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In conversation with: Martin Blanche

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In conversation with: Martin Blanche

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your role and the work you are currently doing with clients?

Martin Blanche: Hi, I’m Martin Blanche and I lead PwC UK’s Indirect Tax practice. Indirect Tax of course includes VAT and Customs. Since Brexit we’ve seen a real increase in the number of supply chain and customs related queries. In response to customs compliance challenges our clients are facing we have developed a new managed service solution, a customs brokerage service. This will help our clients to process their customs declarations and ensure that they are aware of and meet HMRC’s customs compliance obligations.

What implications have new border controls had on UK business?

Martin Blanche: To test the implications of these new rules, over the Summer we surveyed the market and asked how businesses are navigating the new border control processes. We heard a wide range of challenges including confidence in the support/advice they receive from brokers, access to the necessary skills and expertise and access to the right technology.

What do UK businesses need to be aware of for January 2022 and beyond?

Martin Blanche: So, we’ll be facing more customs changes as the Government completes regulatory changes for the post-Brexit economy. It’s vital to review your customs processes end-to-end, including your external providers, to ensure that you keep your goods moving and that you are tax compliant and make sure you’re not unnecessarily overpaying duties or tax.

We’re hearing from our clients and businesses the need for a more sophisticated brokerage service to navigate the new complexities. Some examples of the challenges people are facing are as follows:

  • Businesses are struggling to implement postponed VAT accounting and are being advised incorrectly by non-Tax brokerage providers that they need approval. This could be impacting cash flow as well as having to support a larger customs bank guarantee.
  • Many businesses are seeing an increase in the administration burden such as obtaining and keeping more product level data, communicating this accurately to brokers to file customs declarations and ensuring they keep the right documentation in place.

The option for delayed declarations will end on the 31 December 2021, this means that full declarations will be required from 1 January 2022 and if you don’t do so, you will need to get approval for simplified declarations. We’re already seeing an increased focus on customs in SAO reviews, more focus on customs for large business, business risk reviews.

With the end of these delayed declarations on the 31 December, HMRC is likely to start these compliance audits in earnest in early 2022. This will mean a delayed audit of the EU movement of goods which include classification of goods, valuation including a challenge on intercompany related party sales and origin, especially where importers knowledge has been used to claim preferential rates. With this in mind, we’re urging businesses to get their house in order.

If you want to find out more, please visit the PwC Customs Broker Service webpage.

Contact us

Laura Hinton

Laura Hinton

Tax Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7956 267671

Stuart Higgins

Stuart Higgins

UK Tax Clients and Markets Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7725 828833

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