The government will not extend the Brexit transition period, but the coronavirus crisis has forced a rethink on new border processes, with a new easement announced on Friday, that will allow businesses to defer customs declarations and tariff payments until July 2021.

Whilst the deadline for requesting an extension is officially 30th June, the real date on the UK side was 12th June, which passed on Friday and UK has formally confirmed that they will NOT be requesting an extension and will not agree to one should the EU request.

So, that’s it, Brexit on 31st December 2020 is guaranteed, so if any part of your Brexit preparations depend on any form of transition extension, you need to re-visit and revise immediately.

In a significant policy U-turn on Friday, Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, has accepted that businesses cannot be expected to face the prospect of disruption at the border at the end of the post-Brexit transition period.

Instead of full checks, the UK government will now introduce a temporary light-touch regime at UK ports such as Dover for incoming EU goods in three stages, under both a ‘deal’ and ‘no-deal’ scenario.

Full import controls were due to be imposed at the end of the transition period from the 1st January 2021, but the UK will now implement the new border controls in three stages up until 1st July 2021.

The EU said it would implement full checks on UK exports at the start of 2021

In response, the EU said it would implement full checks on UK exports at the start of 2021, which has the potential for causing massive disruption, with knock-on impact to inbound an outbound traffic flows. We will monitor developments closely and keep you updated on how this aspect develops.

IMPORTANT NOTE
The new easements announced by the government massively simplify the import process, but it is critical that your record-keeping processes are compliant, as things can go badly wrong if information is incomplete, incorrect or missing.

Typical declaration errors result from a lack of information, leading to a missing value or an incorrect description of goods, which could result in an incorrect tariff classification and query by HMRC.

We can create and maintain records of all imports for you, ensuring that you are HMRC compliant and maintaining an accurate record of any fiscal liability, to avoid cashflow shocks in July.

From January 2021; traders importing standard goods will need to prepare for basic customs requirements, such as keeping sufficient records of imported goods, and will have up to six months to complete customs declarations.

While tariffs will need to be paid, payments can be deferred until the customs declaration has been made and businesses will need to consider how they account for VAT on imported goods.

There will be checks on controlled goods like alcohol and tobacco.

There will also be physical checks at the point of destination, or other approved premises, on all high-risk live animals and plants.

From April; all animal products (meat, pet food, honey, milk, egg products, regulated plants and plant products) will require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation.

From July; traders will have to make declarations at the point of import and pay relevant tariffs.

Full Safety and Security declarations will be required, while for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) commodities, there will be an increase in physical checks and samples, with checks for animals, plants and their products Border Control Posts.

The government also committed to building new border facilities for carrying out checks and will build new inland sites where these checks and other activities will take place.