I work with many businesses who trade with the EU and right now I’m seeing a definite change of attitude. Those businesses who, up to now, have been relying on the Government striking a deal with the EU are now recognising that they are unprepared for a no-deal Brexit.
But it’s not too late to start preparations for no-deal. Here are the three jobs that I think should be on every importer and exporter’s to-do list.
Job 1. Get an EORI number
In a no-deal Brexit situation, having an EORI number will be the key to keeping your goods moving in and out of the EU. This will be your unique ID, needed by HMRC to track your customs information and to help your goods avoid delays at the borders.
HMRC decided last month to start automatically issuing EORI numbers so check whether you have been given a number.
How to check: click below to access the EC database. Enter your VAT number prefixed with ‘GB’ and suffixed with ‘000’, eg GB123456789000.
Check EORI database
If you don’t yet have a number, it’s simple to get one.
Apply for EORI number
Job 2. Register forTSP
After a no-deal Brexit, businesses who currently freely bring in goods from the EU will have to make declarations and duty payments to HMRC.
To help smooth the changeover, your business should apply for Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP). Once registered, your business will be able to make declarations to HMRC after your goods have passed through customs, reducing delays.
Apply for TSP
Job 3. Learn your supply chain inside out
A no-deal Brexit is likely to bring all kinds of unpredictable issues. Your business is more likely to handle these issues if you understand your supply chain from top to bottom.
Check all your current documentation, then talk to colleagues, suppliers, partners and clients. Learn who is responsible for every stage of the process. Then, document the answers and update everyone in the team on how the supply chain works.
This process will make your business more resilient in the face of the unpredictable consequences of no-deal
One final piece of advice comes directly from my discussions with import export professionals. For many businesses the major problem of a no-deal Brexit won’t be duty. Instead, coping with the multiple layers of complexity in preparing customs entries will be the biggest headache for many of us. This means that businesses who prepare for this eventuality could have a considerable advantage over those that don’t.
This button takes you to more information and advice from HMRC
As always, please call or email me with comments or questions, we’re always happy to discuss individual issues.