[intro]From the 1st of January 2021, there will be new rules and regulations for businesses operating within the UK. Brexit is when the UK will have officially left the EU and its regulations so there are a few things you need to do to prepare your business before then. [/intro]

Change your VAT Settings

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, this means that VAT rules within the UK could change. Although the UK’s VAT future is uncertain, you will want to ensure that your online shop has VAT categorised separately for purchases made from the UK and EU countries. You can do this by amending the Tax settings on your EKM online shop.

If you have specific concerns about how VAT rules may affect your business moving forward, you should consult the Gov.uk website for official guidance, or it may be worth contacting an accountant who will be able to advise you further.

Check your Global Tariff

The UK Global Tariff will replace the current common external tariff and will apply to any imported goods from 1st January 2021. Depending on what country your goods are imported from, you may see an increase or decrease or the tariffs may remain the same. 

The UK Global Tariff will apply to all goods unless the goods:

  • Are from a developing country that is part of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences;
  • Are from a country with a trade agreement with the UK;
  • Have a relief or tariff suspension.

Gov.uk has provided a self-service tool to find out how the Global Tariff will affect your business.

Moving goods between Northern Ireland and the UK

If you’re selling products and shipping them between the UK and Northern Ireland you’ll need to seek guidance from the Trader Support Service on what the protocol will be from the 1st of January 2021. 

Ensure you have an EORI number

If your business already moves goods between the UK and non-EU countries, you likely already have an EORI number. However, from 1st January, you will also need one to move goods from the UK to the EU. You may also need a separate EORI number if you move goods to or from Northern Ireland. 

If you do not have an EORI number, you risk cost increases and delays (for example if your goods are not cleared by HMRC you may be required to pay storage fees). If your UK-based business already has an EORI number, ensure that it starts with GB. If it does not, you will need to apply for a new one. 

You won’t however, need an EORI number if you:

  • Provide services;
  • Move goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland;
  • Your EORI number begins with ‘GB’ from January 1st 2021. 

To apply, you will need your:

  • VAT number and the effective date of registration – these are on your VAT registration certificate;
  • National Insurance number – if you’re an individual or a sole trader;
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR);
  • Business start date and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code – these are in the Companies House register;
  • Government Gateway user ID and password.

Full guidance on who needs an EORI number and how to apply for one can be found by visiting the Gov.uk website.

Check your products against the list of Controlled Goods

Up until 30 June 2021, most imported goods can be recorded in your records without prior authorisation. However certain controlled goods must follow the rules for import declarations

An example of such goods are excise goods (like alcohol or tobacco), controlled drugs, chemicals, fishery products, fertilisers, firearms and more. The full list, as well as guidelines on how to declare controlled goods, can be found via Gov.uk

Check with Overseas Suppliers and Shipping Companies

While you’re taking care of things for your business, don’t forget that other businesses in your supply or delivery chain will be doing the same. It is important to reach out to any international suppliers to ensure that they are compliant and prepared for the Brexit deadline, as well as consult with any shipping companies you use to import/export goods to check for things like price increases. 



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