News

Chancellor accelerates Brexit preparations for businesses

September 26, 2019

HMRC is stepping up efforts to ensure businesses are ready to trade post-Brexit by automatically enrolling companies in an important customs system and doubling the numbers registered, the Chancellor announced last August,

More than 88,000 VAT registered companies across the UK will be allocated an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number in the next two weeks in order to keep trading with customers and suppliers in the EU after the UK has left.

72,000 companies have already registered for EORI numbers. With Brexit preparations accelerated under the new government, ministers are taking decisive action to speed up the rollout of the scheme to help ensure the smooth transit of goods.

EORI numbers are a unique ID number allocated to businesses that enables them to be identified by Customs authorities when doing business with other traders.

If businesses do not have an EORI number post-Brexit, it will become very difficult for them to move goods into or out of the EU, costs and delays will increase (for example, if HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) cannot clear your goods there may be storage fees to pay).

An EORI number that starts with GB, is 12 digits long and if a company is already registered for VAT it will include the VAT registration number.

Letters informing businesses of automatically allocated EORI numbers will start arriving today as the Government steps up efforts to ensure the UK is ready for Brexit.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said:

As the government accelerates its preparation to leave the EU on 31st October, it’s right that businesses are prepared too.

There can be no time for delay which is why HMRC has allocated thousands of businesses with a trading number to ensure they can continue to trade their goods through Europe from day one.

This will help ease the flow of goods at border points and support businesses to trade and grow.

The Chancellor has been determined to grip Brexit preparations, allocating an extra £2.1 billion for government departments last month to prepare for no deal, doubling Brexit funding for this year.

As part of the cash injection, border and customs operations will receive an additional £344m to be ready for Brexit, including by hiring more border officers, doubling the support available for customs agents, and improving transport infrastructure around ports.

Additional information:

  • If a business is not VAT-registered, it will still need to register for an EORI number;  
  • Getting an EORI number is one of the steps that businesses need to action urgently to be prepared for leaving the EU; 
  • After getting an EORI number, businesses will need to decide whether to complete customs declarations themselves or employ a customs agent to do this. As part of the £2.1bn announced on 31st July, HMRC are doubling the support made available for customs agents to train new staff or invest in better IT so businesses can get the support they need to complete customs declarations. If employing a customs agent, businesses will need to supply their EORI number.

 Information to inform this decision can be found at:

 for importing https://www.gov.uk/prepare-import-to-uk-after-brexit

 for exporting https://www.gov.uk/prepare-export-from-uk-after-brexit 

  • Traders also need to decide whether to apply for Transitional Simplified Procedures to make it easier to import goods from the EU. Find out how to register on:  

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/register-for-simplified-import-procedures-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-without-a-deal 

  • Letters to businesses containing their assigned EORI number will arrive within two weeks 
  • If businesses have been issued a UK EORI number by HMRC and then apply online, they will receive a message to say that they already have one 
  • HMRC advises businesses to contact HMRC if they are unsure. HMRC will be able to confirm whether a number has been assigned

Source: HMRC - 2019

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