Government grants available for businesses that complete customs declarations
Elizabeth Wilson 15 January 2019 No comments
In “Grants for businesses that complete Customs declarations”, HMRC explains that in preparation for the UK’s exit from the EU, certain businesses can apply for two grants to support training and increased automation, under an £8 million government investment.
In a “no deal” Brexit scenario, the free movement of goods between the UK and EU member states will end on 29 March 2019 and export/import declarations will be required on the new Customs Declaration Service system for all movements of goods to and from EU countries. This will result in a significant increase in the volume of customs declarations.
The government has engaged extensively with industry bodies and key providers of customs broker services to better understand the challenges they will face in supporting clients, and in September 2018 announced a one-off investment of £8 million to support broker training and IT improvements to help increase the sector’s capacity.
Businesses eligible for the grants
Businesses that can now apply for one, or both, of the grants are those that complete customs declarations and are based in, or have a branch in, the UK. This includes customs brokers, freight forwarders and fast parcel operators.
Businesses also have to meet certain requirements, depending on the grant applied for (see below).
The grant is available to fund training that helps employees to complete customs declarations and processes. The training does not need to lead to a formal qualification.
The training grant is available where a business either:
- completes its own customs declarations or does so for someone else (or intends to in the future); or,
- exports or imports to/from the EU and completes customs declarations (or intends to do so in the future).
The value of the training grants awarded will be as follows:
- For businesses with fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover of less than EUR 50 million: up to 60% of training costs, up to a limit of £1,050 per employee on a course.
- For businesses with fewer than 50 employees and an annual turnover (or annual balance sheet total) of less than EUR 10 million: up to 70% of training costs, up to a limit of £1,050 per employee on a course.
- Other successful applicants: up to 50% of training costs, up to a limit of £750 per employee on a course.
The grant must be used to fund courses that provide employees with skills to:
- complete customs declarations and processes; and/or,
- help other businesses with import and export processes.
IT improvements grant
The grant is available to fund IT improvements to help businesses complete customs declarations more efficiently.
The IT improvements grant is available where a business:
- currently completes customs declarations for importers and exporters;
- has a maximum of 250 employees; and,
- has an annual turnover of less than EUR 50 million.
The maximum grant awarded will be EUR 200,000.
The funding must be used to buy “off the shelf” software to help businesses complete customs declarations more efficiently – it cannot be used to commission bespoke software.
The funding can also be used to:
- buy hardware that is required for the software to run.
- install and configure the software and hardware.
- buy the first year’s licence.
- train employees to use the software.
How to apply
PwC is administering the grants on behalf of HMRC and applications should be made online through the following link.
If you believe that you may be eligible for a grant and would like further information or help in submitting an application, please get in touch with us.