Good Customs Clearing

The 13 Secrets of Good Customs Clearing

The 13 Secrets of Good Customs Clearing


1. For Shippers or Importers … include your full name and address.

Avoid misdirection and delivery. It might seem obvious, but there are many shippers who pay so much for their goods to be transported only to have them lost in transit because of inadequate or incomplete addresses of where the goods are going to and from whom they have come.

2. For Shippers or Importers … include your VAT number or tax number.

Wherever possible, especially for commercial shippers, it is vital that they include the shipper and recipient’s VAT or sales tax numbers on all the documents accompanying their shipments.

3. Use a Deferment Number (DAN) if available.

This refers to a bond or money lodged with HMRC in relation to all taxes due on imports or exports. More often than not it is mainly used by importers and exporters for purpose of ease. Although very few exporters pay taxes on their goods from the UK, there are occasions where HMRC requires the deposit and deferment account details before the goods are discharged at destination properly.

4. Provide us with written ’ONE-OFF’ authority by fax or letter, or a general authorisation using form C1207N.

A written- instruction is required if the importer or exporter has their own deferment account. The advantage of having your own deferment account is that it will save your agent charging the customer a deferment fee and will expedite the clearance of goods through customs.

5. Provide the exporter’s full name and address

As mentioned above, it important that shippers provide the accurate name, address and telephone numbers of exporters and importers on all documents, and packages.

6. Provide vehicle registration number (if applicable)

This is particularly useful when arranging collections and deliveries of consignments from depots. Providing the correct registration number minimises delays and errors. 

7. Provide port and date details with time of arrival in the United Kingdom

Ports of exit and destinations, including dates, must be included on all paperwork, the original Bills of Lading or the Seaway Bill relating to the consignments.

8. Provide the number, type of packages and cargo value

Documents identifying the number of packages, their description and value must always accompany the shipments.

9. Provide the types of goods (including full tariff classification if possible)

It is important that descriptions of goods being shipped are provided along with the correct classification codes. It is the responsibility of the shippers to provide these. A reputable and responsible shipping agent will do this on the customers’ behalf.

10. State the exact net and gross weight of the cargo

Shipments are charged according to their gross weight or weight measure, whichever is the greater. It is essential that the shipper is aware of this before requesting quotations.

11. Provide incoterm confirmation

Delivery terms are important in international trade to importers and exporters. It is important the terms are negotiated before payment is made.

12. Confirm country of origin

The country of the exporter and importer must be identifiable on all accompanying documents and consignments.

13. Include details of any Preference Certificates (eg EUR)

The UK is a member of many international trade associations and as a result there are several bilateral trade agreements in place with various countries. It is important that exporters and importers identify which of their trading partners provide Preference Certificates in order that they can benefit from either reduced, or in some cases, zero rated import and export taxes.

Also provide details of any specially agreed HM Customs procedures (eg Invalid Process Relief).There are occasions when the goods that have been purchased have to be re-exported for maintenance, repair or to be configured.  In this case you will require the IPR/OPR number provided by HMRC.

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