The 1 January 2021 began new post-Brexit duty-free rules. Individuals, however, can still bring in a personal allowance of up to 18 litres (about 24 bottles) of still wine up to 42 litres of beer and a third category without additional costs, including 12 bottles (9 litres) of sparkling wine, fortified wine or 4 litres of spirits/ liquors with an allowance split on variations.
The government said its new scheme has ‘one of the most generous allowances anywhere in the world’ with no additional UK duty.
While this may be sufficient for personal needs, how have the rules changed if you want to import or bring in over the personal allowance for commercial purposes into the UK? Post-Brexit regulations and paperwork are more complicated than before, with more customs requirements and duties to pay, so it’s vital to know what you need to do to have your beer and wine shipment cleared into the country whether it’s a single pallet or a full load truck.
There are several ways to import beer and wine into the UK. The correct method for your business will depend on the frequency of importing, whether imports are from in or outside the EU, and whether Excise Duty has been paid on the goods already. These factors will also impact how UK Excise Duty is calculated. It’s best to talk to your supplier and look at the government guidelines to get started.
When importing alcohol into the UK, it’s vital to know the legal requirements for duty stamps, also called fiscal markings, which apply to retail containers of wine, including bottles. A duty stamp is now required on your label by law, and there are two types of stamps: Label stamps and freestanding stamps. To register for these, you will need to apply and order from a government supplier when printing. For more information on both of these and ensure you’re compliant with the law, look at the government guideline information here.
When importing alcohol post-Brexit, everything over the personal limit becomes liable for UK Excise Duty when the goods arrive in the UK; however, some circumstances will mean you don’t need to pay. Be sure to research your specific cargo or speak to your freight forwarder about whether your goods are liable or not. With many regulations around the payment of Duty and VAT on alcohol brought into the UK, check the list here.
If you are importing beer or wine to sell to another business, you will need additional approval as a wholesaler and applying for the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS). Be sure to do this at least 45 days before you start trading.