HMRC opens its £5m grant funding scheme for businesses ahead of Brexit

As we near the Brexit deadline, HMRC are urging businesses to take action in preparation for the UK leaving the EU. As part of a wider £8m investment initiative, £5m is available now to help businesses already involved or intending to become involved in import or export customs declarations.

The grants are available on a first come first served basis, with £2m allocated for Staff Training and £3m for IT improvements. Applications will close on 5 April 2019, or earlier once all the funding is allocated.

The Baldwins Group has a strong Indirect Tax department and will be offering Customs Training tailored to our clients’ needs. Depending on the size of your business, you could be entitled to a grant of up to 70% towards training for your employees. Our training will cover all aspects of Customs compliance including declarations, clearance procedures and Customs regimes such as warehousing and inward processing, all of which are eligible under the grant scheme. The grant is available to businesses involved in importing or exporting, and for agents acting on their behalf, such as freight forwarders.

Further information on the criteria and eligibility for the grants is available within HMRC’s press release and guidance. In order to be eligible for the Training grant, your business must either:

  • “complete customs declarations for yourself or someone else (or intend to in the future), or
  • import from, or export to the EU and complete customs declaration (or intend to complete customs declarations in the future)”

The grant must be used for training that gives your employees the skills to complete customs declarations and procedures, or help other businesses with import and export processes. It cannot however be used towards current training contracts.

The IT grants are potentially substantial, with a maximum of circa £178k potentially available for “ready made” IT solutions that will help to make your customs declarations more efficient ahead of Brexit. The funding is available to existing customs intermediaries who currently complete customs declarations on behalf of importers and exporters, and have 250 employees or less and annual turnover of less than circa £45m. The funding can cover packaged IT software solutions (and required hardware to support the software), but will not cover bespoke IT solutions or unrelated networking costs.

We can provide tailored training for your business and provide on-site workshops. Your Government grant could provide you with up to 70% of the costs of this training.

If you would like more information or an estimated cost for Customs training, which will enable you to complete a Government application, please contact your local Baldwins advisor or email Our team can also help advise on Brexit planning and other indirect taxes that may affect your business.