HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is today (28 February 2019) urging business owners to prepare now and consider 3 steps to ensure their businesses can continue to trade with the EU if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
The first step businesses need to take is to register for an Economic Operator and Registration Identification (EORI) number. UK businesses that have only ever traded inside the EU will not have an EORI number.
In the event of a no deal exit, businesses will be unable to continue trading with the EU without an EORI number; however, HMRC figures show that so far just 17% of these businesses have registered (figure correct as of 28 February 2019).
After getting an EORI number, businesses need to take the second step and consider how they want to make customs declarations. Businesses can appoint a customs agent if they want someone else to do it. Most businesses with customs obligations choose to use a customs agent.
For businesses that import goods into the UK from the EU using roll on, roll off locations, they can take a third step and register for new Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP). TSP will allow businesses to import without having to make a full customs declaration at the border, and postpone paying any import duties. For imports using other locations, and for exports, standard customs declarations will apply.
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride MP said:
We want businesses to be able continue trading with minimal disruption in any scenario but we also know that people tend to leave things until the last minute and we would urge against that.
We are specifically advising businesses to take some simple steps to be prepared – the first thing they need to do is register for an EORI number - it is free and takes less than 10 minutes.
Step-by-step advice can be accessed via GOV.UK – the help is there, we just need business owners to take action.
In September 2018, December 2018 and January 2019, HMRC wrote directly to 145,000 VAT-registered businesses that only trade with the EU advising them to start their preparations and apply for an EORI number.
There are another estimated additional 95,000 non-VAT registered businesses that also need to take action.
Despite these letters, only 40,973 have registered for an EORI number since October (figure correct as of 28 February 2019).
To help businesses make import and export declarations, HMRC has made £8 million in funding available for traders and intermediaries to support them with training and IT costs. There is still £3 million remaining of this funding, so there’s still time to put in a bid.
Figures given here are correct as of 28 February 2019. Please contact HMRC Press Office for up-to-date information: 03000 585 018
HMRC has identified 145,000 VAT-registered companies that trade with the EU but not the rest of the world, and estimates that a further 95,000 businesses also trade with the EU but are not VAT-registered. This means an estimated 240,000 businesses need to take action to continue trading with the EU if no deal is reached.
Business owners can apply for their EORI number.
HMRC has the capacity to sign up 11,000 businesses per day for EORI numbers.
You can see RoRo locations.
You can see letters sent to traders.
Businesses can apply for training and IT grants on making customs declarations.
Businesses can find out about the other steps they’ll need to take to prepare for the UK leaving the EU using the prepare your business for the UK leaving the EU toolon GOV.UK.
HMRC has published more than 100 pages of cross-government guidance for businesses on processes and procedures at the border in a no deal scenario.