Exports – ‘Presentation’

Hi – David here once more.

Export documents raised?  What happens next…

Whether you use a clearance agent or forwarder to raise export documents for you or if you get brave and try to raise your own, once the documents are raised further steps are required.

The goods must be ‘presented’ to customs by notifying HMR&C that they have arrived at the place where customs controls are completed.  This is done electronically via customs software and rather confusingly is referred to as ‘arriving the goods for export’.  Somebody was out to lunch when they coined that one.  Basically this is stating the goods are at the [air]port and ready to load.  This function must be performed by an authorised party referred to as a ’loader’.

The ‘arrival’ message will cause the customs software to issue a ‘route’.  This means either some form of customs intervention checking documents and/or goods or issuing a ‘P2P’ – permission to progress.  Put in sensible language this just means OK the goods can load and leave the UK.  Why they cannot just say that is beyond me.

Once the goods have gone, they must be ‘departed’.  At last, terminology that makes sense.  Must be a slip up…  This task is also performed by the authorised ‘loader’ via customs software.  A departure report is issued, being an electronic message called a ‘S8’.  This is the primary evidence your VAT officer needs to accept VAT zero rating for export in your VAT return.

Any goods with P2P that fail to leave must be notified to HMR&C.

Note:  in a no deal Brexit, S8 messages will not be issued for high risk or licensable goods.  It is currently unclear at 21st February, 2019, what form of alternative evidence of export will be accepted by your VAT officer in support of export VAT zero rating.  There may be an ‘easement’ issued by HMR&C or possibly other recognised alternative forms of evidence will be acceptable (e.g. shipped on board bill of lading, awb with flight details, forwarder’s certificate of shipment).


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