principal will be jointly and severally liable to import duties to import duties. 

Of course this is only a very brief outline of both the principal’s and the customs agents responsibilities under the TCTA 2018 Act so it is especially important (in fact it is crucial) that if you are a trader involved in either or both import and export activities and if you are based in the territory of the UK, then you must make yourself fully aware of all the implications.  

Fortunately that is where Aerona (Air & Sea) Customs Clearing Agents is able to help. As one of the UK’s most experienced customs agents, assisting people and businesses to facilitate their import and export activities on a worldwide basis, we are in a perfect position to provide all the help and advice you may require. 

It is still yet early days and there is still a degree of confusion as to how the new Brexit arrangements will affect both import and export operations. If you would like to discuss your own situation then please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be only too happy to provide the professional assistance you may be looking for. 

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