Business, Freight News

ERTS talks reach impasse

[ August 31, 2012   //   ]

Talks between the freight industry and HM Revenue and Customs on future controls for goods moving to Enhanced Remote Transit Sheds broke up without any firm agreement on 30 August. The trade is pressing for the status quo to be maintained after the review highlighted some different interpretations of the current law, between the trade and HMRC. Neither side significantly shifted its position during the talks in London last Thursday.

Current rules, which were formulated many years ago and in fact have never been formalised, are flexible and there is little evidence of widespread tax and duty evasion, argued Peter MacSwiney, chairman of freight software firm Agency Sector Management. “There are no written procedures for goods moving under what is referred to as ‘Simplified Transit’ or ‘Movement of Goods Under Temporary Storage within a CSP Systemto ERTS facilities, but we would want to continue doing what we’ve been doing. HMRC are saying that we should not be able to clear goods before they physically get to the ERTS facility, which will add 12-15 hours to clearance times. But we are saying that current procedures do protect revenue while preserving transit times – in effect, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But unfortunately HMRC don’t agree.”

MacSwiney, who interrupted his holiday to attend the meeting, added that he was disappointed that HMRC did not seem to be willing to be more robust in its defence of the current system in a forthcoming EU Audit.

Agreement about the existing system is necessary as existing Customs law

ceases in July 2013 and is due to be replaced by the EU’s new Union Customs Code, which is still in the process of finalistaion – further developments can be expected.

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