What is Customs?

For companies new to Customs and Trade legislation, this guide will help you understand they key essentials. Many companies are now trying to learn more about Customs and Trade rules for the first time as they could be required to lodge Customs Declarations on purchases and sales with the UK. For companies who are in this position, the first things they must understand is that Customs Duties and Customs Declarations are required every time you pass an international border. For example, with sales to the UK, you will be required to lodge an export declaration from Ireland and an import declaration into the UK. You may notice that these requirements already exist if you trade with any nom-EU country. When preparing your customs procedures you will need to look at your requirements and consider how this can be customs compliant as well as cost-saving. You will also need to consider the type of imports you are working with. For example, different rules apply to capital equipment, raw materials/parts, and excisable goods. Each type of transaction presents different rules and opportunities to save on costs. It is important to review this well before importing because it can take some time to get apprived for customs authorisations.

Customs Compliance

EORI As a first step you will need to register for an EORI number to be allowed to import into Ireland from outside the EU / export out of Ireland into a non-EU country. The EORI is a unique EU Customs Registration which lets you interact with Customs in each Member State. Import Procedures In terms of customs administration, there are generally two options for importing into Ireland:
  1. Authorise your freight/clearance agents to pay the import duty, import VAT on your behalf and invoice this back to you.
  2. Pay the duty directly to Customs with individual payments each time your goods cross the border or with a deferred payment account authorisation – be conscious that a deferred payment account will require a Guarantee which can take several months to obtain.

Duty Costs

You will also need to examine what duty costs come with importing goods. It is important to determine the duty rate applicable to your goods – this will be based on its tariff code. The tariff code for imports is a 10-digit number which equates to a description of the item. Each tariff code has a separate duty rate – this means it is vital that you classify your products under the right tariff code in order to ensure the correct duty is paid. Overpaying will leave you disadvantaged financially. Underpaying means you are likely to have to pay an additional amount later, when you have a customs audit. in addition the tariff code must be correct as this is critical security information for customs. Determining tariff classifications is usually the largest project that a company will take on when preparing for Brexit. You may consider engaging with consultants to help you work through this. Along with confirming the duty rates, you will need to check the origin of goods and if the country you are importing from has a preferential trade agreement with the EU. If it turns out that the relevant country has this in place, your company can benefit from significant duty reductions. Lastly you will need to make sure that the correct value is given to customs for the goods. These steps should all be drafted into a Procedure Manual to ensure compliance and to support the ongoing management of customs.