Brexit: Important VAT and Shipping Update from HMRC

21 January 2019
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The below update has been sent out by HMRC in the wake of May’s Brexit deal being rejected in a historic defeat. We advise all our EU and UK clients that ship goods between Europe and UK to read the following.

The UK will be leaving the EU on 29 M‌ar‌c‌h 2019. Leaving the EU with a deal remains the Government’s top priority, however the government and businesses should continue to plan for every possible outcome including no deal.

In December, HMRC wrote to VAT-registered businesses that trade only with the EU advising them to take 3 actions to prepare for a no deal EU Exit, including registering for an UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. You can read the full letter here.

Businesses that only trade with the EU will need an EORI number:

  • to continue to import or export goods with the EU after 29 M‌ar‌c‌h 2019, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal; and
  • before they can apply for authorisations that will make customs processes easier.

If you are a UK business that trades with the EU and do not already have an EORI number then you should register for an EORI number at GOV.UK now. It only takes 10 minutes to apply. These businesses should also decide if they want to hire an agent to make import and/or export declarations for them or make the declarations themselves.

Businesses can find further guidance on customs declarations at Declaring your goods at customs if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. We have also published a new ‘Prepare your business for the UK leaving the EU’ tool on GOV‌.UK to help businesses with their EU Exit preparations that provides further support and guidance at Prepare your business for the UK leaving the EU.

We will continue to support businesses in their preparations for leaving the EU, including registering for an EORI number, as the 29 M‌ar‌c‌h 2019 approaches.

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