Instructing a UK Customs clearing agent
Whether your goods arrive via Airfreight into London Heathrow, or perhaps Birmingham or Manchester, or via Seafreight into Felixstowe, Southampton, Tilbury, Thamesport or one of the other major deep sea container ports, by whichever means or location, you will probably enlist help from the professionals. The information below outlines what you must inform your preferred Customs clearing agent / clearance broker, and also some of the usual procedures, but please remember... we at UK Import Services are Customs brokers, so why not contact our import team to see how we can help you?ukimports.org
Always use a Company which is a member of BIFA - The British International Freight Association.
We are a member of BIFA, so why not contact our Imports Team to see how we can assist you. ukimports.org
*What is a Pseudo TURN? (Taken from Public Notice 553)
A Pseudo TURN is a 9-digit number issued for use on goods imported for trade purposes, e.g. resale, commercial use etc., when the importer/exporter is not VAT registered. Although it appears in the same format as a VAT registration number, it is not a VAT number. A Pseudo TURN is required when you are making any / all commercial Imports.
If you require a Pseudo TURN, then you can apply electronically via the Customs website: Click here to complete the online application form, or an application form or for a Form that you can print off, please see our 'Customs Forms' page and select the Form C220A. Alternatively you can speak to a member of our imports team, who will be happy to assist you.
Please note that applications for Pseudo TURNs used to take approx. 4 working days, whilst applications for full VAT numbers are currently taking up to 16 weeks to process. Electronic applications may be quicker, but please ensure that you take this time-frame into consideration. ukimports.org
This can either be found on the Europe Taric Website, via the 'Links’ page, or by calling the Classification Helpline on: (T) +44 (0) 1702 366 077.
Once again, if you need help with this, then please feel free to contact a member of our imports team . ukimports.org
If you have had documentation raised by the shipper, for your goods, under any of the global trade agreements, such as: Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), EUR1 etc. Or perhaps you feel that the circumstances surrounding the importation of your goods make your eligible for relief, for example: Personal Effects, Temporary Importation, EC Return Goods, Diplomatic Immunity etc., then please ensure that you mention this to your clearing agent before they make the Customs declaration/entry on your behalf. Post amendments and reclaims can be done, but there maybe a charge levied for failure to provide full information at the original time of import. ukimports.org
shown in box 14 on the Form C88). This declaration is either: Direct Representation or Indirect Representation.
Nearly all declarations (or entries) made to Customs are declared as ‘Direct Representation’. This means that most clearing agents will not be liable for any calculated duty and/or VAT payable to UK Customs.
Agent liability (Taken from Notice 199 Imported Goods: Customs Procedures and Customs Debt)
When making a Customs declaration acting as a direct representative on behalf of a principal i.e. the declarant, the principal will be liable for the customs debt. The Customs agent or any sub-agent will have no liability for the customs debt. ukimports.org
- Dimensions (incl. size in Cbm)
- Gross Weight
- Location of unloading (Port or Warehouse name) and the delivery address (incl. Postcode)
(If you do not have this information available, you should be able to obtain it from the shipper).
Please note that various factors can increase the cost of your delivery, together with your agents ability to offer the service. These can range from: Hazardous Cargo, Private Residence, No-Unloading Facility, Timed-delivery etc.
Please ensure that you advise any of these, or other exceptional circumstances, when requesting a quotation. Be sure to check if your haulage price includes VAT. In most cases any haulage prices quoted are excluding VAT.
Click here to see our page on UK Delivery / Haulage. ukimports.org
Although you can pay this directly yourself, there are benefits to you agent acting on your behalf. These are as follows:
- Their payment would be made immediately (or same-day) to reduce any rent / storage payable where your goods are located.
- Banks usually charge between GB£ 20.00 to GB£ 35.00 for a same-day transfer.
This immediate payment would either be made via a 'Deferment Account' or 'DAN' (a bank account held with Customs) or via a CHAPs payment (same-day electronic transfer). This service is generally known as ‘Use of DAN’ (UOD). If you require this service, be sure to mention it to a member of our imports team.
In addition to making the immediate payment, your clearing agent will also complete the necessary paperwork (Form C514), as well as making sure all references are sent with the payment necessary for your shipment to clear Customs. ukimports.org
C88/Customs entry, completed by your clearing agent, to confirm that they have cleared all the containers or packages required and that they have been cleared as per your instructions – If incorrect call them IMMEDIATELY, to discuss these errors. Should you require any post-clearance amendment/reclaim, whereby your clearing agent were not at fault, or a certain period (usually around 14 days) has passed from the date on the entry, then a charge may be levied. ukimports.org