New UK internal market scheme requires business registration to avoid duty fees

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Rule changes on import/export goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, businesses need to act now to register for new scheme

Earlier this month, we hosted an online seminar for businesses who import/export to Northern Ireland/Great Britain. If you missed it or have questions about how the new United Kingdom Internal Market Scheme (UKIMS) will affect your business, you can watch it again here.

Following from the United Kingdom’s (UK) departure from the European Union (EU) and the negotiation of the ‘Windsor protocol’ earlier this year, a new series of border rules will be introduced on some goods leaving Great Britain (GB) and which will be consumed in NI.

In addition there will be a new framework for placing food items and medicines on the NI market from GB.

Headline changes include:

  • A reduction in paperwork for movement of goods between NI and the rest of the UK.
  • A new UK Internal Market Scheme (UKIMS) which businesses need to register for before 31 July 2023.
  • A digital ‘green lane’ for goods imported into and staying in NI.
  • New rules for pets travelling from GB to NI, but not where onward travel is to the Republic of Ireland.
  • New tariff quotas for UK steel moving to NI from the rest of GB.
  • A duty reimbursement scheme for goods declared at risk but which remain in NI or were exported from outside of the EU.

All change – UKIMS

Businesses need to be aware that UKIMS will replace the current UKTS system from 30 September 2023. Movement of goods to NI after this date will be deemed ‘at risk’ if subject to EU duty unless the movement is done using UKIMS meaning businesses not registered for the scheme will be liable to pay duty.

The deadline for businesses registering is 31 July 2023 and the process is complicated, requiring details of financial standing and customs compliance records – so don’t leave it until the deadline. UKIMS will form the basis of the new digital green lane from 2024.

Businesses registered under the UKTS scheme were due to be migrated automatically to UKIMS, however recent guidance now suggests businesses should apply. If you only move goods from GB to NI that are subject to 0% EU duty, then registration is not required.

GB businesses can apply for UKIMS if their customs operations are carried in the UK, they have an indirect customs representative in NI or their customs, commercial and transport records and information are available or accessible in the UK. Additionally, their goods must be available only in NI either by direct sale to the NI consumer or to an intermediary that will sell to a NI consumer.  HMRC may visit your business to check the records, systems and controls in place as part of the application process for the authorisation. If your businesses is established in the UK other than NI, you can apply for UKIMS using either a GB or XI EORI number.

In addition to having a good customs and tax compliance record you must also have no record of serious criminal offences related to your economic activity, be of good financial standing and show a clear understanding of your obligations under this authorisation and how to comply with them. Your record is based on the three years prior to your UKIMS application, and it is based on all available information including involvement with any previous businesses.

Clearly there is much for businesses to do to be and remain compliant. To discuss any of the issues raised in this seminar with our team. Get in touch today.

Do you need extra information?

Ruth Corkin - Prinicipal - VAT and Indirect Tax Advisory at Hillier Hopkins

Ruth has been involved with VAT for over 30 years. She started her VAT career as a Customs and Excise Officer in Essex and then moved into consultancy with a variety of well-known accountancy firms. She is well known in the VAT world and is the proud author of many articles and technical works.

Contact Ruth at or on +44 (0)1908 713860

Based at the following office - Milton Keynes, Watford and London