The end of the Brexit transition period has caused confusion for many businesses. The timing could not have been worse - with the end of the transition period not just following hot on the heels of Christmas, but also coming in the middle of a global pandemic and a recession that has already dealt huge blows to businesses and the economy.
A major issue involves the changes to importing and exporting goods to and from the EU. Many businesses have still not had time to prepare, or even to get their head around these changes. So what positive action can they take?
What are the first steps to take following the end of the Brexit Transition Period?
Firstly, an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number is required to move goods into or out of the EU, and if you haven’t done so already, you will have to register your business for one.
Any goods imported to the UK will also be subject to UK Global Tariffs, and you will need to find out what these will be, and consider how this will affect your finances.
You might also need to check if you will need to register for VAT in any of the EU countries your business works with. It’s a good idea to consult an experienced accountant regarding this.
You’ll need to check whether anyone in your current supply chain will be raising prices to cover additional Brexit costs. If there are suppliers who are unprepared for the transition it may be a good time to reconsider the relationship.
It’s crucial that you take the necessary steps to prepare and handle your export declarations. The government’s UK Transition Trader Checklist can be a handy resource in laying out the steps you need to take with customs declarations and your supply chain.
It’s recommended that businesses seek the help of a specialist to complete these declarations if possible - it’s a complicated and time-consuming process with no margin for error.
If you do make the decision to do this yourself consider training someone within your business to make sure they have the requisite knowledge and skills. Your business will have to use the National Export System to submit a full export declaration and a safety and security declaration through CHIEF - system used to make declarations to HMRC.
It’s important that you know which records you need to keep hold of to support customs declarations, and that you understand the different rules in place for controlled goods.
There’s the option to register for a duty deferment account (until June 30th 2021), if you plan to delay declarations for non-controlled imported goods.
How Freight Forwarders can Help
As we have discussed, import and export declarations are incredibly complicated, requiring specialist skills and knowledge of the regulations and the IT systems used to submit these declarations.
Many businesses have made things simpler for themselves by using a freight forwarding company to help. One such company is Davies Turner, who have been preparing for Brexit since 2016 and upscaling business operations to help UK businesses keep their supply chains moving.
Using specialist help with this can not only lessen the load for you, but can also ensure that your paperwork is correct and everything goes as smoothly as possible.