When the Windsor Framework was announced in February 2023, it promised a new ‘green lane’ for traders moving goods destined for Northern Ireland. The green lane would free such traders of “unnecessary paperwork, checks and duties using only ordinary commercial information”.
The government has now provided more information regarding the green lane, which will be accessible to traders authorised under the new UK internal market scheme (UKIMS). Traders authorised for the UKIMS will be able to declare their goods ‘not at risk’ if brought into Northern Ireland for sale or final use by end consumers in the UK.
‘Not at risk’ goods are goods not at risk of onward movement to the EU. Duty will not be charged on such goods if they enter Northern Ireland from free circulation in Great Britain.
However, ‘not at risk’ goods will still be charged duty if entering Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU. Duty will also be charged if the goods enter Northern Ireland from Great Britain if they were not in free circulation in Great Britain.
Goods moving through the green lane won’t be subject to the same processes that apply to other goods entering Northern Ireland. The trader will only need to submit a simplified dataset, based on commercial information.
‘At risk’ goods will not be able to use the green lane. They will be charged the applicable EU duty.
Traders must apply for a UKIMS authorisation to be ready to make use of the green lane from 30 September 2023 onwards. The portal for making applications is open. Traders can continue to use the UK Trader Scheme for goods moving before that date.
To apply for the UKIMS authorisation, traders must:
- be established in the UK;
- meet all compliance requirements; and
- meet all records, systems, controls and evidence requirements.
Traders who move goods into Northern Ireland to be processed will be subject to additional requirements.
Once HMRC has approved a trader’s application, it will send them a letter with its UKIMS authorisation number. The trader will then be able to declare goods ‘not at risk’. Traders can use the trader support service to help make these declarations.
‘Not at risk’ goods
Some goods cannot be declared ‘not at risk’. This includes goods subject to commercial processing where the additional requirements to declare these goods ‘not at risk’ are not met. These goods will be automatically ‘at risk’. This means EU duty will be payable.
Goods brought into Northern Ireland that are not automatically ‘at risk’ can be declared ‘not at risk’ when they are either:
- ‘not at risk’ due to the applicable duties; or
- ‘not at risk’ under the UKIMS or the UK Trader Scheme.
Goods brought into Northern Ireland from Great Britain will be treated as ‘not at risk’ if the applicable EU duty is zero. If the goods are subject to processing and the trader does not meet the additional requirements, this won’t be the case.
Duty reimbursement scheme
From 30 June 2023, the government is also introducing a scheme to reimburse the payment of EU customs duties paid on goods moved into Northern Ireland that were not sold or used in the EU. The scheme will enable the repayment of any such duties where the necessary evidence is provided. The scheme will provide reimbursement for relevant duties paid from 1 January 2021 onwards.
Customs duty waiver scheme
Traders that move ‘at risk’ goods into Northern Ireland may be able to claim a waiver for customs duty which might otherwise be charged. From 1 January 2024, the customs duty waiver scheme will be expanded to allow up to €275,000 (c. £235,000) of customs duty to be waived.
These rules are complex, and traders should seek professional advice if moving goods into Northern Ireland.
Traders currently using the UK Trader Scheme should consider applying for UKIMS authorisation as soon as possible. Consideration should also be given to the possible use of the duty reimbursement and customs duty waiver schemes.
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