The publishing industry in the United Kingdom is thriving, with books, electronic publishing, journals, newspapers publishing industries growing 1% each year on average. You may be a publisher receiving manuscripts or an institution sending paperwork for a patent in a European country. The good news is that exporting books & paper from the UK to the EU is relatively easy compared to most other goods. Here is what you need to do to get your manuscript, magazines, patent documents and other paperwork to the EU from the UK.

EORI Numbers and VAT registration

Before the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement came into place, UK businesses were allowed to operate with EU Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers. This arrangement has now changed. To import into the United Kingdom, you need an EORI number corresponding to the respective region. For instance, a GB EORI number to import into England, Scotland or Wales and an IX EORI number to import into Northern Ireland.

Classify your Books

Books and paper generally fall under chapter 49 of the HS classification system. For example:

  • When exporting books from UK to EU including, brochures, and similar printed matter, use the code 490110,
  • when shipping encyclopaedias and dictionaries, use the code 490191,
  • When shipping newspapers and journals, use the code 490210,
  • If you are exporting children’s picture, drawing or colouring books, use the code 490300
  • For music, printed or in a manuscript, you will use the code 490400, and
  • When exporting globe i9n form of books, use the code 490510.

When exporting cardboard from UK to EU use the code 481910

Preferential VAT and Duty Rates

The VAT tax act of 1994 lists books that are sold to consumers at 0%VAT as zero-rated. However, you must still record your exported books and paper in your VAT accounting and report them on your VAT return. Some of the items that you can export under zero-rating are:

  • The first category consists of books (literacy, reference, and antique books), pamphlets, and brochures.
  • The second category is journals, newspapers and periodicals.
  • Children’s picture and painting books are also zero-rated.
  • Musical text, as a manuscript, printed or duplicated, is also under group 3 items in schedule 8
  • Under the same group are topographical plans, maps and charts.

School workbooks, exam papers and other educational text in question and answer format is zero-rated. Questionnaires also fall under this category because the space given for filling in the response qualifies questionnaires to be a book, booklet or brochure.

Declare Your Export

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and UK requires that all goods moving between the two markets be accompanied by a customs declaration document. Before starting the export process, ensure that you have all necessary licenses and permits and comply with all quotas.

Any mistakes in the customs declarations document can cause delays at the border and serious legal consequences. Therefore, you might want to entrust this part of the process to a specialist freight forwarder.

Choose a Method of Transport

The method of transport you choose for your consignment of books and paper will determine the duration you have for submitting an export declaration. When transporting by road or on inland waters, you must declare at least one hour before departure. If you are exporting paper from the UK to the EU through an air freight operator, the operator must declare the export at least 30 minutes before departure from the UK airport. For a bulk export going by sea freight inside a container, the sea freight company must make a declaration within 24 hours of leaving. For books not in a container, the operator must submit your declaration at least 2 hours before leaving the port.

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Here at Barrington Freight, we are experts in providing convenient and cost-effective export services to the EU and the rest of the world. Our capable freight forwarding team offers international deliveries by road, sea and air and has the necessary knowledge to handle the customs process. Choose our dedicated next day delivery service, and we will send our express vehicles along with a two-person team to ensure your export gets to its destination in time. Find us at the Bowden Terminal in Essex or contact us today for a quote!

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