FAQs: Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI)

 

Contents

1.Background

What is EORI?

What are the reasons for introducing EORI?

When did the system start?

When is the EORI number used?

Do I need an EORI number and where can I apply?

How do I contact the HMRC EORI Team?

What if I am importing or re-exporting temporary admission goods or hold an ATA Carnet?

Am I eligible for an EORI number?

Where are my EORI details kept?

What is the legal base for EORI?

2.EORI implementation in the UK

How did EORI impact on the previous Trader Unique Reference Number (TURN) system?

How did previous TURN holders migrate to the EORI system?

How are the EORI numbers structured?

Are there any 'dummy' EORI numbers?

3.How to obtain an EORI number in the UK

Can I check to see if I already have a UK EORI number?

New applicants

What are the registration criteria and conditions?

How can I apply?

What is the format of the application form?

When can I apply for an EORI number?

How quickly will I be notified of my EORI number?

When can I start using my EORI number?

What if my details change?

Do I need an EORI number if I am using Royal Mail or Parcelforce Worldwide?

How do I obtain an EORI number if I am a member of a VAT group registration?

Can I obtain an EORI number whilst I am applying for VAT registration in the UK?

What if I change my VAT number?

How do I obtain an EORI number in another Member State?

4.Miscellaneous

How does a UK VAT-registered EO who is established in another Member State or outside the EU obtain a C79?

How do I get my VAT numbers recognised when I quote my EORI number on customs declarations?

How will I be able to identify my branches/divisions?

What is the impact on submitting traders/paying agents?

What will be the impact on the National Export System (NES)?

How will computer software houses gain access to the CHIEF test system?

I am an EO in the Isle of Man or Channel Islands - do I need an EORI number?

What is the impact on HMRC forms and notices?

Will HMRC be issuing an EORI Notice?

 

1.Background

What is EORI?

An EORI number is a number, unique throughout the European Community, assigned by a customs authority in a Member State to economic operators (businesses) or persons. By registering for customs purposes in one Member State, an Economic Operator (EO) is able to obtain an EORI number which is valid throughout the Community. The EO will then use this number in all communications with any EC customs authorities where a customs identifier is required for example customs declarations.

What are the reasons for introducing EORI?

The implementation of EORI will ensure that the measures to enhance security introduced by the Security Amendment (Council Regulation 648/2005) and its Implementing Provisions will be more effective if EOs could be identified by reference to a common number unique to each EO within the EU.

When did the system start?

EORI commenced across the EU on 1 July 2009.

When is the EORI number used?

This unique number will be used by EOs, for example, on the provision to the customs authorities of pre-arrival and pre-departure information on all goods entering and leaving the customs territory of the Community. The EORI number is also included on the customs declaration when you import your goods from or export goods to countries outside the EU. This includes if you occasionally buy items for your business from outside the EU for example machinery/equipment, goods for exhibition, samples, office supplies etc even though your business is not usually involved in importing or exporting.

In addition it will be used for the exchange of information between the customs authorities as well as between customs authorities and other authorities for example other government departments but only in respect of the movement of goods involving a customs procedure.

Do I need an EORI number and where can I apply?

1. If you are involved in customs activities and are established in the customs territory of the Community, you shall be registered by the customs authority of the Member State in which you are established.

2. If you are not established in the customs territory of the community, you will be registered by the customs authority of the Member State where you first perform one of the following:

  • lodge in the Community a summary or customs declaration other than:
    - a customs declaration made in accordance with Articles 225 to 238 of Regulation(EEC) 2454/93
    - a customs declaration made for the temporary admission import procedure (but see paragraph below)
  • lodge in the Community an exit or entry summary declaration
  • operates a temporary storage facility under Article185(1)
  • apply for an authorisation under Article 324(a) or 372
  • apply for an Authorised Economic Operator certificate

How do I contact the HMRC EORI Team?

All correspondence with the EORI team is either by post or email:

HM Revenue & Customs
EORI Team
13th Floor South
Government Buildings
Ty Glas
Llanishen
Cardiff
CF14 5FP

Email: eori@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.

What if I am importing or re-exporting temporary admission goods or hold an ATA Carnet?

Non-EU economic operators declaring goods for relief under temporary admission are not required to obtain an EORI number. The code 00500 should be entered on the customs declaration (C88) in box 8 for imports or box 2 for re-exports. The code 00500 should be prefixed with the non EU country code, followed by the operators name and address. For example a trader from the US should enter US00500.

The ATA carnet replaces the normal customs declaration required however, where form C21 (customs clearance request) needs to be completed for inventory clearance purposes:

  • if the carnet holder is an EU resident, an EORI number will need to be entered in box 8 of the C21
  • if the carnet holder is a non EU resident they should complete box 8 of the C21 by entering 00500 in the identification field of the declaration preceded by the non EU country code followed by their name and address

Am I eligible for an EORI number?

The legislation restricts the issue of an EORI number to a legal entity - sole proprietor, partnership, company or individual. It therefore cannot be allocated to individual branches or divisions within a legal entity. Only one number can be issued per legal entity.

Where are my EORI details kept?

National/EU database

The Member State granting the number validates the information included on your application form and processes the information in both a national and an EU Commission database. The information includes your name, address, EORI number, VAT number if appropriate and whether you agree to your name and address being made available on the Commission internet website.

Commission internet website

In addition there is an EU EORI number validation siteCommission Internet website, managed by the Commission, containing limited data on EOs and their EORI numbers which is available to the general public.

The database contains your EORI number, name and address. An enquirer to the database is only able to ask if your EORI number is valid/active. The response is as follows:

1) if the answer is 'No', no further information is provided

2) if the answer is 'Yes', your name and address is given, only if you have previously agreed to your name and address being disclosed

3) if the answer is 'Yes' and you have not given permission, your EORI number is confirmed but your name and address is not disclosed

No identification details of the enquirer is requested or held.

The site is updated four times a day 00.30, 05.30, 11.30 and 17.30.

What is the legal base for EORI?

The legislative base for the EORI number is an amendment to the Customs Code Implementation Provisions. This amendment applied from 1 July 2009.

2.EORI implementation in the UK

How did EORI impact on the previous Trader Unique Reference Number (TURN) system?

The implementation of EORI in the UK replaced the previous customs trader identification system, TURN, which ceased to exist from 1 July 2009. However a number of the TURN features were adopted in the EORI system, in particular the format of the registration number itself.

How did previous TURN holders migrate to the EORI system?

Prior to the commencement of EORI most eligible TURN holders were automatically given an EORI number without them having to apply. Branches/divisions are not legal entities and therefore not entitled to an EORI number. They were instructed to ensure that their parent company/head office obtained an EORI number to enable them to continue importing/exporting.

How are the EORI numbers structured?

All UK EORI numbers start with the letters GB. Most are followed by a twelve digit number based on the EO’s nine digit VAT number with a three digit suffix number at the end, for example GB123456789000. This meant that over 98 per cent of existing TURN holders including Pseudo TURNs were given an EORI number which was exactly the same as their previous TURN.

Most UK EORI numbers end 000. However some numbers relating to VAT Group Registrations, where each EO is a separate legal entity, will end in a three digit suffix other than 000.

The structure of the UK EORI number is the same for UK EOs who are not registered for VAT or EOs who are not established in the customs territory of the community.

Exceptions:

N numbers - There were a small number of TURNs starting with the letter 'N' followed by twelve digits. Under EORI, N numbers are now preceded by GB followed by their previous TURN for example GBN123456789000.

GD numbers - Previously the holders of GD numbers also had a VAT/TURN number. Under EORI we issued an EORI number based on their VAT number for example GB888854321000. This meant that GD numbers became obsolete after 1 July 2009.

Are there any 'dummy' EORI numbers?

Previously there were a number of dummy TURNs which were used in circumstances where the economic operator did not have an individual TURN. Most of these dummy numbers have continued under EORI but now each is preceded by the letters GB.

Current TURN


EORI Number


Description


Change for EORI


888 8888 11 000


GB888888811000


Bulk export allowing one declaration to include up to 99 separate consignors.


 

888 8888 11 005


GB888888811005


Bulking of low value and non-statistical goods up to the value of £2,000 as part of NES Memorandum of Understanding.


 

PR


GBPR


Imports or exports of private, non-commercial consignments regardless of value.


 

UNREG


GBUNREG


Commercial exports by operators not registered for VAT.


From 1 July 2009 not to be used for exports starting in another Member State and moving to the UK before exiting from the EU. In these cases an EORI number should be obtained by the exporter in the other Member State.


3.How to obtain an EORI number in the UK

Can I check to see if I already have a UK EORI number?

If you are registered for VAT in the UK you should key in GB followed by your nine digit VAT number and end with a three digit 000 suffix for example GB123456789000.

Please ensure that GB is in capital letters and that there are no gaps between any of the digits in the number.

You will then be automatically informed if your enquiry is valid or invalid. If valid, you may commence using that number immediately. If invalid, you will need to submit an EORI application.

If you are not registered for VAT in the UK or not established in the customs territory of the community you should key in GB followed by the 12 digit number you were allocated under the previous TURN system for example GB950123456000.

You may check to see if you already hold an EORI number by accessing the Commission internet website.

New applicants

What are the registration criteria and conditions?

You must meet the registration criteria and conditions as set out in the earlier FAQs under 'Do I need an EORI number and where can I apply?’ and ‘Am I eligible for an EORI number?’

How can I apply?

In order to obtain an EORI number, you must submit an application form. There are two ways you can apply, either by electronic email or by hard copy. Whichever method you choose the application form must be fully completed and signed by a responsible person within your business, that is, director, partner or sole proprietor. For electronic application forms HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will accept the name of the responsible person rather than a signature. If the information you provide is incomplete or inaccurate HMRC will either return the application form to you or telephone to obtain the correct information.

For EOs registering for VAT via HMRC online services who have indicated the requirement for an EORI number, there is no need to submit an EORI application form.

If after three working days of your VAT number notification, the EORI number has not been sent to you, via an email, contact the EORI team at eori@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.

What is the format of the application form?

The application form is available as a version that can be completed either:

  • Electronically - you will need to download and save the application form as a WORD document and complete the form as required. You will then need to email the completed application form to eori@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.
  • Hardcopy - to obtain a paper copy of the application form and where to send it once completed, please phone the VAT, Excise and Customs Helpline on Tel 0845 010 9000.

The helpline can also advise on the progress on the processing of all applications.

Form C220 EORI application - if you are registered for VAT in the UK

Form C220A EORI application - if you are NOT registered for VAT in the UK

Please note: HMRC cannot accept applications via SKYDRIVE file share or faxed copies of applications.

When can I apply for an EORI number?

If you are a UK VAT-registered EO you may apply as soon as you become aware you will be involved in customs activities in the near future.

UK EOs who are not registered for VAT or EOs who are not established in the customs territory of the community may apply as soon as you become aware you will be involved in customs activities. However this should not be before all details required on your application, are available.

How quickly will I be notified of my EORI number?

.Applications can take up to three working days to process. You will be notified of your new EORI number as soon as it has been allocated.

When can I start using my EORI number?

You will be able to use it 24 hours after receiving your notification from HMRC.

What if my details change?

You will need to advise the EORI Team by sending an email to eori@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk if:

  • there are any changes to your name and/or address (these changes should be notified to EORI Team once you have confirmation that your VAT registration details have been amended)
  • your VAT number changes or you deregister
  • you change from a non VAT registered trader to a VAT registered trader
  • you no longer require or are not entitled to an EORI number
  • you change your mind about inclusion on the EU Commission public website

Do I need an EORI number if I am using Royal Mail or Parcelforce Worldwide?

You will require an EORI number for inclusion on the customs declaration (C88) where you intend to reclaim the import VAT on a VAT Return under normal rules:

  • imports of goods with a value exceeding £2,000 declared to home use and free circulation
  • imports of goods for which relief from Customs Duty and import VAT is being claimed, for example inward processing relief, outward processing relief, temporary admission
  • certain exports including all goods for export with a value exceeding £2,000

See Public Notice 143 and Public Notice 144 for further details.

How do I obtain an EORI number if I am a member of a VAT group registration?

Each member of a VAT group registration is a legal entity and is therefore entitled to a separate EORI number if it is involved in customs activities.

Please advise in your email/letter accompanying your application that you are applying as a group member.

Can I obtain an EORI number whilst I am applying for VAT registration in the UK?

Yes. You may submit your EORI application and you will be allocated an EORI number which you can use until you are advised of your VAT registration number.

Once you are registered for VAT you will need to submit a new EORI application advising HMRC at the same time of your EORI number before you were registered for VAT. HMRC will then cancel your old EORI number and issue you with another based on your new VAT registration number. This will also allow you to receive C79s which can be used to reclaim your import VAT as input tax.

What if I change my VAT number?

If you change your VAT number you need to notify the EORI team and complete a new EORI application form.

How do I obtain an EORI number in another Member State?

Please see the Europa website for further details if you need to obtain an EORI number in a Member State other than the UK.

4.Miscellaneous

How does a UK VAT-registered EO who is established in another Member State or outside the EU obtain a C79?

Prior to the introduction of EORI an EO would enter their TURN in box 8 of the C88. This would result in the generation of a C79 each month if the EO was registered for VAT in the UK. The C79 details import VAT paid and is used as evidence by an EO to reclaim any input tax paid under their UK VAT registration. Due to a UK system constraint a C79 will only be generated if a UK EORI number is entered in box 8 of the C88.

Therefore if an EO who is established in another Member State has its EORI number issued in that Member State but is also registered for VAT in the UK they will also need to obtain and use a UK EORI number if they import goods into the UK and require a C79.

This will mean an EO holding a UK EORI number as well as an EORI number issued by the Member State in which they are established.

HMRC apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and are seeking a solution.

How do I get my VAT numbers recognised when I quote my EORI number on customs declarations?

An EO:

  • with a single legal entity
  • operating in more than one Member State

may be given a separate VAT number in each Member State but only allocated a single EORI number by the Member State where the EO is established. In some cases there have been problems for EOs with their customs declarations in having their EORI number linked to all their associated VAT numbers. To help resolve this situation, from 1 July 2010 you may request the customs administration which allocated your EORI number to also include all directly associated VAT numbers, issued by other Member States, against your EORI number. The VAT numbers notified to customs must relate to the same legal entity.

Provision of the additional VAT numbers to customs is optional. You should be aware that HMRC will add this information to the EU database which can be accessed by all EU customs administrations and the Commission. You must notify HMRC as soon as possible should any of the notified VAT numbers cease to exist or no longer apply to your EORI number.

How to notify HMRC in respect of UK issued EORI numbers

New applicants

HMRC is including a question on the new application form to allow you to advise all associated VAT numbers to be included on the EU database. Until the revised application is available, you may include the details in the 'Additional Information' box on the form, headed 'Additional VAT numbers'.

Existing EORI holders

You may send an email to eori@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk with the following information:

  • your UK EORI number for example GB123456789000
  • the name and address of the EORI holder for example Funky Fashions Ltd, 3, Windmill Street, Oldham
  • name and position of person advising details of the VAT numbers for example Jayne Briars, company secretary
  • VAT numbers issued in other member states for example ES4137709856, FR165073195432

How will I be able to identify my branches/divisions?

Previously some EOs used TURNs to enable them to identify imports/exports and revenue due against individual branches/divisions. As branches/divisions do not qualify for an EORI number, this may cause inconvenience to economic operators set up in this way. As a result HMRC have devised some solutions to assist EOs to associate declarations to individual branches/divisions. The solutions are optional and you may choose instead to adapt your systems to meet your own needs.

Option one

This involves the inclusion of Additional Information (AI) Statement Code(s) at header level in box 44 of the customs declaration.

The codes are:

  • BR followed by a three digit numeric code for importers/exporters
  • AG followed by a three digit numeric code for agents/declarants

to enable identification of the branch/divisions, importing, exporting or acting as declarant as appropriate for example BR001, AG008 etc when a customs declaration is made. It is likely the three digit numeric code you use will be the same as the previous TURN suffix but you are free to choose any number you wish.

It will be acceptable for both codes to appear on the same declaration if necessary.

You do not need to notify customs in advance of the numbers you have chosen to identify your branches. However you will need to maintain an adequate audit trail in your records and provide the information if requested by HMRC.

Four new MSS reports:

  • BR imports
  • BR exports
  • AG imports
  • AG exports

are available to importers/exporters and agents/declarants as appropriate on a monthly basis. These reports are free of charge. They list all entries made by you where the BR or AG code has been entered in box 44 to assist reconciliation to be carried out, in particular against C79s. If no code is entered in box 44, the entry does not appear on the report.

Information on the reports include entry number, date, EPU, declaration UCR, master UCR, agent’s reference and BR or AG code in box 44.

Reports are normally sent within 15 working days of month end (for imports) and between the fifteenth working day and the end of the month following submission of the entry (for exports).

Please read the Guidance on Registration for MSS Report before completing the Registration for MSS Report document and sending it to the MSS team.

Guidance on Registration for MSS Report

Registration for MSS Report document

Option two

This solution applies to importers only. This involves including your three digit branch identifier number as part of the agent’s reference in box 7 of the C88 customs declaration for example TGR12867498/002 or 001 - FWAYU561829. As box 7 of the declaration also appears on the C79 (a form detailing all your imports each month where VAT has been charged) this may help reconciliation of your imports against branches and may be used in conjunction with or instead of the MSS reports detailed above.

What is the impact on submitting traders/paying agents?

If you are a submitting trader/paying agent with branches who:

  • also acts as an agent to submit declarations on behalf of others
  • submits declarations for your own business

the following applies:

  • you need to acquire an EORI number for your parent company/head office if your details are required in box 2, 8 or 14 of the customs declaration
  • however you may continue to use your existing badge/role (to submit declarations) as well as access existing FAS accounts

It should be noted that this concession does not apply to any new badges/roles which are set up on CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) after 1 April 2009 which will only be set up against an EORI number.

What will be the impact on the National Export System (NES)?

If you are a NES trader (including Normal and Simplified procedure declarations) who migrated from multi TURNS to a single EORI number you may continue to use the roles and badges previously allocated to your branch or division TURNS. However you will only be allowed to use a registered EORI number in box 2 or 14 of the Customs Declaration (C88).

How will computer software houses gain access to the CHIEF test system?

If you require access to the CHIEF HMUT test system you will first need to apply for an EORI number if you have not already got one. You should then contact CHIEF Operations via email and request access to the facility.

I am an EO in the Isle of Man or Channel Islands - do I need an EORI number?

Yes - whilst the UK and the Channel Islands are in the same Customs Union for duty and therefore in free circulation for Customs Duty purposes we are not in the same fiscal territory, therefore the goods will not be in free circulation for VAT purposes. The goods will not be in free circulation whether VAT is due on import of the goods or not. An import document will be required for these goods for VAT purposes and therefore an EORI number must be obtained.

The same application procedure detailed above will apply if you are an EO in the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey.

What is the impact on HMRC forms and notices?

HMRC is updating its forms and notices in due course to reflect the introduction of EORI. Until this work is complete, you should substitute 'EORI' where the term 'TURN' is used.

Will HMRC be issuing an EORI Notice?

HMRC will be publishing a new EORI notice to replace the existing TURN Notice 553. Until it is available HMRC will provide all relevant information about EORI on the EORI webpage under these 'Frequently Asked Questions'.

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