The Government has confirmed further details of the customs duty arrangements that will apply to Northern Ireland with the publication of the Taxation (Post-transition Period) Bill.

The Bill enacts several of the arrangements contained in the Northern Ireland Protocol, a critical element of the Withdrawal Agreement that is designed to prevent the introduction of a “hard” border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland following the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.

The new arrangements, which are currently before Parliament, mean that no duty will be due on goods:

  • imported into Northern Ireland from the EU; or
  • moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland that are not deemed “at risk” of then being moved into the EU.

However, duty will be chargeable on goods:

  • moved into Northern Ireland from Great Britain and which are deemed “at risk” of being moved into the EU or which are non-domestic goods;
  • moved from Northern Ireland to Great Britain that are not Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods;
  • moved from Northern Ireland to Great Britain that are Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods but which have been moved for the purpose of avoiding customs duties; and
  • goods from the rest of the world imported into Northern Ireland.

Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods are defined in legislation as those that are “processed” in Northern Ireland or which are present in Northern Ireland and “not subject to any customs supervision, restriction or control”.

Meanwhile, the Treasury will make regulations setting out which goods are deemed “at risk” of being moved into the EU. However, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, has confirmed that this will not include goods intended for selling to consumers or for use in Northern Ireland.

The actual duties that will be levied will depend on whether a trade deal is reached between the UK and the EU before the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December and on the detail of any deal.

Crucially, the measures mean that declarations will be required from businesses moving goods from Great Britain into Northern Ireland. If you move goods into Northern Ireland, you should complete the following steps urgently:

  1. Sign up for the Government’s free Trader Support Service

This free-to-use service is available to businesses of any size moving goods into Northern Ireland, providing guidance, training, a digital declaration support service and support from customs experts.

Sign-up here.

  1. Obtain an EORI number beginning with XI

Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers are standard identification codes used across the EU in customs procedures. Many UK businesses trading with EU countries before Brexit will not have needed an EORI number because the UK was also a member of the EU.

Following the end of the transition period, businesses in Great Britain must have a 12-digit EORI number beginning with ‘GB’ to export to or import from the EU.

However, to move goods in and out of Northern Ireland, businesses must have EORI numbers beginning with “XI”.

If you do not have an EORI number, you must apply for an EORI number beginning with GB as soon as possible here. You will then be able to obtain an EORI number beginning with XI.

Businesses in Great Britain that move goods in and out of Northern Ireland and export to or import from the EU will need “GB” and “XI” EORI numbers.

For more information about moving goods into Northern Ireland after the end of the Brexit transition period, please contact us.