Register before August 1 says FTA
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BRITISH importers are facing difficulties generated by a change in government policy. In his last Budget the Chancellor made vat collectable on imports at the time and place of import. The law is due to be implemented on October 1. It means that importers will face demands for immediate cash payment, unless duty deferment facilities can be arranged. Where such duty deferment facilities are being arranged, importers will have to obtain suitable guarantees amounting to twice their monthly vat/Duty payment levels. (see also p49).
The Freight Transport Association, in conjunction with the British Importers Confederation and SITPRO, is running a series of seminars aimed at advising importers on how best to deal with likely problems. The FTA says, "The message coming from Customs & Excise speakers at each conference is that importers should register before August or duty deferment facilities are unlikely to be granted in time for October. This will mean that importers will have to pay cash until their applications are processed."
The August registration is only one part of the problem. Before an importer can register, he has to provide with his application the vat/Duty guarantee. This guarantee has to be given by an approved bank surety or insurance company. Some banks are already refusing to sign the guarantees in the format required by Customs & Excise. Others will not grant them because their customers have insufficient security available. Importers say they cannot afford to tie up their security/overdraft facilities in Customs guarantees.
The Clarkson Puckle Group, in conjunction with Excess Insurance Company Ltd, are offering importers a Customs guarantee scheme. This scheme is exclusive between Excess and Clarksons who will be handling enquiries on a 'mail order' only basis. In view of time constraints applicants are expected to apply direct to Clarkson Puckle. However in view of its exclusiveness (and the agreement with Excess) Clarkson Puckle will handle applications via other intermediaries so long as they satisfy basic requirements. They can be contacted on 01-709 0744 or through David Green at the FTA on 089 26171.