Harvest time all year round, thanks to the Tariff [e-resource of the week]

About HMRC Customs and Excise Integrated TariffPining for fresh plantains?

This is unlikely, thanks to the Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom, known as the Tariff, which facilitates the availability of such goodies anytime, anywhere, from a retailer local to you.

While the Tariff is all about tax or rates of duty (or none) payable on items traded to and from the UK, it’s also all about food – in fact all the goods and commodities you can think of from plantains to pigeons (and even some you can’t – Quebracho extract anyone?). So if you are pining for a plantain or sourcing those oh-so-special UK sausages when overseas, it is the Tariff that has made possible your supply by oiling the wheels of the UK import and export industry.

So just what is it? The Tariff is essential reading for anyone in the import or export industry, providing traders, freight forwarders, distributors, customs officers and brokers with all the information they need on commodity codes, classifications, rates of duty and the up-to-date regulations required to trade, along with details of all documentation necessary and guidance on the paperwork that, if done properly, can save money on any duties or taxes payable.

While it once rolled laboriously over 3 or 4 loose-leaf volumes and indexes that caused even the most intrepid enquirers to lose heart, the Tariff is now much more accessible in its online format. Search functionality is enhanced throughout the 3 volume format, which remains, but now with easy-to-use navigation via indexed hyperlinks enabling searchers to drill down to find exactly what they are looking for.

Also provided are accessible, explanatory section notes with options to print or download content in pdf format. Signing up to the useful email alert facility allows for timely updates on any specific content changes.

If you are thinking of importing or exporting, you are likely to develop a close relationship with the Tariff. Further help and advice can be found from HMRC, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Cobra too, as the ‘complete business reference advisor’, provides clear concise information on how to go about setting up business as an importer or exporter.

While Business Link, the government’s online resource for business also provides an accessible platform to understand and navigate the Tariff, if you want to access the full enchilada – the Tariff with detailed help features & contacts, full indexing, alerting service and guidance notes – you’ll need to visit the Business Information Point at Westminster Reference Library. It’s worth the trip.

[Eveleen]

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