The UK will leave the EU by automatic operation of the law on 31 October 2019, unless the UK Parliament does something to stop it, and there is precious little time left for MPs to do anything.
If there are no arrangements in place (no deal brexit) to temporarily keep the UK within the customs union, import and export procedures will change immediately. All businesses who export to, or import from, EU countries will need an EORI number issued by the UK, otherwise they will not be able to keep trading with EU customers and suppliers.
HMRC is automatically allocating EORI numbers to 88,000 VAT registered traders who have completed an EC sales list to report goods sold to EU countries, and don’t already have an EORI number. The letters informing traders of their new unique EORI number should arrive this week.
However, many more businesses who are not VAT registered will also need an EORI number. If you import goods from the EU, or export any goods to customers in the EU, even very small amounts, they will need an EORI number to clear those goods through customs. Those businesses need to apply for an EORI number as soon as possible.
In addition to clearing customs the UK business will have to pay VAT on any goods imported from the EU into the UK. A trader can register for transitional simplified procedures (TSP), which is an additional process to the EORI number. There may also be tariffs to deal with on certain goods, and health and safety certificates.
There is a lot to understand about importing and exporting post Brexit, but fortunately the French customs authority has provided a useful guide.
Written by the Tax Advice Network