You’ve heard that there can be benefits from utilising a customs bonded warehouse to store your goods that have been imported from outside of the EU (If not, check out our blog, Why Choose a Customs Bonded Warehouse, as it could save you money!) But why go through the hassle of setting up your own customs bonded warehouse when there are companies that are able to offer this service on your behalf?
Approval of customs bonded warehouses is carried out by HMRC, for which there are rigorous assessment processes and continuous audits. Warehouse providers have a checklist of key criteria that they need to meet in order to receive and retain their bonded warehouse status. These include:
- Compliance with the conditions outlined in their approved authorisation
- The checking of goods on arrival to account for any shortages or surpluses of goods; allocating stock numbers, and keeping them secure and under supervision
- Maintenance of stock records for a minimum of 4 years
- Allowing HMRC officers access to the warehouse, goods, and records; both in the initial assessment and continuous audits.
- Maintenance and operation of premises in order to meet Health and Safety requirements.
Another reason that you may wish to utilise a pre-established third party bonded warehouse provider is due to the complexity of customs regulations. Whether you are new to importing goods, or have been importing goods for some time, the rules and regulations surrounding imports can be hard to understand and keeping abreast of any updates a challenge when you have other tasks that you also need to concentrate on.
A third party bonded warehouse owner will often be able to deal with any relevant customs documentation and process on your behalf, including:
- The correct declaration of goods, including details of where an agent is used by giving clear written instructions
- Direct transportation of your goods on arrival in the UK to the warehouse shown on the declaration (within five days of your customs declaration)
- Management of any discrepancies to the declaration that are identified
- Correct declaration of the removal of any of the goods from the customs warehouse
As a depositor the ultimate responsibility for the customs declaration procedures remains with yourself, the customer. But if you are utilising a competent, established third party warehouse provider, issues rarely arise.