Cross-Border Transportation with the Latest Customs and Traffic Regulations in the UK

Customs and traffic regulations for cross border transportation to the UK

The UK left the single market and customs union following the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020. This means that cross-border transportation of goods between the UK and the rest of the EU is now subject to customs formalities. Border checks, tariffs, and duties are applicable on goods entering and leaving the UK.

Take a look at some of the new customs and traffic regulations for Imports from the EU to the UK and Exports from the UK to the EU.

Imports from the EU to the UK

Customs Declarations: Customs declarations provide government authorities with information about goods being imported and exported. These typically include information about the type of goods, transport, customs value, and any applicable tariffs or duties. Full declarations are required for controlled goods (e.g., excise goods like tobacco and alcohol). For standard goods (most goods), simplified customs requirements are required.

Customs Duties and VAT: Tariffs may be applicable on goods traded between UK and EU. Import VAT is also applicable to relevant goods.

Safety and Security Declarations: These declarations summarize the goods in any consignment and are part of the World Customs Organization framework. These declarations have to be submitted in advance of import, and an EU exit summary declaration, as well as a UK entry summary declaration, is required.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) check: The import and export of live animals, products of animal origin, and some plants and other agri-food products are subject to additional checks at the border. At the border, goods can be subject to documentary checks, identity checks, and physical checks.  The UK authorities must be pre-notified about importing high-risk live animals and plants (and animal and plant products).

Excise Duties: Excise duties are taxes levied on products that can damage consumer health or pollute the environment, such as alcohol and tobacco. Businesses importing excise goods must pay the UK excise duties.

Exports from the UK to the EU

Customs Declarations: Full customs declarations, including UK export declarations and EU import declarations, are required.

Customs Duties and VAT: If applicable, tariffs and import VAT are payable at the time of export, unless traders are eligible to defer payments.

Safety and Security Declarations: A UK exit summary declaration and EU entry summary declaration are required.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) check: Full SPS checks, including a UK Export Health Certificates requirement, are in place.

Excise Duties: Excise goods are subject to the rules applied by the importing EU member state.

Most cross-border transportation arrives by lorry at the Port of Dover or Channel Tunnel and leaves within minutes of arrival. Other than the customs declarations and duties mentioned above, there are also additional steps that UK goods vehicle operators need to take. These steps are registering their vehicles, applying for operator licenses and permits, and getting the correct vehicle documents.

AM International Solicitors are experts in EU and International Law and can help you answer any other questions you may have regarding cross-border transportation and customs and traffic regulations. Contact us here.

Top Immigration Issues and How to Avoid Them

immigration issues and how to avoid them

If you are a British citizen or are currently living in the UK and wish to bring your spouse, partner or children into the country, or if you are a European citizen and wish to secure your right to stay in the UK, then you will need to go through the UK Visa application process or the process of obtaining an EU Settlement Scheme permit.

Immigration to the UK post-Brexit can be a complicated process, during which you may face several problems. Let’s look at some issues you may come across during the immigration process that can cause delays in the processing or lead to the refusal of your UK visa application and how to avoid them.

Not Meeting Sponsor Financial Requirements

Not meeting the Home Office Financial Requirements or not providing sufficient financial supporting documentation is an issue people often face. If you are sponsoring a spouse, partner, or child to get their UK Visa and do not meet the financial requirements a sponsor needs to have, then it is likely that the Visa application will be rejected. It is important that you start to collect documentation methodically and with enough time before they are due to be submitted. Acquiring financial documents, whether from the bank or your place of employment, can take some time, and it is better not to leave this till the last minute. You may want to get the help of an immigration advice service for this.

Not Meeting Sponsor Accommodation Requirements

While sponsoring a spouse, partner, or child, your application may be rejected on the terms of your accommodation not meeting the requirement that should the application be accepted, your home will not be legally overcrowded. To avoid this problem, acquire a UK Immigration Property Inspection Report.

Not Meeting the Home Office English Language Requirement

If you are a foreign national applying for a UK Immigration Visa, The Home Office requires you to take and pass an English Language test called the Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not passing the test may be grounds for your application to be rejected. Many people prefer to take SELT courses beforehand to be better prepared for the test to avoid this problem.

Missing the Correct Document or Having Incomplete Paperwork

Whether you are applying for a UK Visa for a family member or a European Citizen applying for an EU Settlement Scheme permit, you need to make sure you have all your supporting documentation. Not having the right documentation can lead to your application being denied or a delay of up to six months. To avoid this problem, make sure you have a detailed checklist of the documentation needed or help from an immigration advice service.

AM International Solicitors has some of the best immigration solicitors in UK immigration law. Contact us for assistance in the immigration application process.

What Brexit Means for Tobacco Control

What Brexit Means for Tobacco Control

On January 31, 2020, the UK became the first and only sovereign country ever to leave the European Union after 47 years of membership. After almost half a century of membership in the EU bloc, the British economy is tightly integrated into that of the EU single market. This means that many laws and regulations active in the UK have their origins in the EU, including tobacco control measures.

Opportunity for the UK to Strengthen Tobacco Control

The UK’s emancipation from EU’s laws brings it the flexibility to tighten its world-leading comprehensive tobacco control measures and it can enjoy better freedom to implement tobacco tax that can increase the price of cheap tobacco products. In addition, it can implement more direct policies, such as the imposition of minimum prices and price caps. Research has shown that higher prices are one of the most effective deterrents to purchase of tobacco products.

Moreover, with about 96% of UK tobacco products coming from the EU in recent years, a no-deal Brexit as well as the implementation of the new Tobacco Control Plan by the end of this year is likely to raise tobacco and cigarette prices significantly.

Brexit offers a chance for the UK to improve its public health; however, it can do the opposite if rules are relaxed. In addition, the benefits of Brexit will not extend to Northern Ireland, which is considered a part of the EU custom unions and is subject to following its rules and regulations, and will continue to have tariff-free imports to and from the EU bloc.

In addition, Northern Ireland will also hold the current warning labels and photos on tobacco packaging while the UK switches to using Australian imagery. Another benefit for tobacco control due to Brexit is the elimination to the import of cheap EU duty-paid tobacco, as well as reduced chances of smuggling because of stricter border controls. The British government has also reduced tobacco allowance that travellers from the EU can bring in with them to 200 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco from 800 cigarettes.

When it comes to UK tobacco control, the benefits of Brexit will only be seen if the government is diligent about seizing the opportunity and continuing to mitigate the harms related to tobacco sales. Some health analysts are concerned that the government will place priority more on business interests, post-Brexit, and the negative health impacts related to the use of tobacco will take less precedence, causing the tobacco regulations in the country to suffer.

About 6.9 million people (14.1% of the population) in the UK smoke as of 2019. Reducing tobacco use needs to remain a public health priority if the government hopes to make its dream of a “smoke-free” UK in the next decade a reality.

With the global COVID-19 pandemic occupying most of the attention of the nation, the smoking problem in the UK can easily be overlooked. If this happens, smoking will remain the leading cause of death in the country and will continue to cause more deaths every year than even the pandemic has to date.

UK VAT: Supplying Services to EU States

Supplying Services to EU States

From 1st January 2021, following the end of the UK’s transition period with the European Union, the VAT rules between Britain and the EU member states will become the same as the existing rules for supplying services from the UK to outside the European Union. This guide will explain how the VAT is now charged and accounted for on services that are supplied from the UK to the EU.

United Kingdom VAT Rules

Below are listed the VAT rules of the United Kingdom.

  • VAT (valued added tax) is charged on most goods and services that are traded within the UK and EU.
  • Businesses need to pay VAT when they bring their goods in the United Kingdom.
  • UK VAT is not charged at the point of sale.
  • For services, the “place of supply” rules determine the countries where businesses need to charge and account for VAT.

VAT Rules from 1st January 2021

The United Kingdom continues to charge VAT, and the rules concerning the domestic transactions in the UK to apply businesses in the same way as they did before. On the whole, VAT procedures remain the same as those before 31st December 2020; however, there have been some changes to the VAT rules after the Brexit between the UK and EU member states.

Supplying Services to the European Union Member States

The supply of services to member states in the EU from 1ST January 2021 is treated the same way as countries outside the EU when it comes to VAT purposes. The “place of supply” rules continue to be applied but there have been some changes to them. For businesses based in the UK, supplying digital services to non-business customers in the EU, the place of supply is wherever the customer lives. These services are subject to VAT in the EU states where the customer lives.

For financial and insurance companies based in the UK, the input VAT deduction rules changed from 1st January 2021, and supplies of services that were formerly exempt now follow the same rules when it comes to supplying such services to consumers who reside outside the European Union.

For a UK company that is supplying B2C or B2B services to the EU, if the particular services all under the “place of supply” rule, then the services are outside the parameters of VAT. The UK-based company should still include the sale in their VAT returns. However, an EC list will not be required. To supply digital services, companies based in the UK should register for the non-union scheme or register for VAT in every EU member state where they supply their services.

If a UK-based company provides digital services to the EU, then this would fall under the reverse charge category, and the invoice should mention that the supply falls under this category. The EU customer will then account for the VAT in their own country.

Finding More About Brexit Changes to VAT

New VAT rules can always be implemented when importing and exporting goods from the EU. For more updated information upon the changes to VAT, it is important that businesses seek confirmation relating to their specific circumstances.

Transport Logistics after Brexit

Cargo container ship

Months after Brexit, there is still a lot to figure out regarding transport logistics within the UK and with EU states. We examine the implications for transportation and logistics service providers. Read on to learn about the

Important Conditions for Successful Trade Flow

During a roundtable with representatives from the EU and the UK governments in February 2021, Seamus Leheny, policy manager for Northern Ireland at the leading trade group Logistics UK, expressed the sector’s concerns about the protocol’s implementation, stating that the right processes need to be in place for the protocol to be successful in enabling trade flows. Logistics UK established three important conditions.

  • The organisation would like to see the creation of a “retail mobility scheme” to govern the transportation of agri-food commodities, plants, and animals between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. To avoid excessive administration and delays, the checks on these commodities, known as sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks, must be commensurate to the low health risks that these items present.
  • The sector requires the implementation of a Trusted Trader designation for package operators in order to decrease the costly administrative hurdles placed on business-to-consumer consignments.
  • To enable the successful execution of these programmes, the grace periods must be extended sufficiently for longer term simplifications to be agreed upon and put into practice.

Some of the transition requirements phased out at the end of March. As a result, the UK government requested an extension until 2023.

The CE / UKCA Marking Regimes

The UK government extended the deadline for businesses to apply new conformity assessment markings to products placed on the market in the UK by a year. For products placed on the UK market, the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) label will replace the ‘CE’ mark (needed in the EU).

The UKCA mark went into effect on 1 January 2021. However, to give businesses more time to comply with the new regulations, a transitional period was granted in which the CE mark could still be used on new items until 1 January 2022. In August 2021, the government officially confirmed that the transition period would be extended until 1 January 2023.

The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced the extension stating that the continued effect of the epidemic was the primary driver. However, the growing demand following Brexit resulted in major backlogs and delays, which undoubtedly played a role in BEIS decision-making.

It should be noted that this change has no bearing on broader (Brexit-related) product compliance issues, such as the new ‘importer’ responsibilities that went into effect this year (from 1 January 2021).

What Is the New Route to Europe?

After Brexit, carriers started looking for new routes between Ireland and the EU to bypass the UK landbridge, which now requires additional Customs, checks, and delays. Consequently, Ireland’s top port for accessing mainland Europe, Rosslare Europort, emerged as a new gateway to the continent.

Since the Brexit transition period expired, Irish traders have been shipping products directly to European ports. Because they frequently employ ferry services between Rosslare and the French ports of Dunkirk and Cherbourg, traffic to the Irish port has increased.

Ferry services from Rosslare Europort boosted freight volume by 45%. Meanwhile, the UK traffic decreased by 49%, while European freight increased by 446%. In response to rising demand, Rosslare Europort inaugurated expanded services by Brittany Ferries between Rosslare and Saint-Malo in France and Bilbao in Spain in January and February of this year.

The Bottom Line 

Although the EU/UK agreement provides for free commerce, Brexit means a border between the two territories, necessitating Customs clearance and significant paperwork about compliance issues for cross-border trade. If you are a business operating in the transportation and logistics, seeking information relating to your specific circumstances is advisable. Contact us today if you have any queries.

Decision Announced on Polish Extradition Cases on Rule of Law Challenge

On September 23, 2021, the High Court of Justice pronounced judgment in the joint cases of Robert Wozniak v the Circuit Court in Gniezno and Wojciech Chlabicz v the Regional Court in Bialystok, in which the appellants argued that their extradition to Poland to face criminal trials would violate their right to a fair trial because the rule of law was seriously compromised in the country.

Poland requested the extradition of Robert Wozniak so that he could serve his sentence of eight months and 28 days of the 9-month sentence imposed on him. The European Arrest Warrant for Wozniak was issued on February 13, 2019, and Wozniak was arrested on September 4, 2019. The warrant alleged that Wozniak caused damage to a door using a ladder in January 2014, subsequent to a 6-month sentence for a similar offence that was committed within five years.

A district judge ordered Wozniak’s extradition on October 30, 2019, in response to which Wozniak lodged an appeal relying on the European Convention on Human Rights, claiming that the legislative changes in Poland means the EAW was no longer valid.

Wozniak is also subject to a second mixed accusation and conviction EAW for which extradition was ordered on March 18, 2021. The warrant claimed that Wozniak obstructed police offer, made false accounting in relation to VAT returns and committed VAT fraud. Permission to appeal this case has not yet been determined.

The second appellant, Wojciech Chlabicz, was requested to be extradited so that he could stand trial for two assault offences committed in June 2014. The sentence of the first assault is three years and for the second assault is two years. The EAW for this was issued by the Regional Court in Bialystok on June 13, 2019, and the Chlabicz was arrested on September 13, 2019.

He was granted permission to appeal on March 20, 2020, on the grounds that the extradition would breach his right to a fair trial after the legislative changes in Poland.

On September 23, Dame Victoria Sharp, P and Knowles J dismissed the appeal in the joint case, stating that while there was a real risk of violation of the rule of law in Poland, there was not enough evidence to point to a risk of violation of the essence of the fair trial rights in the case of the two appellants.

There is expected to be some developments in the extradition case in the coming two weeks since there is still an outstanding decision on Article 3 to be made.

Since 2015, Poland has been undergoing a series of legislative reforms related to the judiciary after the governing Law and Justice Party came into power. These reforms have raised concerns over the EU bloc about the democratic standards in Poland and the undermining of the rights of fair trial and the independence of the judiciary in the country. Tensions came to a head on December 2020, following the posting of proposed European Union budgetary measures that recommended cutting off funding to countries that are in breach of the rule of law. Currently, the execution of this measure is still on hold while its validity is being considered by the CJEU.

Update: In the latest development, the lawyers for Wozniak, led by Émilie Pottle, has lodged an application for leave to the Supreme Court and the High Court has varied its decision in all Polish extradition cases — including the Chlabicz and Wozniak case — and placed a stay in all pending cases. The court did not say when the stay will be lifted and it could well be so for months. If the Supreme Court give leave to appeal, the stay may last till next year.

Appealing a Decision by the Immigration & Asylum Tribunal

A judge signing documents

If you believe the first-tier tribunal made a legal error, you can appeal to the Upper Tribunal. The tribunal is independent of the government and hears all sides of the case before making a judgement.

However, if you wish to appeal a decision, first, it is imperative to know the legal requirements and technicalities. Read on to learn everything you need to know about appealing a decision by the immigration and asylum tribunal.

When to Appeal a Decision

You can appeal a decision if you believe the judgement is legally incorrect. However, you must be able to demonstrate the error. A judgement may be incorrect in the following instances:

  • The tribunal did not apply the right legislation or read the law incorrectly
  • Proper procedures were not followed
  • The tribunal had no proof or insufficient evidence to back up its judgement

How to Appeal 

The first step is to request permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal from the First-tier Tribunal. You will be given a form to request permission. Fill it correctly and a copy of the judgement. Send the documents to the address mentioned on the form to receive permission to make an appeal. However, keep in mind that you must request permission to appeal within a specified amount of time after receiving your judgement.

The deadline is determined by whether you are inside or outside the UK.

If you reside inside the UK, you must make the appeal within 14 days from the date specified in the written reasons for the judgments. On the other hand, if you are outside the UK, you must appeal within 28 days from the date specified in the written reasons for the judgments.

What Documents You Will Need

Here is a list of documents that must be submitted with the application.

  • The First-tier Tribunal’s judgement
  • The First-tier Tribunal’s ‘refusal to admit the application’ or ‘notice of refusal to appeal’
  • A statement stating your grounds for believing the First-tier Tribunal erred
  • Any additional pertinent papers you submitted to the First-tier Tribunal

You must also submit any written documentation that demonstrates why you believe the First-tier Tribunal committed a legal error. When applying after the deadline, you must explain why you are late in writing. The tribunal will next determine whether or not to consider your application.

What Happens If Permission to Appeal Is Denied?

If the First-tier Tribunal denies or the request or grants permission to appeal on limited grounds, you can petition to the Upper Tribunal for permission to appeal. It requires filling out the permission request form for the Upper Tribunal and submitting it to the address on the form, along with the necessary papers. You must also state whether or not you want a hearing.

If the case was tried as a Detained Immigration Appeal at the Harmondsworth or Yarl’s Wood hearing centres, send the application and documents to the Harmondsworth. The deadline for requesting permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal is 14 days after the decision’s date if you live in the UK and one month after the decision’s date if you are outside the UK.

The Bottom Line

You can request the decision to be based merely on the information/documents you have provided or opt for a hearing. Either way, it is advisable to seek guidance from an immigration expert.

Contact us to learn more or appeal a decision by the Immigration & Asylum Tribunal. We will help you explore your options and guide you at every step of the way.

Understanding VAT Evasion: All You Need to Know

coins representing wealth

Value Added Tax (VAT) is a tax charged on UK businesses for their supply of goods or services that are categorized as taxable. It’s imperative that the tax is collected by a taxable individual in the business who must have registered for VAT requirements.

VAT manifests as input tax and output tax. The former is paid by a particular individual for the supply of the goods and services pertaining to them. Output tax is charged by a business that supplies the goods and services.

What Is VAT Evasion?

VAT evasion is a form of tax fraud committed by individuals and businesses that are required to pay VAT. It’s the most common type of tax fraud carried out in the UK and has serious implications and consequences. Any party found engaging in VAT evasion may be fined civil penalties, interest, criminal charges, o

VAT evasion occurs when a VAT registered business or trader suppresses their sales or inflates their purchases, thereby failing to declare their VAT returns. This intentional non-payment and failure to declare their true liability is a criminal offence. Businesses suspected of VAT evasion are targeted by HMRC and typically comprise cash-based ventures such as laundrettes, pubs, restaurants, taxi firms, and the likes.

typewriter with a document stating “tax return”

HMRC Penalties for VAT evasion

VAT evasion a classified as a criminal offence under section 72(1) of the Value Added Tax Act.

HMRC is the regulatory body responsible for conducting the primary investigation for VAT evasion. If you’re a suspect for VAT evasion or your case is eligible for criminal prosecution, you’re likely to face penalties under the civil evasion penalty regime. Typically, the penalty for this tax offence (VAT credits) is 100% of the amount evaded. In the case of payments and refunds, the penalty equates to the aggregate of the amount of input tax that you overstated and the amount of output tax that was understated. If you self-report the offence, you may face penalty mitigation with a reduction of up to 40% provided that you give an honest explanation for unintentional VAT evasion.

If you’re found guilty of VAT evasion, the Crown Court can issue you an unlimited fine and up to 7 years of imprisonment. Additionally, you may also be charged under the Fraud Act of 2006.

Are you being investigated for a potential VAT evasion case? Our criminal defence solicitors at AM International Solicitors can help you with VAT offences and excise duty assessments.

Get in touch with our criminal defence solicitors today!

r default surcharges.

Here’s Why You Need to Hire a Criminal Defence Solicitor

gravel representing justice

The criminal justice system in the UK is famous for its dedication towards serving justice. However, it’s naive to think that you can easily navigate through the judicial system on your own when you’ve been accused of a crime.

In this case, you need to hire a criminal defence solicitor. Here’s why.

They Provide Thorough Legal Representation

Let’s be honest; undergoing a criminal investigation is no joke. It’s a taxing and overwhelming process. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time could land you in even deeper waters than you already are, and severely worsen your case. In these trying times, you need legal representation to not just guide you through the process but also act on your behalf.

Criminal defence solicitors can help you with this. They act on your behalf throughout the criminal investigation, whether this means representing you in court or speaking on your behalf when interacting with authority figures. They also help ease the nerve-wracking experience and ensure that you don’t do or say anything that could damage your case.

They Have Access to Resources Needed to Efficiently Handle Your Case

Professional criminal defence lawyers also have an expansive network of resources and connections that equip them to handle cases efficiently. They have the tools and the skills needed to prepare winning strategies and backup plans throughout your case.

Accessing reports, evidence, witnesses, and other crucial resources on your own can be challenging. With a criminal defence solicitor by your side, you won’t have to worry about this part of the process.

prison cell

They Can Help You Get the Best Outcome

A criminal solicitor is well-versed in criminal law. Experienced and professional criminal defence lawyers have dealt with all sorts of cases and have the knowledge and expertise needed to navigate through yours. Thus, they’ll do everything in their power to ensure that you get the best possible outcome in whatever scenario you have to encounter and will go out of their way to protect your interests.

Even if you’re caught in an ugly criminal investigation and can only picture the worst case scenario, a criminal defence solicitor will improve your chances of things turning out in your favour. A professional solicitor knows when and how to negotiate, file for a plea, and advocate on their client’s behalf. By hiring one for your case, your chances of attaining the best possible outcome are significantly higher than they’d be otherwise.

The team at AM International Solicitors provides thorough criminal defence services. They also offer their legal expertise in navigating through cross-border disputes, VAT offences, and excise duty assessments.

Get in touch with our criminal defence solicitors today!