Changes to legal rulings for the classification of goods from 1 January 2021

Guide

Last updated 9 December 2020

The way you apply for a legally binding decision on the commodity code to use for your goods will be different depending on where you intend to use it.

You’ll apply for:

  • an Advance Tariff Ruling, if you’re importing into or exporting from Great Britain
  • a Binding Tariff Information decision, if you’re importing into or exporting from Northern Ireland or the EU

If you have an existing Binding Tariff Information decision

If you have a Binding Tariff Information decision which would have been valid after 23:00 on 31 December 2020, HMRC will change it to an Advance Tariff Ruling.

These will be valid for the remaining time of the original Binding Tariff Information decision - but the EU will not recognise them.

If any of the details of the original ruling have changed, the Advance Tariff Ruling will not cover your goods.

If you want your Binding Tariff Information decision to become an Advance Tariff Ruling
You do not need to do anything.

HMRC will not send out a new version of the ruling, so you must keep your existing Binding Tariff Information decision documentation as evidence.

Applying before 1 January 2021

If you apply before 1 January 2021 for goods you intend import or export from 1 January 2021, you should apply using the current Binding Tariff Information decision process.

You can use this for both types of rulings. But you must tell HMRC where you intend to use the ruling so they can process the application correctly.

If you’re importing into or exporting from Northern Ireland or the EU
After HMRC have accepted your application, you must email: tariff.classification@hmrc.gov.uk to tell them:

  • that you’re intending to import goods into or export them from Northern Ireland or the EU
  • the Binding Tariff Information decision reference number

You’ll need to have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number that starts XI before we can issue the final decision.

HMRC will progress your Binding Tariff Information decision ruling application as far they can until you have an EORI number that starts XI.

If you’re importing into or exporting from Great Britain
HMRC will process your application and depending on the processing time, they will then issue either:

  • a resulting Binding Tariff Information decision, which we will change to an Advance Tariff Ruling on 31 December
  • an Advance Tariff Ruling if we process it after 31 December 2020

Applying from 1 January 2021

If you’re importing into or exporting from Northern Ireland or the EU
You’ll need to apply for a Binding Tariff Information decision.

Binding Tariff Information decisions can be issued by HMRC to traders or individuals. To be ready to apply you must:

  • have an EORI number that starts XI
  • be able to provide brochures, manuals, photographs and samples of your goods where appropriate
  • intend to import into or export from Northern Ireland or any EU member states, if you’re established in Northern Ireland

If you’re not established in Northern Ireland and want a ruling on goods being moved in EU countries, you must apply in the country where that activity will take place.

If you’re importing into or exporting from Great Britain
You’ll need to apply for an Advance Tariff Ruling. To be ready to apply you must:

  • have an EORI number that starts with GB
  • be able to provide brochures, manuals, photographs and samples of your goods where appropriate
  • intend to import into or export from Great Britain
  • have a Government Gateway user ID and password - if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you apply

First published 20 November 2020

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