16.11.2021 | Tax

Freeport East – how businesses can take advantage of its special status

Felixstowe and Harwich’s freeport status predicted to bring business benefits.

Businesses can now apply to reap the benefits of Freeport East – which is set to open in Felixstowe and Harwich.

In March, the chancellor announced that eight Freeports would be created around the country, including one in Suffolk, to help kickstart the economy following the coronavirus pandemic.

The new Freeport will give certain perks to businesses in the area – but they will have to apply to take advantage.
Here, Andrew Diver, Head of Taxation at Beatons Group, has a look at how businesses in the east can benefit from the Freeport.

Special status
There is a raft of benefits to businesses in relation to Felixstowe and Harwich’s freeport status, including tax reliefs and simplified customs procedures.

Imports can enter the freeport zone and then be exported without being subject to duties or importation tax.

Goods can also be processed within the freeport and exported without paying UK tariffs.

However, any goods sold to the domestic market will incur tariffs when they leave the freeport zone.

Businesses operating within the freeport area will also benefit from tax relief on purchasing land and investing in new plant and machinery.

There has also been a promise of reduced employer National Insurance contributions to boost the logistics industries and the UK’s connectivity to the rest of the world.

How to apply
Businesses can now apply for the Freeport Customs Special Procedures, a single authorisation combined with easier declaration requirements.

A business’ application is broadly split between two functions – storage and processing.

The key requirements for both will be that sufficient records are kept, especially in connection to stock records.

Once approved, businesses will be able to declare goods coming into the UK Freeport using form C21, with no supplementary declarations.

If a business already has an existing customs authorisation, these will continue.

HMRC started the application process at the beginning of September.

To apply to become a Freeport customs site operator, download the application form, open it with Adobe Reader and complete it on-screen.

The application form and details on how to apply can be found here.

If you need further advice on how to apply, call Beatons Group on 01473 659777 or visit beatons.co.uk