Brexit: Importing excise goods from the EU from 1 January 2021

News article

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

From 1 January 2021, imports of excise goods (alcohol, tobacco and certain oils) from the EU will be treated the same as imports from the rest of the world. This includes moving imported excise goods within the UK.

Importing excise duty paid goods

From 1 January 2021, you will not be able to use the following to import excise duty paid goods into the UK:

  • a Simplified Accompanying Administrative Document (SAAD)
  • EU distance-selling arrangements

You will need to complete a customs declaration.

Importing excise duty suspended goods

If your excise goods are dispatched from an EU member state from 1 January 2021, you must use the relevant customs procedures when they arrive at the place they enter the UK.

Moving imported excise goods within the UK

You must use the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) to move excise duty suspended goods from the place they enter the UK to their final destination. You will need to appoint a registered consignor to move the goods, or become a registered consignor.

The registered consignor must complete and submit an electronic administrative document (eAD) through EMCS before the movement takes place. This will generate a unique Administrative Reference Code (ARC) for that specific movement. The code must travel with the goods at all times.

You will need to supply the person accompanying the goods (for example, the driver of the vehicle transporting the goods) with a printed version of the eAD or any other commercial document which clearly states the ARC.

Once the goods are received and checked into the excise warehouse, the warehousekeeper receiving them (the consignee) will:

  • confirm that the goods have arrived
  • complete and submit a ‘report of receipt’

Become a registered consignor

If you want to become a registered consignor, you will need to:

It can take up to 45 days to register, so you should appoint someone who is already a registered consignor to move your goods whilst your application is being approved.

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

You do not need to complete a UK customs declaration or pay customs duty 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 from January 2021 and customs import procedures will apply.

Closing movements that started on or before 31 December 2020 but received from 1 January 2021

If your goods arrive in the UK from January 2021 but were dispatched from the EU before this time:

  • you cannot use EMCS to create reports of receipt
  • the movement will remain open in the system
  • you’ll need to provide a paper document to HMRC that includes the same information as an EMCS report of receipt

For excise duty paid goods, you must still approve and return copy 3 of the SAAD to the EU business if they request it. Copy 1 stays with the dispatching business and copy 2 is kept by the UK receiving company.