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Understanding Export Supplementary Declarations (SDs)

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 31 May 2012 | comments*Discuss
Understanding Export Supplementary Declarations (sds)

The transporting of goods for export or import usually means your business must provide a full set of documents to the customs and excise authorities. Remember that the products you are transporting are only termed export or import goods if they are moved outside of the EU (European Union). The customs documents your business must provide are called full declarations.

However, it may not be possible in some circumstances to complete a full set of documents to accompany the goods your business wants to export or import. A good example is perishable goods that have to be moved very quickly. HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) understand that it may not be possible to have a full set of documents, which is why your business can have what is called a reduced set of data to support the products you are transporting overseas.

The reduced set of data is usually what is a called a PSA (Pre-Shipment Advice) and a Supplementary Declaration (SD). Note that an SD can’t be used to replace any goods that come under the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy). Full details about SDs is in volume 3 of the Tariff.

Supplementary Declarations and Exports

If your business will be transporting products overseas that are defined as exports, that is they will be moving to a country outside of the EU, an SD must be made via the electronic system NES (National Export System). HMRC allows you export business to submit SDs via NES in a number of ways. Contact the HMRC for more information about your options and to discuss which system best suits your export business. You can call the National Export System Helpline on: 029 2038 6254.

Often it is much easier not to set-up NES for your business, but to use an agent instead. SDs can be made by agents in two ways:

Direct Representation
As its name suggests, this agent acts directly for your business and in its name. Your business is solely responsible for the information contained on the SD your agent submits.

Indirect Representation
Agents that act indirectly share the responsibility of ensuring the information that is included on an SD is accurate.

Note that in either case your business must ask for permission to submit SDs via the NES by a third party on your businesses behalf. You can download the form you need to complete to gain authorisation from the HMRC website.

Supplementary Declarations and Imports

Imported goods are defined as consignments that your business is transporting from a country outside of the EU. In all cases a full SD must be completed for each import. These are necessary so the correct amount of customs duty your business has to pay can be accurately calculated. Generally you will use the CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) system to submit your import SDs.

Many businesses also set-up and use the Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) and use this in association with their SDs to create a more efficient system. More information about CFSP is available on the HMRC website in customs notice 760.

Supplementary Declarations and the Tariff

The SDs that your business may have to submit to cover when transporting products in or out of the EU must be completely accurate. SDs have similar information that is contained in the SAD (Single Administrative Document) that HMRC use to track any goods you import or export and ensure any duty that your products attract is paid. The Tariff is your guide to ensuring you correctly classify your goods on the SDs you submit.

You will also need to include the Customs Procedure Code (CPC) on your SD as this information tracks the movement of the products you are transporting for export. More information about CPC is in volume 3 of the Tariff.

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