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New fees for importing food and animal products into GB from the EU

11 April 2024


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From 30 April 2024, the UK government is introducing physical border checks on imported food and animal products from the EU for public health and animal welfare purposes. Post Brexit the UK government delayed the introduction of these inspections for EU imports, so physical sanitary or phytosanitary checks are currently only performed on animals and plants arriving from outside the EU. Importers of these goods via Eurotunnel or the port of Dover, will have to pay a fee, termed a “common user charge” of up to £145 per shipment, to cover the cost of performing these physical biosecurity inspections at a government Border Control Point (BCP). Other commercial ports potentially can increase their fees to importers also to maintain their local facilities. The fee does not apply to personal imports for a passenger’s own consumption.

The £145 charge is the maximum capped amount for a single shipment, determined by the number of product lines and the risk status of the products. An import of low-risk cheese for example will incur a charge of £10. There is no VAT added to the charge. The fee is charged when the import is eligible for such checks, even if the import is not selected for an inspection.

HMRC undertook a consultation on this proposal last year, which identified that small importers of food and plants, perhaps an independent wholesaler or retail delicatessen, were concerned that the charges would increase their costs and cause retail prices to increase.

If you wish to discuss this in further detail, please contact one of our Indirect Tax Services team members.