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How Can Speedy Freight Help With EU Returns, Post-Brexit?

It’s probably no surprise that, six months on from the UK’s exit from the EU, the nation is still getting to grips with what Brexit means for the freight industry. With the Free Trade Deal (FTA) agreed in December 2020, the conditions of Britain’s exit from the EU had been clearly delineated – but those conditions weren’t without their challenges! 

One such area which has experienced a great deal of change in the last six months is the issue of international return of goods. This refers to goods which originate in either the EU or UK, are sent to the other, and then subsequently need returning to their country of origin. The challenges of providing these returns between the UK and the EU have meant many small businesses have struggled with the cost and administrative work of fulfilling these conditions – which is where Speedy Freight can step in. 

With Speedy’s support, companies can easily and smoothly process returns between the UK and the EU, ensuring all the correct documentation is completed and that all required transactions can take place as scheduled. Let’s learn more:


What is the difficulty of post-Brexit returns?

Here in the UK, a great deal of ecommerce businesses have struggled to meet the high cost requirements of this shipping and returns process. These costs include the cost of import VAT, required payment of customs duties or excise duty on goods which are being returned by customers. It’s also understandably complex: the process of returning goods between the UK and EU now requires ‘returned goods’ documentation and customs. A complicated process, returns can therefore be a challenge to a huge number of those seeking to return goods between the EU and the UK after Brexit.


Relief Claiming: Returned Goods & Tariff Relief

Today, it is possible for businesses in the UK to reclaim import VAT and customs duties in scenarios where the goods are largely unaltered. 

This relief, known as Returned Goods Relief, is available to those re-importing goods into the UK which have previously been exported. There are several caveats, of course: the goods must be re-imported in an unaltered state, with the exception of any necessary maintenance, and the goods cannot have been upgraded to increase their value.

This relief also includes partial reimports – which tackles the partial returns of the consignment as well, and can be done up to three years from the date of the original export. Naturally, this means its scope can expand to include e-commerce returns, which means that e-commerce businesses can capitalise on the relief claims too.


How can I reclaim VAT and duties?

Reclaiming VAT and duties is a complex business for those seeking to return goods post-Brexit. For clients who are seeking to reclaim tariffs or import VAT on reimports, it is necessary for them to produce the original export declaration (form C88) and complete special reclaim forms (C1314 and C&E 1158) which are available from both the UK and EU tax authorities. These forms have the information regarding the goods, such as their commodity codes and any changes to the goods, which may affect the claimant’s right to reclaim import taxes.


What do I need to reclaim VAT and duties?

If you’re seeking to reclaim VAT and duties (or you think you may need to!) it is important to ensure you keep the following documents, for at least four years:

  • any National Imports Relief Unit acknowledgement letters (applicable to imports of gallery/museum exhibits)
  • Receipt
  • Bill
  • Invoices
  • and insurance documents. 

What is a Carnet? 

A Carnet, otherwise known as a Merchandise Passport or a Passport for Goods, is the name given to a document which is an international customs and temporary export-import document. Used in 87 countries and territories, a Carnet removes the need to pay duties and import taxes on merchandise that will be re-exported within 12 months. 


How do I obtain a Carnet?

Gaining a Carnet can take as little as 24 hours, and requires the following steps: 

  • Gathering information listed on the application checklist (check that out here)
  • Registering online for an account 
  • Logging in to complete and submitting the application for carnet and bond application.
  • While you are then logged in, you need to provide a payment method as well as a method of overnight delivery

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