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How important is the C88 document?

Here it’s the more information about the C88 document.

1. What is C88 document From Wikipedia ?

The Single Administrative Document (SAD), also known as Form C88 in the UK, is the main customs form used in international trade to or from the European Union Customs Union. Traders and agents can use the SAD to assist with declaring import, export, transit and community status declarations in manual processing situations. It is used for EU trade with non-EU countries and for the movement of non-EU goods within the EU, and replaced the various national forms in used among member states before its introduction in 1988.

SAD legislation needed to take full account of today’s environment and adapt with the evolution that occurred since its inception. Regulation 2286/2003 did this by introducing a radical modernization of data collection on EU customs declarations.

The SAD breaks down into 54 boxes; the full version comes in 8 parts for use at different points in the trading process; see also the C88A alternative version of the form.

The SAD can be filled in by the consignee or by an agent representing them.

All instructions to complete the Single Administrative Document are stated in Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/341 of 17 December 2015.

2. What is C88 document from a senior forwarder agent base on their rich experience ?

Simply speaking, C88 is the customs import document, also called the EU unified declaration form. The customs will give the C88 documents to the customs clearance company. After the business is completed, the seller can ask them for the C88 documents. It should be noted that c88 comes from the customs clearance company and is the information provided by the customs clearance company.

If you want to obtain permission from the customs authority to handle or use the goods, you must submit the “Single Administrative Document” (Single Administrative Document, SAD for short, common for import, export and transit, also known as Customs Form C88 in the UK).

According to the “EC Customs Code” and “EC Regulation No. 2454/93”, in all EU member states, “c88” should be used for customs declaration. The “EU unified declaration form” has eight copies, the first to third copies are used by the exporting country, and the fourth to eighth copies follow the goods.

Regardless of the electronic declaration form or the paper declaration form, after the customs accepts the declaration, it will issue a unique declaration number to the declarer. The format is: three-digit port code, six-digit number (including 0), one letter, six-digit acceptance Date of declaration.

According to EU law, the customs declarer should be a permanent resident of the EU or a company with a permanent place of business or registered office in the EU. However, if it is a transit declaration, a temporary import declaration, or only occasionally declares imported goods as a declarant (not carrying out regular import activities), this restriction is not exempted.

“C88 documents” can be submitted to the customs authorities by the importer or his agent.

There are two types of agency:

(1) Direct agency:

The agent declares on behalf of the principal in the name of the principal (the principal bears the responsibility of paying taxes and fees).

(2) Indirect agency:

the agent declares on behalf of the principal in his own name (jointly and severally, both the principal and the agent are required to pay taxes and fees).

Several core elements of C88 declaration documents

1. Import unique identification code:

Entry Number Each import declaration will respond to a unique import identification code, which is usually at the top of the declaration form.

Starting from April 1, 2018, the United Kingdom has implemented overseas warehouse regulations, requiring overseas warehouses to record the entry number of each entry of goods from their customers. It is worth noting that this identification code is also the only proof for the customer to obtain relevant documents from the customs.

2. Exporter: Exporter

Generally speaking, the exporter information will be displayed on the C88 list, which is consistent with the exporter on the bill of lading.

3. Importer: Consignee

Regarding importers, companies must carefully check and ensure that the EORI number and the main body of the company filled in are accurate.

4. Declarant: Declarant

As the customs clearance company of the destination port, the declarer must keep the customs clearance data for each shipment and keep the relevant information for at least 6 years. For e-commerce companies whose main body is a non-EU country, a third-party customs clearance company can only submit declarations to the customs of the destination port.

The method of declaration is different, and the resulting responsibilities are also different. Generally, there are two ways:

1). Directly declare Direct Representation:

The enterprise authorizes the customs clearance company to complete the declaration on behalf of the enterprise. If the enterprise signs the authorization letter to the customs clearance company, then there will be tax issues or related product issues. The subject of the declaration is the enterprise itself, and the customs clearance company does not need to bear related joint and several liabilities.

2). Indirect Representation:

The main body of the enterprise and the main body of the customs clearance company declare jointly, so the customs clearance company needs to bear joint and several liabilities with the main body of the enterprise, including the taxation issues of the enterprise.

5.Duty/Import Vat

Take the British C88 as an example. At the bottom of the C88 document declaration form, the tariff and import tax that the company needs to pay will be displayed. The company can see the tariff and import vat that need to be paid according to the declared value of their products and the corresponding tariff and vat rate. Is it consistent?

Of course, if you have the UK declaration documents, it is not difficult to understand the declaration documents of other European countries. Other countries will also have some subtle differences. For example, the German declaration form does not show import taxes, but only tariffs. The specific import tax that needs to be paid can only be provided by the customs at the end of customs clearance. It is worth noting that this tax form is the only voucher for tax declaration deductions.

What is the role of C88 documents? When your goods are cleared, the EU Customs will give the C88 documents to the customs clearance company. After the business is completed, the seller can ask them for the C88 documents. The seller checks the data in the C88 file to check whether the declaration is wrong or whether the VAT tax number has been misappropriated or abused. If the two data are consistent, there is no problem with the data you declare. On the contrary, if your VAT number is stolen or abused, the data between the two will be inconsistent.

There is another point for sellers to know that the C88 file can be downloaded through the customs system after the freight forwarder submits the customs clearance document. The C88 file does not mean that all goods will be released. Some pre-cleared goods may be still at sea. Even if there is a C88 document, the goods may still be inspected by the customs after they arrive at the port.

We understand the tax bill C88 document as an initial bill issued by overseas customs for how much tax the seller needs to pay for the goods. It cannot represent the release of the goods, nor can it be used for tax deduction. However, the C88 has detailed information on the taxes that the goods need to pay.

 If cross-border sellers need the electronic file of C88 tax bill, they can be provided by the freight forwarder of customs clearance. Generally, it can be provided within 1-2 working days after arrival. (The sellers who sell goods in e-commerce platform, they both have C88 document)

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Helen Chen

Helen Chen

Author: CO-Founder of GCC

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