Importing to the UK - Things you need to know

Many businesses of all different sizes import foods and services in the UK. Companies may choose to import to reduce the costs of their products, or to acquire goods or services that may not be available from domestic suppliers. The decision to import goods has an impact on your supply chain and requires detailed planning to ensure your logistics are efficient and result in successful delivery with minimal disruption. Before you import, you should read about the rules, regulations and issues affecting your business. Here are a few to start off with:

Import duty:

Depending on where you’re importing your goods from, you may need to pay import duty, a tax to the UK government on goods that are of non-UK origin. Importing from the EU is currently possible for many goods without such duties, although this is likely to change on completion of the Brexit process. Imports from outside the EU will always be subject to import duty. However, if they have passed through an EU country then import duty will likely have already been paid. Before you import goods, be sure to work out how much tax will be payable. This may impact your decision as to whether to import at all.

Proving place of origin

Because you are entitled to import many products from the EU without charges, it is important to be able to show customs officers that your goods qualify for such favourable treatment. Ensure you have documents which evidence the source of your goods. Otherwise, you may be forced to pay duty when you believe you qualify for an exemption.

Goods from outside of the EU

Products and components transported from outside of the EU require an EORI number from the UK government. This involves a declaration to customs. Although this is straightforward, it does take a bit of time, so it’s important to plan ahead. You can find more information about what you need to do, if this affects your business, on the UK government website.

International payments

If the invoices for the goods you are importing are in a different currency, then tax is levied based on a deemed conversion at the point of your payment. Speak to advisors to learn more about the best way to plan foreign exchange for your business.