The Risks Facing Traders

The complexities of Brexit and the speed at which firms in Ireland and the UK have had to respond to new trading realities have meant a scramble for “new” Customs knowledge. In many cases, the practical burden of Customs compliance and the paperwork resulting from the changed EU-UK trading relationship have fallen on trusted individuals within companies, with little Customs training. Businesses have prioritised the movement of goods and have relied on Customs agents and transport companies for practical guidance.

The number of Customs declarations made in Ireland and the UK has increased substantially. Irish Revenue has recently said that its officials received 29.8 million customs declarations in 2021, compared to barely more than one million the previous year. More than 90% of declarations were for imports, as Irish buyers of goods from Britain made up the bulk.

With Customs controls now in place for EU-UK trade, Customs audits will be an increasingly common feature of business life.

Any trader can be selected for an audit, with limited notice. Revenue authorities have wide powers and typically a comprehensive list of things to investigate, going back as far as three years for Customs and seven years for VAT. Companies often don’t know what to expect and aren’t familiar with the paperwork that they need to hold, to be ready for such a visit.

The Response: Bespoke Customs Audit Review and Diagnostic of Your Business

Trade Advisers has launched a new, tailor-made Customs Audit Review and Diagnostic Service, to help companies in Ireland and the UK to assess/improve their Customs compliance and to be prepared for Customs audits. We interact with the relevant company departments and review your businesses’ Customs procedures, to produce a bespoke diagnostic report with recommended actions.

We can carry out this work face-to-face or online (e.g. Zoom).

Our diagnostic covers the following topics:

·       Classification and whether the commodity codes used are appropriate.

·       Valuation and the firm’s calculations for accurate Customs purposes.

·       Origin and preferences, to ensure appropriate proof is held when claiming favourable treatment.

·       Customs procedures and codes to reduce import duty requirements, where appropriate.

·       Paperwork/evidence requirements and the length of time documents need to be stored.

·       Contractual clauses, including Incoterms (terms of trade).

·       Standard operating procedures to minimise errors and reduce risk.

The duration of this process will depend on the nature and volume of the products, the number of countries traded with and the complexity of the supply chain.  

We offer a FREE 30 minute consultation to talk you through the process and to learn more about your business so that we can offer a tailored quote.

Our Team

We have assembled a panel of specialists with strong subject knowledge and experience of delivering these interventions in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK.

Tom McGrath. Prior to his work at Trade Advisers, Tom was the Head of the Customs Audit Unit in Irish Revenue’s Large Cases Division. He has experience of completing Customs audits and diagnostic reports for businesses on the island of Ireland.

Richard Bartlett has long experience of logistics and international trade and, with Trade Advisers, has trained companies in Ireland and the UK. He is the former director of a British logistics company, with a valuable understanding of the practical Customs compliance challenges that companies face. Richard has experience of running Customs audit diagnostics for businesses in the UK.

Brendan McAuley is the Senior Strategist at Trade Advisers and an Executive Director of the International Trade Institute - where he teaches the Classification Module in the Professional Diploma in International Trade Compliance. He specialises in the Customs, tariff, non-tariff barriers, logistics and supply chain implications of the changed EU-UK relationship and in helping companies address compliance challenges.

You May Get Financial Support

Grant assistance may be available to businesses on the island of Ireland, from InterTradeIreland or from your local Skillnet.

Please ask us for more information.

For Further Information or to Book a Free 30 Minute Consultation

Please contact Brendan McAuley or Michael Boyd


Phone (UK): +44 (0) 7833171232

Phone (Ireland): +353 87 620 9161

Customs Audits – Are You Prepared?
Brendan McAuley

Senior Strategist

See Author's Bio

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