Import and export processes that UK businesses trading with the EU would need to follow in a no-deal Brexit.
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This page tells you what to do in a no-deal Brexit. It will be updated if anything changes, including if a deal is agreed.
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In a no-deal Brexit, many UK businesses will need to apply the same processes to EU trade that apply when trading with the rest of the world.
This guidance does not apply to importing or exporting goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Checklist of things you’ll need to do in preparation
Here is a list of things you’ll need to do in preparation that are covered in greater detail within this guide and accompanying guides:
- get a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number (an EORI number that starts with GB)
- check if you can use transitional simplified procedures
- get software or an agent to make declarations
- check if you need a licence to import or export your goods
- classify your goods
- apply the right customs procedure code
- if you use a UK roll on roll off location, for example, where a lorry or van travels through using a ferry or train, then you will need to declare your goods before they board the ferry or train
- if you bring merchandise from or to the UK in baggage or small motor vehicle, check how to declare your goods
- when importing, make a safety and security declaration before the goods arrive in the UK
- pay Customs Duty on goods
Before you import or export goods
You need a UK EORI number (an EORI number that starts with GB).
Before you import or export any goods, check if they’re controlled goods.
UK Trade Statistics
HMRC is responsible for publishing official UK Trade Statistics on GOV.UK. We already include details of businesses importing or exporting with non-EU countries. If there’s a no-deal Brexit, we’ll also include information about businesses that trade with the EU.
This will be your business name, address and postcode, and description of the goods you’re importing or exporting and the month and year in which the goods were imported or exported.
If you would like details of your business to be excluded from any future publications, contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your business name and VAT registration number. If you do this by the 18th of the month, we can make sure your details are excluded from the following month’s publication and onward.
Find out the commodity code of your goods
Commodity codes classify your goods so you that can fill in export declarations accurately.
Research the destinations you want to export to. This background information, along with the commodity code of the goods will help you work out if the goods will incur import duty in the destination country.
Choose the right customs procedure code for your goods
Customs procedure codes identify the customs or excise processes that you may want to use depending on what your business does, for example importing goods into a customs-approved warehouse, so that you can suspend payment of duty and VAT until they’re sent to a UK customer from the warehouse.
Find out the commodity code of your goods
Commodity codes classify goods so you can:
- fill in declarations accurately
- check if there’s duty to pay
- find out about duty reliefs
Classifying your goods correctly means that you:
- pay the right amount of duty
- know if duty is suspended on any of your goods
- know if you can apply any preferential duty rates
- know if you need to get an import or export licence
You can also email HMRC email@example.com for further advice.
Work out the value of your goods
You need to know the value of your goods to work out the level of Customs Duty you apply.
Check whether any reliefs apply
Duty relief schemes allow you to pay less or no duty on imports and exports.
Check whether you can use any customs procedures
There are customs procedures you can use to suspend duty to HMRC. They help businesses to manage cash-flow.
How to complete European Community Sales Lists
You need to send your completed European Community Sales Lists (ECSL) for the periods that start before Brexit as normal if:
- you’re registered for VAT in the UK
- you supply goods or services to EU VAT-registered customers
You should only include details of sales made to EU VAT-registered customers before Brexit. For example, if the UK leaves the EU at 11pm on 31 October 2019, you need to submit your monthly ECSL ending 31 October 2019 or quarterly ECSL ending 31 December 2019 showing details of sales made up to 11pm on 31 October 2019.
If you complete a simplified annual ECSL and the due date is later than October 2019, we’ll contact you to tell you what you need to do.
If we receive the ECSL late you may have to pay a penalty.
You will not need to submit ECSLs for periods beginning on or after the day the UK leaves the EU.
You’ll still be able to submit or correct ECSLs for VAT periods starting before a no-deal Brexit. You can either do this online or by downloading and posting forms VAT101, VAT101A and VAT101B to HMRC.
Find out how to prepare in a no-deal Brexit.