Following this week’s announcement, there are a number of actions that need to be taken by NI businesses to enable smooth trading conditions and the ability to move goods in and out of Northern Ireland from 1st January.

Before you move goods
  1. If you plan to move goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, or bring goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK, you must sign up for the free Trader Support Service (TSS) here.
  2. If you plan to move goods between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries (including Great Britain), you’ll need an EORI number that starts with XI  (this will have been issued automatically if you signed up for TSS before 23rd November) – otherwise follow this link to request it.
  3. If you import goods into Northern Ireland and want to declare your goods not ‘at risk’ so that EU duty will not be payable on those goods, you’ll need to apply for an authorisation for the UK Trader Scheme. Click here.
  4. If you import goods regularly from GB or Rest of World that you are selling onto EU, you can apply for a duty deferment account to delay paying most customs charges. Click here.
  5. To understand any duty or other measures that apply to your goods, you’ll need to find the right commodity code to make your customs declaration when you bring goods in or send goods out of Northern Ireland. Information can be found at this link – however in most cases your supplier should be able to provide the commodity codes.
  6. Tell HMRC that you are trading under the NI Protocol, and apply XI as a prefix on your VAT number when trading with the EU to allow Reverse charge. If you are trading and make transactions under the NI protocol, you’ll need to put an “XI” prefix in front of your VAT number when communicating with an EU customer or supplier (your invoices will show an XI number ahead of your VAT number – for example, XI 123456789 – instead of GB), complete an EC sales list when selling goods from Northern Ireland to VAT registered customers in the EU. Click here for more.
The UK Trader Scheme
The UK Trusted Trader Scheme (point 3 in checklist above) has just been announced, and if you intend to bring goods into NI which are not “at risk” of moving to the EU, you will need to apply for authorisation to operate under the scheme.
If your goods are “not at risk” then even in the event of no deal you will pay:
  • Zero duty of moving goods into NI from GB
  • UK duty if moving goods from a country outside the EU.
Goods are deemed to be “not at risk” where either:
  • The applicable UK tariff is equal to or higher than the applicable EU tariff – for movements into NI from GB this covers goods where the EU tariff is zero.
  • Goods are brought into NI for sale to, or final use by, end consumers located in NI or internal UK trade.
  • Commercial processing – if your annual turnover is below £500K in your most recent financial year, you can apply to treat your goods as “not at risk”
  • Commercial processing – Goods for processing where the purpose is:-
    • food for sale to end consumers in the UK
    • construction, direct health and care provision, and not for profit activities carried out by importers in Northern Ireland
    • processing of animal feed for final use at premises located in Northern Ireland by the importer.
To declare your goods “not at risk” from 01 January 2021, you must have applied for the UK Trader Scheme authorisation by 31 December 2020. If you apply before the end of February 2021, then you will be granted a provisional authorisation while HMRC process your application. During this time you may declare goods as not “at risk”.
Please follow this link to register and for more information. Please contact us if you need any assistance.