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The Transition Period has now ended, and a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) , or 'The Deal' has been signed between the UK and EU.  As a consequence importing goods from the EU has become more complex,.  It may take more time and cost more to complete the required import declarations.  We recommend that a customs/import agent is used.


- The amount of duty due
- Key actions for departments
- What will my carrier/import agent need to know?
- Evidence of import
- Movement of goods from Northern Ireland
- How do I process the supplier and agent's invoice on CUFS?
- Where can I get more information?
- Reliefs FAQs

Last updated 19 Jan 21

The amount of duty due

From 1 January 2021, the Free Trade Agreement means that duty-free imports are not automatic. Goods can be imported from the EU with zero tariffs only if the goods originate in the EU.  In order to benefit from 0% duty, the University (as importer) must:

  1. Prove the goods meet certain qualifying criteria (known as rules of origin), and
  2. Make an active claim for 0% duty (on import declarations).

Shipments worth less than £135 will not attract customs duty - different rules apply.

Key actions for Departments

  • Determine the tariff classification (commodity code) of imported goods to locate the relevant rules of origin and importing requirements under the deal – this is crucial and will inform next steps.

  • Rules of Origin - determine whether the goods qualify as ‘originating’ in the EU.
  • Proof - obtain proof of origin certification (a supplier’s statement of origin).
  • Make a claim - duty-free benefits are not automatic, they must be claimed when making import declarations (e.g. Import agents need to be informed of this PRIOR to the import being declared).

What will my carrier / import agent need to know?

Evidence of import

Once the goods have entered the UK, the customs agent and/or supplier will need to provide the following to the University. You must retain these documents for 6 years:

  • airway bill/bill of lading
  • delivery note
  • proof of origin
  • C88 (official Customs evidence)
  • commercial invoice

Movement of goods from Northern Ireland

There are different rules regarding goods being moved into Northern Ireland and for goods moving between GB (England, Scotland, and Wales) and Northern Ireland. Please contact the University Tax Team  .

How do I process the supplier and agent’s invoices on CUFS?

It is important that BOTH the supplier invoice and any customs duty amount are coded to the relevant IMPORT codes on CUFS – this is to ensure that the import VAT is captured for postponed VAT Accounting via the VAT return – see the Finance Division’s guidance

Please code any customs duty element of an agent’s / carrier’s invoice to the same IMPORT tax code as the related goods (e.g. supplier’s invoice coded to IMPORT20%, then customs duty coded to IMPORT20%).

Where can I get more information?

University Tax Team 

University's Finance Brexit Transition Guidelines

The Government’s Brexit imports and exports helpline

Tel: 0300 3229434
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

There is also guidance available on the GOV.UK website

This is a good tool

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