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Trading With UK

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What you need to know

First Steps

The following steps outline what you should complete to continue trading with Great Britain, now that it is no longer in the European Union.

Step 1 Get an EORI Number - Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) Number

It is mandatory to be EORI registered to import and export goods between Ireland and Great Britain. All businesses and individuals based in the EU need an EORI number issued by the competent authorities in the EU to trade goods with countries outside the EU. In Ireland the competent authority is the Revenue Commissioners and you apply for an EU EORI number online with Revenue Online Service (ROS).

An EORI is a unique identification number that is linked to your company. It is used for customs procedures and on documentation that allows customs authorities to quickly identify your business. Once you receive your EORI number, Revenue will issue your Trader Account Number (TAN) that you can use to cover payment of import Taxes (i.e duty, VAT or excise duties if required.)

You will also need a GB EORI (EORI number issued by UK competent authorities i.e. HM Revenue Commissioners (HMRC) if you are responsible for making export declarations out of GB or import declarations into GB. If you have agreed with your customers in the UK to deliver the goods to them on DDP terms you will be responsible for making both export declarations to Irish Revenue and import declarations to UK HMRC. Sellers and buyers’ responsibilities are set out in your sale contract using Incoterms (see Customer Relationships chapter for more information on Incoterms).

If your business is UK VAT registered, you may have automatically received a UK EORI already.

 HMRC published step-by-step guidelines on preparing to import goods into Great Britain from the 1st of January 2021. It also released short explainer videos on import customs procedures from the 1st of January. This UK government tool can help you define what customs and VAT requirements are in place for specific products imported into Great Britain from the EU.

More guidance can be found here:

Brexit: guidance for businesses 


Step 2 Decide on a Customs Agent or In-house Customs Management

The UK Government have introduced new customs formalities for imports into the UK with effect from 1 January 2021.

These are split into two types

1) Full Import/Export Declarations to be lodged with HMRC

2) Delayed Import Declarations: This can be availed of up to 1 January 2022 however supplementary declarations detailing imports need to be lodged with HMRC 175 days after your first import. See link here for further information.

The EU implemented the full requirements for Customs Declarations on Import/Export on 1 January 2021 with no simplifications or delays.

Customs declarations need to be lodged with HMRC by the Importing/Exporting business. In this regard businesses should conduct a cost analysis on whether to use a customs agent or manage customs procedures in-house by using specialised software and upskilling staff.

Customs agents or brokers can make all necessary customs declarations for your consignments, such as import and export declarations. This relieves the burden of customs paperwork from a business but can add significant costs. You are still required to provide relevant information to your broker to enable them to make declarations on your behalf.

Customs agents

Managing customs in-house

Direct - in which case the customs representative shall act in the name of and on behalf of another person. In this instance the importer/exporter is solely liable for any information stated on customs declaration. Direct representation is only available if the trader is established within the EU for EU declarations or established in the UK for any UK declarations.


Indirect - in which case the customs representative shall act in his or her own name but on behalf of another person. Indirect representation is required if the trader is not established in the customs territory where declaration is lodged.

If you wish to lodge your own customs clearance in house with Irish Revenue you will need to apply for authorisation to use the DTI to link with Revenue.


Exporters or their agents need dedicated software to use DTI for making electronic export declarations to the Automated Entry Processing system (AEP). In the absence of this software, you can appoint a customs agent to make export declarations on your behalf.


See link here (DTI Direct Trader Input)

To apply for this facility you should complete the application for approval for direct trader input and submit it through MyEnquiries in ROS.


Managing customs in-house may require specialised software and skilled staff to manage the process.

Step 3 Assigning Commodity Codes

For goods being traded across a customs border (e.g., from Ireland to Great Britain), it is necessary to classify those goods for customs purposes. Every product has a specific code.

Goods are classified according to globally observed rules which have been developed by the World Customs Organisation and which are provided for in EU legislation.

Classification codes are fundamental data elements that are included on documentation associated with trade. They are an unambiguous way of describing goods throughout the world in a way that transcends language. They also determine what measures are to be applied to goods when traded across a customs border. Such measures include, Rules Of Origin, Duty Rates, Quotas, Import Restrictions, Export Restrictions, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Considerations, Tariff Suspensions, etc.

The correct classification of goods is a fundamental aspect of good Customs compliance. An incorrect code may not be identified at the point of import but could be identified later during a post clearance Customs audit.

An incorrect code entered onto Customs documentation is a non-compliance and could result in penalties. Furthermore, the Customs Authority will insist upon the payment of any underpaid customs duties potentially going back over a period of 4 years. The importer bears sole responsibility for accurately assigning tariff codes.


Tariff Schedules

 Every Customs jurisdiction has its own Customs Tariff Schedule. For example, the EU tariff schedule is the Common Customs Tariff (CCT), the US tariff schedule is the Harmonised Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) and the UK tariff schedule is the UK Global Tariff Schedule (GTS).

 Goods being sent from Ireland to Great Britain will need to be classified to the 8-digit level in accordance with the EU’s CCT upon export and to the 10-digit level in accordance with the UK’s GTS upon import to GB.

It is necessary to refer to the appropriate tariff schedule because the structure of the various tariff schedules will not necessarily be the same from one jurisdiction to another.


Binding Tariff Information and Advanced Tariff Rulings

To get legally binding clarity on the classification of goods being imported or exported, a company can apply to Revenue to get a ruling known as a Binding Tariff Information (BTI). This is also possible in the UK by applying to HMRC for an Advanced Tariff Ruling (ATaR).

In the EU, BTIs can be issued by every EU member state and by the UK Customs Authority in the case of goods into and from Northern Ireland. Once issued, these rulings are binding. For example, in the Irish Customs Authority issues a BTI for a litre of full fat (3.5% fat) milk under CN code 0401 20 91, traders in every other EU member state trading this product must use the classification established for the existing BTI. This system ensures that all traders within the EU compete on a level playing field.

Step 4 Fill out Customs Documentation

If you decide to manage customs in-house, you need to familiarise yourself with the various customs procedures, legal requirements and documentation. If you decide to use a customs agent, they can submit declarations on your behalf, but you still need to provide them with the right information. The following guidance is for businesses that are managing customs in-house, but all businesses should make themselves aware of the process.

Export from

Ireland to Great


Have you completed an export customs declaration? You need the following information:

• Exporter’s name (Consignor), and address and EU EORI

• Importer’s name (Consignee) and address

• The Declarant is the person responsible for submitting the declaration. This can be your customs agent (acting on your behalf in either a direct or indirect capacity) or if you are submitting your own declarations, you will be the declarant.

• International Commercial Terms (Incoterms): This sets out obligations, costs and risks associated with the consignment.

• Commodity Code: For export from Ireland this is an 8-digit number used to classify your goods in EU Taric.

• Value of goods: For export, this is calculated as an FOB value of the goods.

• Customs procedure code (CPC): This is a 4-digit code to indicate the customs procedure under which the consignment is being placed at export, which in turn determines its treatment at the border.

• Along with the export declaration, you need to have: - At least one invoice (commercial invoice or pro-forma invoice or invoice for customs purposes only if there is no sale)


- Licences/Health Certification (if required)

- Packing List

- Transport documentation

Imports into

Great Britain

Have you discussed your contract terms (Incoterms) with your UK customers? You might be required to submit an import customs declaration in Great Britain, as well as an export customs declaration to Irish Revenue, when exporting goods to Great Britain under Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) terms (Incoterms).


•    Get an EORI number that starts with GB.

•    Check if you need to be VAT registered in GB.

•    Get someone to deal with customs for you or decide if you want to manage clearance in-house.

•    If your business is not established in the UK, you must get someone established in the UK to act indirectly on your behalf for customs.

•    Declarations in the UK can be submitted through CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system) or the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

•    Your agent or customs software provider will tell you when the changes affect you and what you need to do to prepare. Alternatively, you should monitor the latest guidance from HMRC for any updates.

•    If you are VAT registered, you can find out if you can postpone your VAT payment on import UK government guidance.

•    More UK guidance on imports can be found here and on exports here.

•    Check if you can declare your goods later if you’re importing goods from the EU

Check if you are eligible for simplified declaration procedures. These authorisations are required by you or your agent to avail of the delayed declarations option on UK Imports.


Imports from Great Britain into Ireland

•     Engage with a customs agent to act on your behalf or complete an import declaration yourself.

•     Import declaration should be submitted electronically through Revenue’s Automated Import System (AIS).

•     Safety and Security Declarations or an Entry Summary Declaration - ENS) is also required. It is the carrier’s obligation to submit an ENS. ENS is submitted through the ICS system.

•     If goods are coming in by RoRo (e.g. Dublin Port), a Pre-Boarding Notification (PBN) should be submitted through Customs RoRo service. PBN can be created by any stakeholder involved in the supply chain.

•     Apply for a TAN account or a Deferred Payment Account (Comprehensive Guarantee) to pay for any potential import Taxes.

•     Postponed accounting for VAT on import is now available to all VAT registered traders.

DAFM is available to assist with further queries on imports from Great Britain

Step 5 Cost Implications of Customs and Controls

It is important that you are aware that the increase in customs and controls resulting from Brexit will lead to increased costs for your business. The following actions can help you mitigate the impact of the cost implications of the customs and controls requirements:

  • Have you mapped your supply chain and identified areas where cost-saving and time efficiency measures can be made?
  • Have you considered the impact of customs compliance (including agents)?
  • Have you considered the impact on cash flow from VAT?
  • Have you ensured your business has applied for all relevant simplified procedures that may help ease the administrative or cost burden of customs?
  • Have you decided whether it is more cost effective to use a customs agent to deal with customs or to invest in specialised software to manage customs in-house?
Example Commercial Invoice

You can download a sample for proforma or commercial invoices here.