The purpose of the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) self-assessment questionnaire is to provide HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) with additional information about you and your business. You must answer fully and accurately all questions relevant to the type of AEO authorisation you require.
To apply for AEO status you need a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you apply. After receiving your application, HMRC will visit you to verify all other supplementary information, in particular the documented procedures referred to regularly throughout the questionnaire.
You should wait until all the necessary procedures are in place and you can answer 'yes' where appropriate to the relevant questions in the questionnaire before submitting your application.
The supplementary documentation checked by HMRC during the verification visit includes:
- full details of all your sites involved in international trade and their activities
- details of your products and their relevant commodity codes and duty rates
- the technical information you usually use to classify your goods
- evidence that you regularly and fully review your procedures, document any changes and notify affected staff of the changes
- your last three full (not abbreviated) sets of annual accounts or statements, or where appropriate latest management accounts
If you use a computer to control your accounting and logistical systems, you'll need to demonstrate:
- the extent of the computerisation
- the segregation of functions between development, testing and operations
- the segregation of functions among users
- access control
- any customisations of the standard package you use
- the list of ledger accounts
- whether the system makes use of verification interim accounts
- how liabilities to customs/excise duty/VAT are recorded
- whether you operate in batches
- whether your stock and financial records are linked
Documented procedures for accounting and logistical systems
The documented procedures that HMRC will check include:
- how you set up, maintain, change and archive standing data which are relevant to customs
- who is responsible for these within your business
- if you use a third party, the functions they perform
- how changes to standing data are authorised
- how access to standing data is controlled within your business
Documented procedures for safety and security
You will be expected to have in place a security plan and a threat assessment which need to be made available for the audit visit.
You should have documented procedures in place to enable and encourage staff and visitors to report any security incidents, such as unauthorised access, theft, or the use of unvetted personnel.
Procedures should also be in place to control such areas as access, recruitment, business partners etc and need to be made available for the audit visit.