Last reviewed 25 October 2021

The Free Zones (Customs, Excise and Value Added Tax) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/1156), coming into force on 8 November 2021, give details of the rules concerning the free zone special Customs procedure.

Available at www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/1156/pdfs/uksi_20211156_en.pdf, they amend the Customs (Import Duty) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018, the Customs Transit Procedures (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 and the Customs (Export) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.

Noting that a free zone is an area in the United Kingdom designated as a special area for customs purposes under section 100A of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, they specify the circumstances in which a declaration by conduct to a free zone procedure may be made, and how that declaration is to be made.

These regulations also set out the authorisations required to declare goods for a free zone procedure or to carry out industrial, service or commercial activities including storing goods in a free zone.

They also provide that goods that are exported, while they are subject to a free zone procedure and in relation to which an onward export notification or an exit summary declaration is made, are deemed to have been made in accordance with a procedure for the purposes of the applicable export provisions.

Finally, they provide that excise goods declared for a Customs free zone procedure or produced in such a procedure are to be kept in warehouses operated by authorised persons.

Excise goods must not be kept for more than 72 hours unless the person keeping them is authorised to do so under these Regulations.