Scroll down for more information

Customs Duty

Customs duty is a tax that is largely overlooked by businesses yet it directly impacts profitability. With our advice, you can ensure the costs are kept to a minimum whilst complying with all aspects of customs duty law.

Contact Alistair Duncan


Post-Brexit, access to Customs advice and services has never been more important. The Customs area can be complex with a diverse range of reliefs and regimes available to businesses, such as:

  • Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)
  • Inward/Outward Processing
  • Customs Warehousing
  • End Use
  • International Trade Compliance (e.g. Export Licencing)

Unlike VAT, Customs Duty is not normally recoverable, so the cost has to be built into your pricing as it may impact on your profitability and competitiveness. We offer advice and support in all areas of international trade, highlighting which duty reliefs and/or regimes may be available to you. 

Our Customs duty services include: 

  • Assistance with implementing customs reliefs/regimes.  
  • Advice on tariff classification and the rules of origin. 
  • Business process and controls reviews – a customs health check that ensures your supply chain processes operate efficiently and that you access all potential saving opportunities. 

Many businesses choose to outsource their customs management function entirely.  Our unique Virtual Customs Manager service provides the expert support of our Customs specialists to offer a complete and bespoke virtual service to those businesses.


Compliance is the single largest concern for those involved in international trade. A poor compliance record can lead to:

  • Punitive penalties
  • Prosecution of key individuals
  • Negative compliance record
  • Goods held at the frontier
  • Regular auditing by the authorities
  • Commercial disadvantage.

We have a range of services designed to assist you with your compliance, including:

  • Pre and post shipment auditing
  • Preparation and submission of returns
  • Implementation of duty mitigation schemes
  • HMRC liaison
  • Seat instructions
  • Internal training


Our team have a broad range of expertise through many years spent in government, industry, accounting and consulting.

We can provide you with advice in:

  • Tariff classification
  • Valuation
  • Origin
  • Inward/outward processing
  • Customs warehousing
  • Temporary imports
  • Returned Goods Relief
  • Duty recovery
  • Dispute resolution
  • Customs audit

Customs Declaration Service (CDS)

Transition over from CHIEF to the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) is fast approaching. The import customs declarations transfer date has been set for 1 October 2022.

The time to act is now! This will enable your business to ensure all the setup is completed and internal validation is done to ensure data integrity.

Here are the steps of the CDS registration process:

  1. Obtain government gateway account & EORI number
  2. Register for CDS through the government gateway account
  3. Choose method of payment for customs debit
  4. Authorise freight forwards and customs broker

CDS & Business Validation

In the CDS system there will be new data requirements and actions that businesses need to take:

  • Allocate an administrator to manage CDS dashboards and authorisations
  • Ensure CDS codes are correct as they are not the same as CHIEF
  • Complete data mapping to ensure data needed for CDS is correct. Possibly up to 20 new data fields
  • Review standing data to include commodity code, origin and weights etc.
  • Ensure clearance instructions are compatible and comprehensive
  • Ensure internal training on CDS is completed, and colleagues know how to navigate CDS
  • Ensure job handover/continuation processes are implemented

How we help clients with cds

  • We work as support to your business for the CDS changeover
  • Assist in CDS registration process
  • Provide training on CDS and how to navigate it for your business operations
  • Provide validation of standing data to ensure CDS compliance
  • Provide risk-based analysis for CDS implementation
  • AAB gave a good explanation of their methods, then studied our products and duty codes carefully, becoming very well informed about how our products work, before dealing directly with HMRC.

    Keith Wall, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd.

  • After communication to gain knowledge of our products and business it was clear no other time involvement would be required from us. Duty repayments were quickly received and the process was completed in a superbly professional and friendly manner.

    Jonathan Peach, Vision Techniques (UK) Ltd.

  • We have built a strong relationship with AAB who have proved to be a great benefit for our business with their reliable and honest approach. I have no problem recommending their very professional services.

    Kevin Laken, Triax UK Ltd

  • AAB comprises a number of consultants with a broad range of expertise in customs law able to identify significant savings across our business. I would have no hesitation in recommending their services to others.

    David Sharples, UP Global Sourcing

#Updates See all updates

Sign up for the latest industry insights

  1. Blog23rd Apr 2024

    Alistair Duncan, Indirect Tax Partner, professional headshot

    Potential VAT Refund Fraud – Are Your Bank Details Correct?

    We have been alerted to a number of cases where taxpayers’ bank account details have been amended without their knowledge.  This fraud involves the submission of a letter or form VAT 484 purporting to be from the taxpayer requesting that…

    By Alistair Duncan

    View more
  2. Blog21st Dec 2023

    James Hunt, Gunhild Dam, Lynn Wilson, Lauren McIlroy, Stuart Petrie, Graeme Allan, Paula Fraser, Jill Walker, Gordon Steele, David Purse

    2023 Business Unit Year In Review

    Oxford recently released their word of the year for 2023 and it was “rizz”. If we had to pick a word for our year it would be ‘growth’. You might have heard us talk about our growth journey a time…

    View more
  3. Blog17th Aug 2023

    Alistair Duncan, Indirect Tax Partner, professional headshot

    VAT- A Guide For Sole Traders

    When many people think of VAT, they think of the extra charge on clothes, petrol and everyday items. However, those that are self-employed and/or run a business, may be required to get involved with VAT more than they would otherwise…

    By Alistair Duncan

    View more
  4. Blog9th Aug 2023

    Jon Hicks, Customs Director

    Alternative Dispute Resolution – Why it’s Good To Talk

    Many importers have found that being in dispute with HMRC can be a costly business. Where margins are tight and room for manoeuvre limited, the unexpected tax bill can make a business venture uneconomic. Where there is a risk of…

    By Jon Hicks

    View more

See all updates

Our accreditations