The United Kingdom has now left the EU and is currently in a “transition period”, during which all EU rules will continue to apply. This is scheduled to finish on 31 December 2020 after which there will be large scale changes in the way the UK operates and trades with both the EU, and the rest of the world. EU rules will no longer directly apply in Great Britain and trade between the UK and EU will be governed by new rules.
When preparing your business for Brexit, the principal key action that any business can take is to review the guidance made available by the UK government. The level of documentation available has increased rapidly over the past few months, and alongside this, a questionnaire is available to supply all relevant notes and actions. You can find the questionnaire here.
The key effects of the changes that will be coming into place can be broadly split into three categories. Ensure your business is fully prepared for Brexit by following the below guidance...
- Check entry requirements for any business travel to EU countries, further detail can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021/business-travel-extra-requirements
- If you have employees that are EU citizens, or were born in the UK but are not British citizens, check whether they are eligible for settled / pre-settled status - https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
The government has announced that relaxed controls will apply to goods coming into the UK from the EU for a period of six months. These will apply regardless of whether current talks result in a Free Trade Agreement or not.
Under the government’s plan, the requirement to submit customs documentation (showing information about the goods being imported) and pay any tariffs/ duties due up front, would be put on hold for six months after import. Businesses would be required to keep a record of goods that have been imported and pay any tariffs due subsequently.
What you can do now to prepare for Brexit...
- Check whether tariffs will apply to your goods - https://www.check-future-uk-trade-tariffs.service.gov.uk/tariff
- Check the requirements regarding submitting declarations - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/declaring-goods-brought-into-great-britain-from-the-eu-from-1-january-2021
- Register to avoid goods being stopped at the border of each EU country if you are sending goods across multiple country borders within the EU - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-use-transit-to-move-goods-to-the-eu-and-common-transit-countries
- Understand the changes with regards to VAT - the UK is introducing a Postponed Accounting import VAT deferral scheme. This means that importers do not pay import VAT when the goods arrive at the UK port or airport, it is deferred. The importer posts the VAT to Box 2 of their relevant VAT return, and assuming they can claim input tax in full on the goods, the same amount is claimed as input tax in Box 4 on the same return, preventing any adverse cashflow problems.
- From 1 January 2021 you’ll need an EORI number to move goods between the UK and the EU - https://www.gov.uk/eori
- Check your T&C’s are all up to date (We would recommend getting a freight forwarder involved to assist) - https://www.great.gov.uk/advice/prepare-for-export-procedures-and-logistics/understand-international-trade-terms/
- If you are selling outside of UK, learn how to make a customs declaration, or get someone todo it for you - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/appoint-someone-to-deal-with-customs-on-your-behalf. You can view a list of customs agents here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/list-of-customs-agents-and-fast-parcel-operators
- If you are using your own transport, check all licenses and permits are in place - https://www.gov.uk/transport-goods-from-uk-by-road (It would also be worthwhile checking that any transport company you may use has this in place)
- In extreme cases, due to the new sanctions coming into force from January, it may be wise to check there is no infringement of these - https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-sanctions-regimes-under-the-sanctions-act
If the above points are sorted, goods will be able to leave the country, but businesses will still need to check through what documentation is required by the country they are selling into - https://www.check-duties-customs-exporting-goods.service.gov.uk/selectdest
Some potential documents that could be required:
- Entry Summary Declaration
- Single Administrative Document
- Declaration of Dutiable Value
- Commercial Invoice
- Packing List
- Certificate of Non-Preferential Origin
- Proof of Preferential Origin
- Air Waybill
- Bill of Lading
- Rail Waybill
- Insurance Certificate
- Economic Operator Registration and Identification
- If you the goods you are selling include food, you will need to check for any changes to labelling standards - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/labelling-and-marketing-standards-from-1-january-2021
- Check if any updates are required to IP / design rights (Our recommendation would be to geta lawyer involved at this stage) - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/exhaustion-of-ip-rights-and-parallel-trade-after-the-transition-period, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/changes-to-unregistered-designs-after-the-transition-period
If you have any questions on preparing your business for Brexit, please get in touch with us on 024 7667 3160 or email email@example.com.