Following on from the recent post about Cabotage, another new word, and another post-Brexit delight that people will have to adjust to is the need for a Carnet.
For a UK tradesperson, a Carnet is a document that facilitates the temporary imports into foreign countries and re-importation into the UK of equipment that is used for work.
It allows customs and excise people to distinguish goods that you have bought in the UK, taken abroad, and are returning with, from stuff that you have bought abroad (i.e. an import). By presenting a Carnet document to foreign customs, you pass duty-free and import tax-free into a country that accepts that carnet for up to one year.
A member has contacted me about the coast of a Carnet for taking goods from the UK to EU destinations. The member was asking about a bundle of equipment that they have in their store – they go abroad a number of times during the year, taking different equipment each time – the question was “do I need a new carnet each time?”
This is one of those posts where I’m going to point strongly at my standard footnote, so please read it carefully before acting on it.
On checking this, my understanding is as follows:
It really depends on the value of the goods and how long you are going out for. The minimum charge (once everything is taken into account) I’ve seen is around £550+VAT to do this.
If you shop around it may be possible that you can get it a bit cheaper but there’s not much wriggle room for the seller of the carnet. This is because you have to pay….
- a ‘chamber fee’ (which is usually about £300)
- a ‘bond fee’ based on the value of the goods and how long they’ll be out there for (generally between £135 and a good deal more depending on the value of the goods)
- the handling fee (the fee that the company issuing the carnet charges) which is likely to be between £90 for a small list and £110-ish for a larger list.
If you are going abroad a number of times with the same equipment, you only need one for each year, but if you’re taking different equipment each time, in theory, you will need a different carnet.
However, there is a work-around that may work for this member here: If you have (for example) ten bits of equipment that you may use in a year, get a carnet for all of them as one bundle. You don’t have to take all ten bits of equipment aboard each time – you’re not obliged to carry everything on your carnet on each trip.
I checked my understanding of all of this with Fay at Dynamic Dox who was very helpful here – give her a call if you have any questions. Other providers are also available though so feel free to shop around.
Footnote: This post reflects my current understanding of this issue. Please don’t treat it as formal advice and don’t act on it without checking it yourself – it’s for broad guidance only. If you have any different experiences, please let me know about them and I can update what I’m saying here.