Importers and exporters urged to take urgent action on post-Brexit VAT and Customs Duty arrangements

posted on 22nd September 2020 by Eddie Saunders
Importers and exporters urged to take urgent action on post-Brexit VAT and Customs Duty arrangements

Rob says: “Businesses involved in the import and export of goods with EU member states have a lot to consider in a particularly short period of time. With Boris Johnson stating that negotiations should be finalised by October, time is running out for firms to ensure they are compliant with their obligations. 

“Failure to take action at this pivotal moment could lead to significant delays, whether it be difficulty in applying for an EORI number or delays in the movement of goods between the UK and the EU. 

“Businesses are urged to act now to ensure their VAT obligations are met following the end of the transitional period. Taking urgent action will avoid encountering problems further down the line as we enter into more uncertain times.” 

Rob has also urged importers to consider that irrespective of whether there is a free trade agreement, there will be changes to how businesses trade with the EU following the end of the transition period. Therefore, it is vital to make preparations for a change in terms when purchasing from EU suppliers, particularly because: 

  • UK businesses will not be able to export from Europe after January 1st 2021, which means ex-works purchases will be difficult 
  • There may be some confusion over who is the importer of record in the UK – whether it be UK businesses or EU suppliers 

There will also be some changes regarding customs declarations between January 1st 2021 and June 30th 2021, which businesses involved in the import and export of goods will need to be aware of. Firms will have two options after the end of the transition period, whereby they can make full declarations prior to the import or make use of deferred declarations. 

“It is simply essential that all importers consider their supply chain and who does what, as well as what declarations are required on the movement of goods from the EU, how to submit these declarations and when,” Rob says. 

For UK exporters, it is important that steps are taken to think about their supply chain and the terms of trade following the country’s departure from the EU. Rob has urged businesses to bear in mind that any export from the UK will result in an import in the EU. For this reason, it is important to make plans to work out who will do what regarding the following: 

  • Exports from the UK 
  • Imports into the EU
  • Whether the UK business will be the importer of record in the EU 

From January 1st 2021, full export declarations will be required for exports and must be pre-lodged prior to shipment. In addition, if exports include goods that have been imported, it is important to consider duty paid in the UK and then again in the EU, which could prove costly.