Sean Turner

Sean Turner – VAT Specialist
DD: +44 (0)207 465 1908

HMRC have announced temporary changes to customs policy and authorisations to assist during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Your business may be affected if it is authorised or applying to be authorised for:

  • Temporary storage or special customs procedures such as inward processing or customs warehousing
  • Simplified declarations
  • A guarantee
  • Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)

Changes to customs authorisations

If a business is no longer able to comply with a condition of its authorisation because of coronavirus, permission must be obtained from the supervising office in HMRC or Border Force to temporarily vary the conditions. 

The following conditions of a customs approval can be temporarily varied:

  • changes to site opening hours
  • the need for staff to be on site in order to carry out a particular function if that function can be completed remotely
  • the specific areas within an approved location in which customs controls must be conducted
  • reducing dwell times to allow quicker permission to progress
  • time limits for bills of discharge and throughput periods for special procedures
  • how to process goods held in temporary storage over 90 days.

The supervising office must be emailed to temporarily change an authorisation and these will be dealt with on a case by case basis.  A request may be declined if there are concerns about its impact.

Applying for customs authorisations and guarantees

Customs authorisation applications can be temporarily sent by email rather than post.  This must be followed up with the postal application, including an original signature once coronavirus controls are lifted.

If the application is for a customs authorisation to allow supplies of food, medical and pharmaceuticals to be entered, priority will be given and fast-tracked wherever possible.

For businesses authorised to provide Customs Comprehensive Guarantees (CCG), an electronic copy of the financial guarantee form (CCG2), transit guarantee form (C1146) and Joint Contractual Liability Form, will be accepted.

Visits in respect of applications are currently not required, however, if a visit is necessary, but not able to be carried out, HMRC will be in contact to discuss temporarily suspending the process.  This policy will be kept under review to avoid delays and impact to business.

Renewing customs authorisations

If an authorisation is due to expire and HMRC is unable to renew it, it will be automatically extended to ensure continuity and HMRC will contact the business to notify an automatic extension has been granted.

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