30 Oct 2020 3:47 PM

It’s a matter of weeks until the UK reaches the end of its transition period on withdrawal from the EU and as things stand, there’s a lot of uncertainty and still no trade deal in place. But there are some things we are sure of and businesses can, and should, be preparing for those.

Businesses exporting goods to the EU for example, will have to make a Customs export declaration from day one. There will also be an import declaration required for goods coming into the UK from the EU, as it is from the rest of the world, and there will be custom duties and VAT potentially payable on import depending on any trade agreement reached.

It is possible for businesses to delay making import declarations for up to 6 months from January 2021, to give them time to get the necessary staffing and resources in place to help deal with the new requirements.

Manufacturers also need to consider trading standards. They will need a UK trading mark or standard, but if they import into the EU, they will need to meet EU standards also. Some businesses will need to look at VAT registrations in the EU and obtain EORI numbers. They may also need to establish a place of business in the EU or a fiscal representative to meet legislation.

Some businesses conduct a significant amount of trade with the EU and previously they have had no customs considerations. Suddenly these businesses will be liable for customs declarations, potentially import VAT and customs duties alongside changes in products markings. All of this takes preparation and time to put in place.

The impact of Covid-19 on these businesses will have delayed their preparations, while they were focusing on survival. In addition, getting ready for Brexit is a significant administration cost which some may not have factored in to their planning, or may not have been able to set aside while cash flow has been tight over the last few months.

It is thought that many businesses are not aware of what they need to do and are underprepared. Businesses need to act now.  If you trade with the EU and you have not yet started preparations this needs to become top of your ‘to-do’ list.

We can provide advice and assistance to business owners getting ready for Brexit, including VAT regulations and customs duty requirements, if you have any questions please email london@alliotts.com for advice.