6th November 2020

It is now just eight weeks until 1 January 2021, when the Brexit transition period ends and the UK effectively does leave the EU – with, or without a deal. If your business is one that trades with the EU you need to be prepared for the changes that will come in from that date.

In recent weeks and months HMRC have published significant amounts of guidance on new procedures for both exports and imports with the EU, and the rest of the world for that matter, including:

  • postponed import VAT accounting
  • customs deferment account procedures
  • customs guarantee waivers
  • tariff rates
  • low value imports and overseas businesses selling into the UK
  • trade through Northern Ireland

The key now is not to delay considering how your business will be affected by the ending of the UK’s member of the Single Market and borderless trade with the EU. Whether this will involve looking to appoint a freight agent to handle any customs declarations for imports and exports on your behalf; applying for, or amending any customs deferment account and guarantees; to wider implications for trade with the rest of the EU such as shipping terms, VAT registration, warehousing of stock and onward movement of goods throughout the EU – it is important that you do act now.

It is likely HMRC resources over the coming weeks/months will be stretched not least because of the current COVID-19 situation and of course the Christmas period in the run up to 1 January, and therefore we would recommend considering the impact of leaving the EU will have on your business sooner, rather than later, if you have not already done so.

We have already been assisting some of our clients with issues they have been facing leading up to 1 January, such as multiple EU VAT registrations, shipping terms, customs warehousing, overseas subsidiary companies and logistics implications.

If you would like further guidance on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact one of our dedicated VAT specialists: Mark Hetherington, VAT partner, on 0191 243 6073 or at markhetherington@unw.co.uk; or Ian Coulthard, VAT Senior Manager, on 0191 243 6017 or at iancoulthard@unw.co.uk. You can also contact David Ward, Corporate Tax partner on 0191 243 6081 or at davidward@unw.co.uk.

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