HMRC extends deadline for £8m of funding for customs training

Businesses moving goods in and out of the EU can benefit from customs training and IT improvement grants from HMRC - the deadline to apply is being extended but only till the end of May

 customs training

HMRC is providing grant funding and advice to businesses on trading in the EU ahead of an exit

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announced that the deadline for applications for an £8m government initiative to help businesses prepare for EU Exit including customs training has been extended to 31 May 2019.

It says this will enable more businesses to benefit from the investment available and provide more time for applications. So far there have been over 300 applications and businesses are being urged to apply as soon as possible to avoid missing out.

The funding is designed to support customs intermediaries and traders completing customs declarations and can be used to help businesses meet the costs of employee training and IT improvements.

The £8m funding comprises:

  • £2 million to fund training for intermediaries and traders completing customs declarations (or intending to complete customs declarations in the future). The grant will provide funding for up to 50% of the cost of training staff;
  • £3 million in IT improvement funding, available to small and medium sized employers in the customs intermediaries sector currently completing customs declarations on behalf of importers and exporters. The grant will fund investment in packaged software that increases the automation and productivity of completing customs declarations;
  • £3 million was invested to increase training provision. HMRC provided the funding to service provider Knowledge Pool which is engaging with training providers to increase the number of courses available in the short term, as well as investing in the development of new courses which will be available over the coming months to support customs broker training.

In March, HMRC announced that in the event of no deal, importers using Transitional Simplified Procedures  (TSP) can postpone doing customs declarations for six months from the date the UK exits the EU. This funding gives people time to apply and become comfortable in doing these declarations.

There are two different grants that you can apply for to help your business complete customs declarations are:

  • a training grant to help your employees to complete customs declarations and processes, and
  • an IT improvements grant to help your business complete customs declarations more efficiently

To apply for the training grant a business must either:

  • complete customs declarations for itself or someone else (or intend to in the future)
  • import from, or export to the EU and complete customs declarations (or intend to complete customs declarations in the future).

For the IT improvements grant a business must:

  • currently complete customs declarations for importers and exporters;
  • have 250 employees or fewer;
  • have an annual turnover of less than €50 million.

The types of funding available

There are two different grants that you can apply for to help your business complete customs declarations:

  • a training grant to help your employees to complete customs declarations and processes, and
  • an IT improvements grant to help your business complete customs declarations more efficiently

Applications must be made online.

Mel Stride MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “We are doing everything we can to get businesses ready for the UK leaving the EU, however businesses also need to take action themselves to prepare. There is help available – we have provided funding to support businesses with customs processes, and we are now extending the deadline to 31 May 2019 giving more time for applications.”

Further reading:

EORI numbers and how to apply for one

UK SMEs plan to boost European sales despite Brexit uncertainty

This article firs appeared on Small Business’ sister site Tax Guide

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