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New charges to import animal and plant products come into effect

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 30 Apr 2024

From 30 April 2024, a new common user charge applies to imports of animal and plant products entering or transiting through Great Britain via the port of Dover or Eurotunnel.

The common user charge for commercial imports of animal products, plants and plant products is part of the government’s border target operating model (BTOM). It aims to cover the operating costs of government-run border control facilities where sanitary and phytosanitary checks take place on these goods. It is payable even if goods are not physically inspected.

The common user charge rates for imports vary depending on the commodity type and risk category. These include:

  • low-risk animal products: £10 per commodity line; 
  • medium and high-risk animal products: £29 per commodity line;
  • high-risk food and feed of non-animal origin: £29 per commodity line;
  • low-risk plants and plant products: no charge per commodity line; and 
  • medium and high-risk plants and plant products: £29 per commodity line.

The charge applies to each commodity line listed on the common health entry document (CHED) submitted through the import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS). IPAFFS is the online platform used to notify authorities about these types of imports. If different risk commodities are imported in one consignment, the highest rate (£29) will apply across all lines. However, there is a maximum charge of £145 per consignment for five or more commodity lines. 

This is in addition to any existing inspection fees charged by port health authorities or the animal and plant health agency. Penalties for late payment will also apply but details have not yet been published. Importers, or their appointed agents, must provide accurate billing details in the first IPAFFS notification submitted on or after 30 April. Shared Services Connected Ltd will issue monthly invoices for the charges on behalf of the government, which will be payable within 30 days.

Importers who are part of pilot schemes like the accredited trusted trader scheme will still need to pay the charge. Those in the plant imports authorised operator status pilot are exempt if checks happen inland. Live animal imports are currently exempt from the charges until physical checks are introduced. The government will publish separate rates for live animals before applying charges.

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