As part of its 2025 UK Border Strategy published in December 2020, the UK government set out its proposal to create a Single Trade Window (STW). The aim of the STW is to create a single gateway for all transactional data from traders into government. In July 2022, the government launched a consultation to inform the design of and legislation for the STW.
In its response, ICAEW’s Tax Faculty welcomed the attempt by the government to streamline trade and customs processes, but stressed the importance of testing and piloting the system before it is launched more widely.
Ed Saltmarsh, the faculty’s Technical Manager for VAT and Customs, says: “We have seen a whole host of problems with recent launches of HMRC systems – most recently the VAT registration service for agents. That was launched before it was ready and without sufficient testing. The STW needs to be tested extensively, by the right people, before it is launched, and especially before it becomes the single point of entry for trade data.”
The STW will allow the sharing of data between HMRC and other government departments. Data may also be shared internationally. In its response, ICAEW’s Tax Faculty emphasised the value and commercially sensitive nature of data. The security of the data being collected, stored, and shared, is therefore of paramount importance. Businesses will want full oversight of the data being shared, with who and for what purpose.
The faculty also attempted to bring to the government’s attention the number of parties that may be involved in just one customs declaration. It suggested this be streamlined wherever possible.
The faculty’s consultation response can be found in full: The UK Single Trade Window: Consultation on Features to Inform Design and Legislation
The government will publish its response to the consultation by 9 December 2022.
It is worth noting that HMRC is also consulting on improving the data HMRC collects from its customers.
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