We’re delighted to announce that Hillier Hopkins is just one of four English accountancy firms listed by HMRC as accredited customs agents – with the others being global giants PwC, Deloitte and EY.
The listing follows our creation of England’s only accountancy-firm led dedicated customs declaration service designed to help small and medium-sized businesses continue to import and export goods following the UK’s departure of the European Union.
HMRC’s list of customs agents can be found here.
Our customs declaration service, the only one to be offered by a mid-tier UK accountancy firm, will help businesses with the documentation needed to move goods to and from mainland Europe and to Northern Island. It will, importantly, ensure that businesses pay the right amount of VAT and duties if required. Duties will arise if a product originates or if made from a significant proportion of components that originate outside the UK and the EU.
The customs declaration service is led by our VAT and indirect tax director Ruth Corkin, an adviser to the government, who sat on its Alternative Arrangements for Northern Ireland Committee and a champion for the access to HMRC’s systems for SMEs in order for them to be able to prepare customs declarations.
Ruth said: “HMRC estimates that businesses will need to make some 255 million customs declarations a year now that the UK exited the transition period on 31 December, an increase of 200 million on the 55 million currently made each year. It has now published a list of customs agents and advisers.
“Businesses will find significant advantages in having their accountant manage customs documentation, not least of which ensuring the correct duties are paid and VAT is accounted for in the correct way.
“Whilst the paperwork is relatively straightforward to complete, HMRC’s Customs Declaration Service (CDS) and its Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) systems are not. CDS is difficult to access by businesses and can take upwards of 12 months to register and secure the software needed.
Currently, most customs declarations are made by intermediaries and freight forwarders. There is, however, a chronic shortage of advisers currently operating in the market, and with gaps in the service provided.
Ruth said: “At present, intermediaries and freight forwarders often do not keep documentation on customs declarations for more than a few months, and that can provide real challenges for businesses when making VAT and tax returns.
“That is why the Hillier Hopkins customs declaration service offers a holistic approach combining both the documentation needed together with the VAT and tax supporting documents.”