25.7.2023 | Tax

Does your business need to sign up to the new UK Internal Market Scheme?

Effective 30 September 2023, the UK Internal Market Scheme will replace the UK Trader Scheme under the Windsor Framework. 

If your business or organisation is a member of the current UK Trader Scheme (UKTS), you may need to sign up to the new UK Internal Market Scheme (UKIMS).

This is because changes are occurring due to the Windsor Framework in relation to the rules on moving goods from Britain to Northern Ireland.

The Windsor Framework
The Windsor Framework is a complex set of new legal guidance which was brought about following Britain’s exit from the EU. As described by the government, it attempts to keep the balance to uphold the Belfast (Good Friday) agreement and puts in place a new legal and constitutional framework changing the text of the treaty and scrapping a range of EU rules.

What’s changing?
As a result of the changes, and different rules needing to be in place, the government is altering the current UK Trader Scheme (UKTS), with those registered now required to sign up to the new UK Internal Market Scheme. It will allow traders moving goods to Northern Ireland from Great Britain to demonstrate that the goods are not at risk of moving to the EU.

The government says the new UKIMS is an enhanced and expanded trusted trader scheme which will continue to enable registered traders to move goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland in line with existing ‘not at risk’ arrangements.

Your business has likely been notified of the need to switch as HMRC is writing to all holders of the UKTS authorisation to inform them of the upcoming actions they need to take as the existing UKTS will cease to exist from 30 September 2023.

Applications for the new scheme will need to be made online. It’s important to do so as being authorised on time by the UKIMS means you will be able to continue to declare your goods ‘not at risk’ if they are brought into NI for sale or final use by end consumers in the UK.

Is it a simple change?
Businesses that are currently authorised under the UK Trader Scheme should receive direct communication from HMRC to apply for the new UK Internal Market Scheme and supply some additional information.

Being aware of whether your business needs to act and having the right information ready is important. HMRC has stated that any application for the UKIMS received after 31 July 2023 may not be processed in time.

Head of taxation at Beatons Andrew Diver says: “While the information required for the original UKTS was relatively straightforward, the additional controls under the Windsor Framework require HMRC to request extra information to ensure an applicant can comply with the new rules. So, do be aware that this could take more time.

“For example, applicants will be required to supply more detailed information on procedures and records to ensure there are satisfactory controls on the goods to minimise the risk of unauthorised movement into the EU.

“If your business hasn’t started this process yet, now really is the time,” advises Andrew. “HMRC is a helpful source should your compliance team need support. The government is said to be keen to do all it can to ensure a smooth transition under the Windsor Framework, so help and support, as well as hopefully a little patience, should be on hand.”

For help and advice with any matters relating to HMRC compliance, please contact us at info@beatons.co.uk or call 01473 659777.