How to stay on top of tax and customs

14 Jun 2016

If you’re thinking of exporting, then you’ll need to be aware of the rules around tax and customs.

Fall foul of tax or customs and you risk damaging your business or even landing in hot water with the authorities, so appoint an agent to handle compliance or get to grips with the rules yourself.

In most cases, if you’re exporting only within the European Union, there’s no need to pay tax or duty, or to complete customs documentation. You may still have to charge VAT, though, which your buyer can then reclaim. If you export to countries outside the EU, your goods must clear customs.

Check whether you need to pay import duty, excise duty and VAT, or any administrative fees to customs.

On non-EU exports, you must also complete customs documentation – you will generally need to attach a certificate of origin to your shipment, as well as a ‘commodity code’ enabling customs authorities to assess your goods. Within the EU this commodity code is all you will need.

Check with HMRC whether you need an export licence, and, if so, apply for one from the Department of Business.

Call the Export Control Organisation helpline on 0207 2154594 for more information.

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