16th March 2021

HMRC has updated its guidance on how small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), who are new to importing and/or exporting, can apply for grants of up to £2,000 through the SME Brexit Support Fund.

The SME Brexit Support Fund has been established to help support SMEs with international trade. The added benefit of this grants scheme is that it can also be used to help businesses get professional advice on importing and exporting.

From 15 March 2021, small businesses can now apply for grants of up to £2,000 that can be used for training or advice on:

  • How to complete customs declarations
  • How to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems
  • Specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise, and rules of origin

The last of these bullet points is an improvement to a similar grant scheme which was open last year and now covers more generic advice around trading with the EU (i.e. help towards our fees).

To apply for the scheme, your business must have been established in the United Kingdom for at least 12 months before submitting the application, or currently on hold Authorised Economic Operator status. Alongside this, your business must:

  • Have no more than 500 employees
  • Have no more than £100 million turnover
  • Import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU, or move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Your business must also either:

  • Complete (or intend to complete) import or export declarations internally for its own goods
  • Use someone else to complete import or export declarations but requires additional capability internally to effectively important or export (such as advice on rules of origin or advice on dealing with a supply chain).

For further information on how to apply, please click here. Applications will close on 30 June 2021 or earlier if all funding is allocated before this date.

If you would like further guidance on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact 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.

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