(P) The UK Public General Act from which all UK customs laws radiate. We summarize it and explain the key provisions. Last updated: 21 Jan 2022
Public General Acts form the largest category of legislation, in principle affecting the public general law applying to everyone across the entire United Kingdom (or at least to one or more of its constituent countries of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, or Wales). The TCTA is such act.
What does the Act do?
An Act to
impose and regulate a duty of customs by reference to the importation of goods into the United Kingdom;
to confer a power to impose and regulate a duty of customs by reference to the export of goods from the United Kingdom;
to make other provision in relation to any duty of customs in connection with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU;
to amend the law relating to value-added tax, and the law relating to any excise duty on goods, in connection with that withdrawal;
and for connected purposes.
PART 1 Import duty
PART 2 Export duty
PART 3 Value added tax
PART 4 Excise duties
PART 5 Other provision connected with withdrawal from EU
PART 6 Final provisions
SCHEDULE 1 Customs declarations
SCHEDULE 2 Special Customs procedures
PART 1 Entitlement to declare goods for special customs procedures
PART 2 Storage procedure
PART 3 Transit procedure
PART 4 Inward processing procedure
PART 5 Authorised use procedure
PART 6 Temporary admission procedure
PART 7 Supplementary provisions
SCHEDULE 3 Eligible developing countries
SCHEDULE 4 Dumping of goods or foreign subsidies causing injury to UK industry
SCHEDULE 5 Increase in imports causing serious injury to UK producers
SCHEDULE 6 Import duty: notification of liability, payment etc
SCHEDULE 7 Import duty: consequential amendments
SCHEDULE 8 VAT amendments connected with withdrawal from EU
SCHEDULE 9 Excise duty amendments connected with withdrawal from EU
Client questions answered
What are Domestic Goods under the Act?
(1) Goods are domestic goods for the purposes of this Part if— (a) they are wholly obtained in the United Kingdom, or (b) they have been subject to a chargeable Customs procedure.
(2) For the purposes of this section goods have been “subject to a chargeable Customs procedure” if—
(a) the goods were declared for the free-circulation procedure and the procedure has been discharged, F11 ...
(b) the goods were declared for an authorised use procedure and the procedure has been [ F12discharged, or] [ F13
(c) the goods— (i) are not Union goods and were removed to Northern Ireland (in the course of their importation into the United Kingdom or otherwise), and (ii) were declared, in accordance with Union customs legislation, for a procedure corresponding to the free-circulation procedure or the authorised use procedure and that corresponding procedure has been discharged, while the goods were in Northern Ireland, in accordance with that legislation.]
(3) Goods cease to be domestic goods if— (a) they are exported from the United Kingdom [ F14as a result of the removal of the goods from Great Britain], and (b) the export is one which is required to be made in accordance with the applicable export provisions, and the goods are then [ F15(subject to section 30A)] chargeable goods until such time (if any) as they are next subject to a chargeable Customs procedure.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (3), every export of goods [ F16resulting from the removal of the goods from Great Britain] is required to be made in accordance with the applicable export provisions unless an exception provided for by regulations made by HMRC Commissioners applies to the export.
[ F17(4A) Goods also cease to be domestic goods if they— (a) are exported from the United Kingdom as a result of their removal from Northern Ireland, and (b) are not of a description specified in regulations made by the Treasury, and the goods are then (subject to section 30A) chargeable goods until such time (if any) as they are next subject to a chargeable Customs procedure.
(4B) Regulations under subsection (4A)(b) may specify a description of goods by reference to any matter or circumstance (including, for example, any matter or circumstance relating to any person concerned with the export of such goods).]
(5) HMRC Commissioners may by regulations make provision for [ F18relevant exported goods] to retain their status as domestic goods if— (a) the goods merely pass through places outside the United Kingdom before arriving at their ultimate destination in the United Kingdom, or (b) the goods otherwise remain outside the United Kingdom for a temporary period. [ F19(5A) For the purposes of subsection (5), exported goods are “relevant” if— (a) they were exported as a result of their removal from Northern Ireland, or (b) they were exported as a result of their removal from Great Britain and were so exported in accordance with the applicable export provisions.]
(6) The provision that may be made by the regulations includes— (a) provision requiring conditions to be met in relation to the goods while they are outside the United Kingdom, and (b) provision requiring the making of a declaration in connection with their subsequent import into the United Kingdom.
(7) Goods that are in the United Kingdom are presumed to be domestic goods unless the contrary is shown.
(8) The Treasury may by regulations make provision— (a) as to cases in which goods are, or are not, to be regarded as domestic goods for the purposes of this Part, (b) for reversing the presumption that goods are domestic goods in specified cases (so that they are presumed not to be domestic goods unless the contrary is shown), and (c) asto the evidence which is to be required, or i
What are the rules for Customs Agents?
21 Customs agents
(1) A person (“the principal”) may appoint any other person (a “Customs agent”) to act on the principal's behalf for the purposes of this Part, and—
(a) the agent may make Customs declarations in the name of the principal (and in that case the agent acts as a “direct agent”), or
(b) the agent may make Customs declarations in the agent's own name (and in that case the agent acts as an “indirect agent”).
(2) The appointment of a person as a Customs agent, and the withdrawal of an appointment of a person as a Customs agent, must be disclosed to HMRC in accordance with regulations made by HMRC Commissioners.
(3) The effect of an appointment of a person as a Customs agent is that anything done under, or otherwise for the purposes of, this Part by, or in relation to, the agent is regarded as done under, or otherwise for the purposes of, this Part by, or in relation to, the principal (and not by the agent).
(4) There is an exception to this rule if a Customs agent acts as an indirect agent (and see also section 37(8)(b)).
(5) In that case, the indirect agent is liable to import duty in accordance with section 6(1) (and the principal is also liable to import duty in accordance with section 6(3)(a)).
(6) If a Customs agent acts as a direct agent, the agent is also liable to import duty if—
(a) the agent acts at time when the appointment has not been disclosed to HMRC as mentioned in subsection (2),
(b) the agent acts at a time when the appointment of the person as a Customs agent has been withdrawn, Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 (c. 22) PART 1 – Import duty Document Generated: 2021-10-16 19 Changes to legislation: Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 is up to date with all changes known to be in force on or before 16 October 2021. There are changes that may be brought into force at a future date. Changes that have been made appear in the content and are referenced with annotations. (See end of Document for details) View outstanding changes
(c) the agent otherwise purports to act on behalf of the principal when the agent has no authority to do so, or
(d) a liability to import duty is incurred by reference to the importation of goods declared for a Customs procedure and the declaration was not made in accordance with regulations under paragraph 9 of Schedule 1 (simplified Customs declarations).
(7) HMRC Commissioners may by regulations make further provision about Customs agents for the purposes of import duty.
(8) Each of the following is an example of the kind of provision that may be made by the regulations—
(a) provision requiring persons to be eligible for appointment as Customs agents only if an HMRC officer has approved the appointment, and
(b) provision specifying the criteria for approving the appointment (including provision for the criteria to be specified in a public notice given by HMRC Commissioners)
Download the Act
Notices Made Under the Act
Notices made under the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 that have the force of law. Last updated: 15 Jan 2022
15 Jan 2022
1. CHIEF / CDS
For electronic declarations into the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) specific data requirements and completion guidance relating to individual procedures are set out in the UK Trade Tariff: Volume 3 for CDS.
For electronic declarations into the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system-specific data requirements and completion guidance relating to individual procedures are set out in UK Trade Tariff: Volume 3 for CHIEF.
2. Electronic declaration for travellers
Where an electronic declaration is made by a qualifying traveller in respect of non-commercial goods or personal gifts in accompanied baggage, detailed information must be provided to HMRC, see the notice.
3. Conditions for customs declarations by mail
The Customs declaration for goods imported into Great Britain by the Universal Service Provider under the rules of the Universal Postal Convention is set in the table below.
This requirement only applies if all the following conditions are met:
a) the goods have a value that does not exceed £900
b) no application for repayment or remission is made in relation to the goods
c) the goods are not the subject of a restriction on imports imposed under any enactment
d) the goods are moved in accordance with the UP Convention
e) the declaration is submitted into the UPU CDS system operated by the Royal Mail Group
4 & 5. Exceptional cases when a customs declaration can be made in writing + process to follow
A customs declaration may be made in writing in the cases outlined in the Notice. (i) A declaration may be made in writing by the presentation of the appropriate non-electronic, written form to an HMRC officer at a customs office. (ii) Where a declaration in paper form is made because of a temporary failure of HMRC computerised system or an economic operator’s computerised system, the form must be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Provisions for bulk imports for declarations of (non-excise/non-restricted) goods not exceeding £135 using CPC code 4000003
7. A Customs declaration made using the simple Merchandise in Baggage Online Declaration Service (MODS) must contain information as per the notice.
8. Special procedures in Customs Declarations
A customs declaration must contain all the information needed for the customs procedure for which the goods are declared. Examples:
• Declaration for release for free circulation and authorised use
• Special procedure - storage - declaration for customs warehousing
• Special procedure - declaration for temporary admission
• Special procedure - processing - declaration for inward processing, and
9. Documents required when submitting customs declarations
The following text has the force of law by virtue of Paragraphs 7(1)(b) and (2) of Schedule 1 to the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018
The requirement that a Customs declaration must be accompanied by documents specified in a notice may be met by those documents being made available, at the time the Customs declaration is made, for inspection by an HMRC officer, in electronic or documentary form.
The documents must include:
evidence showing the correct value of the goods
evidence showing the origin of the goods
evidence showing the classification of the goods
all orders, invoices and delivery notes relating to the goods
all import documentation relating to the goods
the bills of lading, airway bills, consignment notes and certificates of shipment relating to the goods being declared
any required import licences, permits or certificates
Where the person making the declaration is the customs representative, then the representative must be able to provide the necessary accompanying documents.
The particular documents and document codes required for each customs procedure are laid down:
for declarations submitted on the Customs Declaration System (CDS): at Appendix 5 (A to C) of the documents and other reference codes which forms part of the UK Trade Tariff: volume 3 for CDS
for declarations submitted on the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF): in the CHIEF document, certificate and authorisation codes which forms part of the UK Trade Tariff: volume 3 for CHIEF
10. About fixed transport installation
11. Time periods for amending or withdrawing a customs declaration
A declarant may send a notification to HMRC asking to amend a declaration up to three years after a relevant event.
A declarant may send a notification to HMRC asking to withdraw a declaration up to 90 days after the occurrence of a relevant event.
12. Duty payments
Where goods are declared to the free-circulation procedure, HMRC is satisfied that the import duty relating to the goods will be paid where the person who has made a Customs declaration:
has an approved duty deferment account in place; and
that that duty deferment account is supported by a direct debit from a bank or financial institution
13. General Exchange Rate is to be used
14. Online Service for Passengers
Where an electronic declaration is made by a qualifying traveller in respect of non-commercial goods or personal gifts in accompanied baggage, HMRC are satisfied that the import duty relating to the goods will be paid where payment is made through the use of the Online Service for Passengers.
15. Advance Rulings Determining the Goods Classification Code
The process for advance ruling is detailed. Must-read for anyone applying for an Advance Ruling.
16. Advance Rulings Determining the Place of Origin
The process for advance ruling is detailed. Must-read for anyone applying for an Advance Ruling.
1 Jan 2022
5 November 2021