Preparing for post-Brexit trading


With Brexit news returning to the forefront of business headlines again this month, if you trade within the EU there are changes that you need you plan for ahead of the end of the transition period next month.

As of 1st January 2021, UK businesses will have to review their imports and exports process, with new measures in place for VAT and Custom Duties.

At the moment no agreement between the UK and EU has been made, so watch this space! You can use the Government’s online Brexit checker to make sure your business is ready, but here’s some initial information in the meantime.

Importing from the EU to UK

From 1st January, the UK Global Tariff will apply to all goods imported into the UK unless an exception applies, such as a trade agreement with the UK.

For most goods, businesses won’t need to make immediate import declarations at the UK border or get authorisation in advance. You can instead delay your customs import declaration for six months (from 1st January to 30th June 2021). Controlled goods such as tobacco or alcohol are the excepti0ns in using this scheme.

Any items previously classed as ‘arrivals’ will be known as ‘imports’ after January and VAT is payable at the port or included in your VAT return as ‘postponed import VAT’. for as long as certain conditions are met. All imports must be declared and Arrival Intrastat Declarations will need to be completed if you exceed the limit. Goods may be liable to Duty at the UK rate.

Exporting from the UK to the EU

Dispatches or ‘exports’, may still be subject to VAT at 0% if certain conditions are met and all export declarations must be made. Goods will be subject to Duty on arrival into the EU at the EU’s rate.

For controlled goods you may need to apply for additional licences and certificates with applicable fees. You may also need to notify the EU in advance when you are moving goods, which may cause delays.


 EU representation and registrations. As the UK will no longer be part of the EU Single Market, your business will be required to appoint a fiscal representative (local entity) to be jointly liable for your tax debts. Not all EU states enforce this, but Belgium, France, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden currently do. You will also need to register for VAT in any EU countries that your business exports to.

You must pay import VAT on parcels you sell to UK buyers if you are based outside the UK or sell goods sent in parcels worth £135 or less to UK buyers.

If you sell goods sent in parcels worth over £135, the import VAT, Customs Duty (and Excise Duty where applicable) should be paid by the UK buyer and collected by the parcel operator.

EORI Number

UK businesses will need one or more of three different types of EORI number as of 1st January 2021, depending on where you import and export. Last year HMRC began issuing new EORI numbers that begin with GB to UK businesses that needed one. If you haven’t got one you can apply here.

This is just an initial guide, so if you need more information do take a look at the Government’s website on Brexit taxes and tariffs or complete the online Brexit checker tool or see here.

We very much hope that the UK and EU come to an agreement soon so we can all better plan for a post-Brexit environment. If you need help or advice on any of the above, please do give us a call (01752 665134). We are still open and here for businesses during the pandemic.

Our office will be closing over Christmas and New Year and will re-open on Monday 4th January 2021.

That leaves us to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at Harold Duckworth & Co!

Information correct at time of publishing 22.12.2020.

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