ICAEW Export 101 Webinar: The complete breakdown

WARNING: SPOILERS. Continue reading for an overview of our latest webinar - to experience it first hand watch the full version on-demand here.

Recently, we joined the Trading Internationally: Export 101 webinar hosted by Chartered Accountant Simon Gray from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). The webinar provided fantastic insights into overseas exporting and the challenges companies of all sizes face while selling across borders. 

Alex Baulf, Senior Director of Global Indirect Tax, and Lyndsey Robinson, EMEA Customs Manager, represented Avalara during the exploration into global and EU exporting. The webinar involved live polls, a Q&A session, and some great discussion on the complexities of customs during the export process. 

Whether you’re new to exporting or are regularly exporting goods throughout the EU, there’s something in this webinar for you. Read more for a brief summary of the key topics covered in the webinar, or check out the full version here.

Exporting and VAT

The webinar started with Senior Global Director for Indirect Tax, Alex Baulf, sharing his thoughts on exporting and VAT. With 15 years of experience in accountancy, he’s one to trust when it comes to the finer details of taxation.

Introducing exporting

Alex started with a brief look into direct exporting and VAT, including  who is responsible for obtaining evidence and to whom the obligations ultimately fall during the export process. As well as discussing how zero-rated goods leave the U.K., Alex also spoke about the requirements to produce official evidence through Goods Departed Message (GDM) or Single Administrative Document (C88) that need to be met to stop goods falling into black and grey markets.

Outlining the risks

Risks of non-compliance are important for those starting out in exporting, and Alex took us through them in detail. From HMRC investigation to third-party penalties for those who delay (or even fail to deliver) the correct documentation. 

For more experienced businesses, Alex also explored VAT registration and reporting obligations in destination countries, and the cash flow implications of applying International Commercial Terms (or Incoterms) to determine responsibility. Specifically, Alex took the time to discuss the benefits of using the incoterm DDP (Delivered Duty Paid).

Dates and rates

An export webinar wouldn’t be complete without a nod to dates and rates for VAT. With this in mind, Alex walked us through a small sample of countries, their destination VAT rates and the dates and deadlines for their related returns.

Plus, a look into the consequences of breaching and filing returns incorrectly, and the direct impact of non-compliance on the seller experience for B2C businesses. With a huge field like VAT to cover, we’d say that we scratched the surface with this one. For more in-depth  information on the world of VAT, check out our Introduction to VAT guide.

IOSS, Economic Nexus and more…

Alex ended his section of the webinar by exploring some of the solutions available that simplify cross-border selling. He started with the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS), which is essential for businesses selling (and exporting) throughout the EU.. Looking at the IOSS electronic portal, Alex highlighted the benefits it brings, including charging at the point of sale with automated tax calculations, and the increase of positive customer feedback as a result. For more information on IOSS through Avalara, check out our service here.

For those who deal in U.S. exports, Alex also highlighted the Economic Nexus thresholds, and the changes 2023 is bringing to the U.S. tax system.

Customs Duty

We welcomed Avalara customs expert Lyndsey Robinson to the floor to take us through the intimidating world of customs duty. With a wealth of experience in sectors like manufacturing and construction, Lyndsey dived straight into the all-important compliance side of exporting.

Staying compliant

Lynsdey began by offering a crucial Incoterms checklist to help businesses with their compliance needs. With areas including buyer and seller obligations, risks, and other important factors, it’s a great one to keep on the desk for businesses of all sizes. 

Lyndsey also helped us to understand the differences between Delivered Duty Paid/Unpaid (DDP/DDU) and who is responsible for import clearance, onward carriage, and related costs between both buyers and sellers.

The new Customs Declaration Service

Moving onto new digital systems, Lyndsey discussed the differences and updates brought by the new CDS, including new terminologies for data referencing, such as using ‘B1’ for a standard export or re-export standard declaration. 

She also explored how the system will benefit international trade by forcing sellers to comply with procedure codes, including invoicing, packing lists, and certificates of origin. It’s the finer details like these that will impact businesses new to exporting, or existing businesses that need to adopt new systems.


Lyndsey then helped us to understand Harmonised System codes in much more detail. An often confusing process, Lyndsey offered an explanation to simplify the digit system, and compared the differences between countries with more complex customs demands.

She also shared practical examples for manually applying commodity codes, from mushrooms and coffee beans, to diamonds and weapons. 

Although Lyndsey touched on the HS code classification system, there is much more to be learned. Check out our Ultimate Guide to HS Code Classification here, or take a look at the Avalara Classification Tool, which brings automation into play as a solution to HS code application.

Valuation methods, duty relief and more…

There were various other topics covered in Lyndsey’s presentation, including the six customs valuations. Critical for new exporters, she explained how each one can align with specific situations. Whether you’re developing a new international trade strategy, or need to find out which valuation suits your business needs best, it’s worth watching the webinar just for this.

Lyndsey also touched upon duty relief, the alternative to exporting to a country where a free trade agreement does not exist. Her explanation of  the different types of relief, including Temporary Admission, Inward and Onward Processing, is perfect for those seeking to further their understanding, reduce costs, and remain competitive in global markets.

Questions with the Experts

The webinar ended with live questions from the viewers, with both Avalara experts and Simon Gray at the helm to provide the answers. This is where the spoilers end from us, but we suggest you take a look and discover answers to questions like:

  • Can you import to a related entity for a value less than the customer sales price?
  • Where is an easy login to the CDS system?

Interested? To find out the answers and more detail on all things export and customs, watch our full webinar on-demand here.

Want to learn more?

Looking for more video content to stock up on your tax knowledge? Check out our on-demand webinar library, and register for future webinars to be a part of the live audience.

To find out more about how Avalara automated solutions can help you with your export, VAT and classification needs, take a look at our range of solutions here.

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