You can hire a person or business to deal with customs for you, such as:
What they can do for you (and who will be liable) depends on:
They can act for you either as a:
They cannot act on your behalf without written instructions from you. The instruction must show whether they’re acting for you directly or indirectly. HMRC will only ask for evidence of the authorisation if we need it.
They’ll need to be established in the EU.
You can use the list of customs agents and fast parcel operators to help find someone to deal with customs for you.
Freight forwarders move goods around the world for importers.
A freight forwarder will arrange clearing your goods through customs. They’ll have the right software to communicate with HMRC’s systems.
Customs agent or broker
Customs agents and brokers make sure your goods clear through customs.
Fast parcel operators
Fast parcel operators transport documents, parcels and freight across the world in a specific time frame. They can deal with customs for you, as part of their delivery.
Get someone to act directly
You can hire a person or business to act in your name. You’ll be solely liable for:
But if you give clear instructions and they make a deliberate or unreasonable error, they may become jointly and severally liable.
You cannot ask someone to act directly if they’re submitting your declarations using:
They can only do this if you have the appropriate authorisation yourself.
Get someone to act indirectly
You can get someone to act for you in their own name, this means they’re:
If they have authorisation, you can get an indirect agent to make declarations using:
You cannot ask someone to act indirectly if you’re declaring goods for:
Changes from 1 January 2021
If you hire someone to deal with customs for you, they’ll need to be established in the UK.
Using direct representation for simplified declarations
If you’re established in the UK and import goods into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) you can ask someone to act directly using their own authorisation, to make declarations using:
You should agree with the person dealing with customs for you if you need to have a duty deferment account to make payments or if they’ll use their own.
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