News article

Brexit: Exporting excise goods to the EU

5 February 2020


Exporting excise goods to the EU from the UK from 1 January 2021

From January 2021, exports of excise goods (alcohol, tobacco and certain oils) from the UK to the EU will be treated the same as exports to the rest of the world. This includes moving excise goods to a place of export in the UK.

Exporting excise duty paid goods

From 1 January 2021 you will need to submit an electronic export declaration. If you are a business, you may be able to recover the excise duty on the exported goods by claiming excise duty drawback.

Exporting excise duty suspended goods

From 1 January 2021 you cannot use Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) to move excise duty suspended goods directly from the UK to the EU. If you move goods without following the relevant customs export procedures at the place they are exported from, you may be liable for excise duty and penalties. Your goods may also be seized.

If you raise a movement on EMCS to an EU member state 7 days before 1 January 2021 with a dispatch date on or after 1 January 2021 the movement will be rejected by EMCS and HMRC.

Moving excise duty suspended goods to the place of export from the UK

You must use EMCS to move excise duty suspended goods from within the UK to the place they are exported from.

You will need to either:

  • ensure the authorised warehouse keeper declares the movement on EMCS when the goods are held in excise duty suspension in their warehouse
  • appoint a registered consignor to move the goods or become a registered consignor - when the goods are being released from a customs control for re-export

The authorised warehousekeeper or registered consignor must:

  • complete and submit an electronic administrative document (eAD) through EMCS before the movement takes place
  • get a unique Administrative Reference Code (ARC) for that specific movement (that EMCS generates)
  • complete a customs export declaration using the National Export System (NES) and enter the ARC in box 40
  • receive an ‘accepted for export’ notification on EMCS after the goods are cleared by customs - if the ARC matches the customs export declaration
  • receive a ‘report of export’ to ensure the export is closed on EMCS

If the ARC does not match the customs export declaration within 30 days of the customs export declaration being submitted, the warehousekeeper or registered consignor will receive a ‘rejected for export’ notification to remind them that the movement is still open on EMCS. You will need to establish why this has happened and take corrective action.

EMCS status Description
'Accepted' The customs export declaration has been accepted
'Rejected for export' The ARC does not match the customs export declaration on CHIEF
'Exporting' The ARC matches the customs export declaration on CHIEF and the goods have been cleared by customs
'Delivered' The goods have departed the UK

If you are a registered excise business or use authorised destinations

From 1 January 2021, the following registered excise businesses and some authorised destinations will no longer be authorised to receive or dispatch excise goods:

  • registered consignee (including movements for direct delivery)
  • temporary registered consignee
  • unknown destination for energy products
  • tax representative (for excise duty on distance sales from the EU)
  • registered commercial importer
  • unregistered commercial importers

Movement to exempt consignees will also no longer be able to take place on EMCS.

If this impacts your business, you’ll need to take steps so that you can continue trading.

If your goods are dispatched on or before 31 December 2020 but received on or after 1 January 2021

You do not need to complete a UK customs declaration in the UK if:

  • the goods are travelling under a recognised excise scheme at that time
  • you can show that the movement started on or before 31 December 2020

The requirements and any sanctions that may apply to these goods will be based on current UK excise legislation and duty points that apply to EU movements.

HMRC or Border Force may ask for evidence of the date and time your goods were dispatched. You can show this by providing:

If you cannot prove the date and time your goods were dispatched, the movement will be treated in the same way as one that started on or after 1 January 2021 and customs import procedures will apply.

Closing duty suspended movements that started on or before 31 December 2020 but received on or after 1 January 2021

If your goods arrive at their EU destiation on or after 1 January 2021 but were dispatched from the UK before this time (or have not left the EU but were dispatched on or before 31 December 2020 as an indirect export):

  • you will not get a report of receipt of export on EMCS
  • the movement will remain open in the system
  • you’ll need to provide an alternative proof of receipt

If you do not receive an endorsed copy of the SAAD back from the EU business for excise duty paid goods, you will need to provide an alternative proof of receipt.

Excise duty drawback claims

If you provide HMRC with an EX75 Notice of Intention (NOI) on or before 31 December 2020 but the drawback claim is made after this date, the way you can claim duty drawback will change. HMRC will provide more information about these changes before 1 January 2021.