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Applying for a customs grant

Newsletter issue - September 2020.

The next phase of the customs grant scheme is now open for applications. It sees a record £50 million investment as part of the measures to accelerate growth of the customs intermediary sector and help meet the increased demand it will see from traders at the end of the transition period.

Broadly, there are three grants available to help businesses complete customs declarations.

A business can apply to get funding for:

  • training that helps the business to complete customs declarations and processes;
  • hiring new staff to help the business complete customs declarations; and
  • IT improvements to help the business complete customs declarations more efficiently.

The grant can cover salary costs for new or redeployed staff, up to a limit of £12,000 per person and £3,000 for recruitment costs for new employees. This will help them to recruit new staff and train them up ahead of July 2021, when all traders moving goods will have to make declarations.

The grant scheme will continue to offer financial support for training costs to upskill staff and for IT that will allow greater efficiency. The grant for IT will cover expenses for increasing capacity or productivity for customs declarations, customs software, set-up costs, and related hardware.

Who can apply?

The business must:

  • have been established in the UK for at least 12 months before the submission of the application and when the grant is paid; and
  • not have previously failed to meet its tax obligations

In addition, the businesses must meet one of the descriptions below:

  • complete or intend to complete customs declarations on behalf of clients;
  • be an importer or exporter and complete or intend to complete declarations internally for its own goods;
  • be an organisation which recruits, trains and places apprentices in businesses to undertake customs declarations.

Grants will be issued on a first come, first served basis. Applications will close on 3 June 2021, or earlier if all funding is allocated. The grant scheme is administered by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on behalf of HMRC.

For more information on the scheme and how to apply, see GOV.uk website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/grants-for-businesses-that-complete-customs-declarations.