The April Customs Intermediaries update
You should read it at once 

We have recently received the latest Customs Intermediaries update for importing goods into the UK from the EU and other countries. So we are passing this on to you in order that you can ensure that you are fully up-to-date with the very latest requirements. This latest update from Customs Intermediaries covers ten subject areas; please make sure that you read these thoroughly so that you do not inadvertently fail to comply with the new measures. 

1.  Government’s Border Target Operating Model (TOM) 

On 5 April 2023, the government’s Border Target Operating Model (TOM) was published in draft form, setting out a new model for importing goods into the UK from countries inside and outside the EU.  
The draft has been devised following extensive engagement with the Border Industry and businesses across the UK. A six-week engagement period will now take place, with the final Target Operating Model to be published later this year.  
The UK and devolved governments, in collaboration with traders and the border industry, have developed this new model, which brings together policy and process improvement, technology and better use of data for importing goods into GB. This will introduce the best possible arrangements for those importing from the EU, and improve the experience of those importing from non-EU countries.  
The TOM proposes a new approach to security controls (applying to all imports, and certain outbound movements) and biosecurity controls (applying to imports of animals, animal products, plants and plant products).  
We will introduce full customs controls for EU and non-qualifying NI goods moving from Ireland to GB from 31‌‌‌ ‌‌October 2023. This means that arrangements will change for goods arriving into GB ports from Irish ports. We will ensure that Northern Ireland businesses will continue to have unfettered access when moving goods within the UK. 

2.  Simpler customs measures for traders announced at Spring Budget 2023 

The government has announced a package of measures to streamline and simplify customs processes for businesses. 
The changes, announced at Spring Budget 2023, reflect views from traders and the border industry gathered through the 2022 call for evidence on long term customs policy, and go further in proposing new areas for reforming the customs system.
Proposals from Spring Budget 2023 include giving traders more time to submit declarations after crossing the border, streamlining customs and excise authorisations, and consulting on voluntary standards for the customs intermediary sector.  

3.  New Computerised Transit System Phase 5 (NCTS5) updates 

HMRC is updating NCTS from phase 4 to phase 5 on 16‌‌‌ ‌‌November 2023, which is a requirement of all members of the Common Transit Convention (CTC). 
We’re issuing regular updates in this bulletin about the introduction of NCTS5, and the steps businesses can take to prepare.
In our recent updates, you can find out what you need to do if you normally pre-lodge your declarations. If you normally pre-lodge your declaration up to 30 days before the movement date, you’ll need to make sure they are released before 16‌‌‌ ‌‌November 2023, or you’ll need to raise a new declaration.  
There is also a change to how you’ll report an incident that happens during the goods journey. You will no longer need to wait until arrival at the authorised destination to notify HMRC, you will be able to report the incident at the time it happens.

4.  HMRC’s new Advanced Valuation Ruling Service 

HMRC will be introducing a new Advance Valuation Ruling Service (AVRS) in spring this year.  
This will provide traders with legal certainty on the valuation method of goods they are importing into the UK, for a period of 3 years. 
Traders do not have to use this service, but it will provide reassurance that a chosen valuation method is correct and will assist in the completion of customs declarations. 
How to prepare
Traders can already apply for Tariff and Origin rulings via existing services. To prepare for AVRS, they need to obtain the following: 
• A Government Gateway ID
• An EORI number 
To learn more about valuation, visit the 'Working out the customs value of your imported goods' guidance on GOV.‌‌‌‌UK, which details the 6 available methods. 
HMRC will provide further guidance in advance of the new service going live.

5.  New digital assistant and webchat services for classifying your goods 

HMRC has introduced a new way to help customers classify their goods. This digital assistant and webchat service is an additional channel where customers can get advice from our Tariff classification services, providing real time communication with experienced classification experts and supplementing the existing email service.  
With the same experienced team of HMRC classification specialists supporting this additional facility, customers can choose the channel that’s appropriate for them and be assured of a tailored service that suits their needs, whether that is
• Quick assistance and advice via the digital assistant and webchat tool
• Email advice that can be requested from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it._
• Legally binding rulings that can be applied for via GOV.‌‌‌UK using their Business Tax Account (BTA) credentials – 'Apply for an
  Advance Tariff Ruling

If you want to try out our new service, this can be accessed via the UK Integrated Online Tariff_. Just begin searching for your commodity code and click on the digital assistant link towards the bottom of the page when you need assistance.
The digital assistant is available 24/‌‌‌7 and routing through to the classification webchat is accessible 9.‌‌‌30am to 4.‌‌‌30pm Monday‌‌‌ ‌‌to‌‌‌ ‌‌Friday.   

6.  Rules of Origin on the trade Tariff 
We’ve recently introduced a new Rules of Origin tool. The Trade Tariff has been updated to include a richer interface to help traders determine the originating status of their products for import or export.
The tool will help identify the factors, which influence whether or not the products can be considered as originating, according to the rules of the trade agreement concerned.
To access the tool, simply go to the commodity code for your product, select the country with which you are trading and click the 'Rules of Origin' tab.
We also welcome feedback on the new Rules of Origin functionality. 

7.  Importers with no EORI 
We’ve noticed some customers who import goods but don’t have an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI), are using the CHIEF workaround code 'GBPR' when using the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) software. This workaround does not work with the CDS.
If a private individual who imports goods does not hold an EORI number, the full name and address is to be entered in place of 'GBPR'. 
A private individual will not need to subscribe to the CDS for a movement claim if the declaration concerned is submitted by a CDS subscribed individual/party such as a customs agent. 
Agents should not insert their own EORI in place of the importer EORI in these circumstances, as it cannot be removed afterwards.
8.  Abuse of import procedures for alcohol 
Criminals are trying to deceive customs agents into submitting incorrect import entries for alcohol. False or misleading information is being supplied by importers or their representatives, leading to loss of UK excise duty and VAT. Some of these importers claim to be genuine businesses whose identities have been hijacked, others are bogus firms who default on payments due to HMRC
If you are a customs agent acting for an alcohol importer you could unwittingly be helping criminals to commit alcohol fraud. This is a crime that hurts both genuine businesses and the public purse.
Please share this new information with people in your business who create import entries for alcohol. The main areas of concern are alcohol described as zero strength, low strength or subject to reliefs. The tax types to look out for:
Beers, Wines, or Spirits
• 431 (no duty charged)

Beers only
• 446 and 443 (low duty rates)
• 447 and 473 (high strength – both codes required)
Wines only
• 433 and 435 (low duty rates)
Spirits only
• Low volumes (less duty paid)
Please check the tax type used matches the alcohol being imported. If you identify a problem you should proceed with caution.
It is in your interests to check carefully who you are dealing with. Effective due diligence helps protect both business and HMRC from financial losses and disruption due to fraud. 
Further information on due diligence procedures can be found in our online guidance 'Due diligence when making customs declarations'. You can also report concerns online.  

9.  New postal address for C285 repayment of import duty and VAT 

The postal address for C285 repayment applications has changed and the form on GOV.UK has been amended to reflect the new address. 
Please make sure you’re using the updated form with the new address details, otherwise your repayment may not be processed. 

10.  Helpline Numbers 

Below is a list of helplines you may find useful to access help and support. We’ve also included links to the pages for more information about the helplines and alternative methods of contact (where available):
Animal, Plant and Health Agency (APHA) – 0300‌‌‌ ‌‌100‌‌‌ ‌‌0313
• IPAFFS general – 0300‌‌‌ ‌‌100‌‌‌ ‌‌0313
• IPAFFS technical – 0330‌‌‌ ‌‌041‌‌‌ ‌‌6999
• PEACH – 0345‌‌‌ ‌‌607‌‌‌ ‌‌3224
Department for Business and Trade 
• Public enquiries – 020‌‌‌ ‌‌07215‌‌‌ ‌‌5000
Support lines:
• England – 0800‌‌‌ ‌‌998‌‌‌ ‌‌1098
• Scotland – 0300‌‌‌ ‌‌303‌‌‌ ‌‌0660
• Wales – 0300‌‌‌ ‌‌060‌‌‌ ‌‌3000
• Northern Ireland – 0800‌‌‌ ‌‌181‌‌‌ ‌‌4422
The department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is changing. Read about recent government updates.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
rural services – 03000‌‌‌ ‌‌200‌‌‌ ‌‌301 
fish exports helpline – 0330‌‌‌ ‌‌159‌‌‌ ‌‌1989
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency 
vehicle operator licensing enquiries – 0300‌‌‌ ‌‌123‌‌‌ ‌‌9000 
international road haulage permits – 0330‌‌‌ ‌‌678‌‌‌ ‌‌1117
export support service
imports and exports general enquiries – 0300‌‌‌ ‌‌322‌‌‌ ‌‌9434 
New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) – 0300‌‌‌ ‌‌322‌‌‌ ‌‌7095 
If you think that the new Customs Intermediaries update will affect you, please speak to us and we will be delighted to discuss and assist you in any way we can. You can contact Aerona by telephoning 0161 652 3443. You could also email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or you can send us a message using the form that can be found on our Contact page.  Please remember, at Aerona we are here to help you.