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Union Customs Code: inaction not an option

Posted: December 3, 2015

‘Oh you don’t get me I’m part of the union’ The chorus from the 1970s hit for the Strawbs was supposedly a tongue-in-cheek rebuke of the powers of the trade unions at that time, which coincided with the UK joining the (then) European Economic Community, now more commonly referred to as the European Union.

The powers of the EU are equally extensive, and from May 2016 will be brought into play for those businesses based in the EU involved in importing and exporting goods.

The Union Customs Code (UCC) will bring in a series of measures and requirements that are aimed at simplifying and facilitating trade, but will require positive action by those involved in order to avoid the changes impacting negatively.

What will be of concern to these businesses is the fact that the measures and requirements – whilst they have been discussed and commented upon for some time now – are only slowly being fully crystalised and formalised.

What is clear is that doing nothing is not an option, but there are likely to be many businesses caught out by these changes and seeking assistance at or after the last minute. Coupled with a decreasing level of resource within HMRC the likelihood of any rapid response and processing of applications linked to these required changes is diminishing, so reviewing and applying now would be a prudent measure.

Some of the new measures may involve the centralisation and formalisation of existing procedures and reports, and can add a level of security and control to the business processes as well as helping to maximise supply chain efficiency.

A more detailed review and report on the changes coming in from 1 May 2016 is can be downloaded here.

•Please contact Greg Mayne, Director of Indirect Tax Services at Burgess Hodgson if you have any questions.