ICAEW welcomes the exercise to simplify customs declarations, but cautions against changes with unintended consequences.

HMRC’s call for evidence on the future of customs declarations sought views on potential simplifications to customs declarations for imports and exports. It also considered the way that businesses use technology to facilitate the completion of customs declarations and processes. 

In its response to the call for evidence, ICAEW’s Tax Faculty welcomed the exercise to remove unnecessary data requirements from customs declarations on the basis that this would save time and money for businesses importing and exporting. 

However, the faculty noted that diverging from international standards could be a false economy if traders still require the data for the corresponding declaration in another jurisdiction.  

It is also vital that data elements are not removed from customs declarations that will hinder a trader’s ability to provide the required evidence of export for VAT zero-rating.  

On this basis, the response suggested that some data elements could be moved to a different level within the declaration to simplify the declaration without removing necessary data. For example, data could be provided at header level for the entire shipment, rather than at item level. 

Finally, the response recommended the exploration of the use of technology to pre-populate customs declarations, particularly import declarations where much of the data should be available from the corresponding export declaration. 

Read ICAEW’s response. 

ICAEW’s Tax Faculty is recognised internationally as a leading authority and source of expertise on taxation. The faculty is the voice of tax for ICAEW, responsible for all submissions to the tax authorities. Join the Faculty for expert guidance and support enabling you to provide the best advice on tax to your clients or business.

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