The forms required for businesses to operate special customs procedures within a designated freeport customs site have been published, along with further guidance on procedures for declaring goods moving into and out of sites.
Freeports are areas that benefit from a range of tax and other incentives including a suspension from customs duties for imported goods and less burdensome customs procedures.
HMRC is now accepting applications to use freeports customs special procedures. The application form, which can be downloaded from gov.uk, must be emailed or posted to HMRC once completed.
An application can be made by businesses that have a provisional agreement in place with a freeport customs site operator to store or process goods at a freeport customs site. An application may not be necessary if the business uses existing customs special procedures.
To complete the form, businesses will need, among other things, their economic operator and identification (EORI) number, company registration number (if a company), tax reference numbers and contact details.
Once authorised, businesses importing or exporting goods in a freeport site can:
- get relief from duties and import taxes,
- use simplified declarations processes to reduce administrative burdens, and
- choose which rate of customs duty to use if processing the goods changes their classification.
Goods that are imported using the special procedure can be processed or stored by the authorised business and then exported out of or sold in the UK. It is currently not possible to use the special procedure to import or export excise goods (such as alcohol and tobacco). HMRC will provide more guidance on this in due course.
HMRC has also issued guidance on:
- processing or storing identical goods to replace freeport customs special procedure goods, and
- declaring goods and paying tax when using a freeport customs site.
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