Navigating a no-deal Brexit: a guide for Importers and Exporters

23/04/2019
Navigating a no-deal Brexit: a guide for Importers and Exporters

With Brexit just a few months away now or will the UK, ever leave the European Union. Businesses across the UK are doing everything they can to prepare. But what exactly should you be doing? This depends largely on what your business does, what industry you operate in and whether your suppliers or customers are based in the EU.

Fortunately, there’s a dedicated government website where you can use these criteria to zoom in on the preparation information relevant to your business. Packaged mostly in summary articles alongside full length guidelines, the topics covered include employing EU citizens, use of personal data, operating in the EU and more. While there’s still uncertainty around the exact manner in which Britain will leave the EU, the website tries where possible to account for these variables.

With a no-deal Brexit becoming an increasingly likely scenario, HMRC has recently published a series of videos providing step-by-step guidelines for businesses who import or export goods. There’s a lot to be done before the UK leaves the EU, so if your business is importing from or exporting goods to the EU, these are definitely worth a watch. Here’s a quick summary of what’s included:

To import goods from the EU after a no-deal Brexit, you’ll need to…

1. Register for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number

Although applying takes a few minutes, you could wait 3 days to get your number so it’s best to do this straight away. If you already have an EORI number, you don’t need to re-apply.

2. Find the commodity code of your goods

These are necessary for VAT, duty, relief as well as licensing and can be found here.

3. Determine the value of your goods

Although there are several ways to work this out, the HMRC recommends using the transaction value; the price paid by the buyer to the seller when the good are sold for export.

4. Check if the goods are restricted

For example, you may need a special licence to import plants, animals or medicines.

5. Check where your goods are coming from

This could reduce your import tariff.

6. Check if your business is eligible for facilitations

And, make sure you can meet the necessary obligations.

7. Get the right Customs Procedure Code (CPC) for your goods

You can find more information about CPCs here.

8. Declare your imports

HMRC warns that customs declarations can be complex, so it’s best to use a customs agent, express courier or freight forwarder.

9. Pay duty and import VAT on your goods

Learn about postponed accounting for import VAT here.

10. Keep records For 6 years.

You can read full step-by-step guidance for how to prepare your import business for a no-deal EU exit here. The HMRC has also published Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) which aim to simplify some of these steps in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

To export goods to the EU after a no-deal Brexit, you’ll need to…

1. Get export advice

The HMRC video simply recommends visiting gov.uk for more information, although this partnership pack could be a good place to start.

2. Register for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number

Although applying takes a few minutes, you could wait 3 days to get your number so it’s best to do this straight away. Your EU customers will need to register for a European EORI number, if they don’t already have one.

3. Check if you need a licence to export your goods

Read about military and dual-use goods here or check out this list of prohibited and restricted goods.

4. Find the commodity code of your goods

These codes classify your goods so you can complete export declarations in the right way. Refer to these product classifications guides for help with this.

5. Get the right Customs Procedure Code (CPC) for your goods

You can find more information about CPCs here. HMRC also recommends using a 3rd party such as a customs agent, express courier or freight forwarder to assist with customs declarations.

6. Register for the National Export System (NES)

If you don’t use one of the 3rd parties mentioned above, you’ll also need to apply for a CHIEF badge.

7. Attach the commercial invoice to your goods

If you’re using a 3rd party, they will have asked you to fill one of these in. You’ll also need to attach the licence if you need one.

8. Present the goods at customs

The NES system will send a message to the port of exit, after which permission to progress will be granted through the CHIEF system. For more information, read chapter 4 of Notice 275: Customs export procedures.

9. Finalise the export entry

This needs to be done on CHIEF and can only be done by an authorised CHIEF loader (information about this is also covered in Notice 275).

10. Keep records For 6 years.

Access the UK Government’s full step-by-step guidance for exporting after a no-deal EU exit here.

Please note: This article contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. The content of this article is for information purposes only and should not be relied on as legal or regulatory advice.

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