Brexit Is, Well Maybe, Probably, Almost Definitely Happening; Here’s What Your Business Needs to Do to Prepare

After over two years of uncertainty concerning the UK’s departure from the European Union, Brexit is due to happen on 31st October. We are still no clearer on whether the UK government will be able to negotiate a deal, or we leave with a no-deal Brexit. Either way one thing is for sure – if you’re a UK business trading within the EU and/or the rest of the world, you have to be ready.

Whilst HMRC are currently issuing thousands of letters to business owners across the UK, at LWA, we have summarised HMRC’s support information below to help you.

Brexit pointers

If you trade with companies in the EU by importing from them or exporting to them, regardless of the number of annual transactions, you will be affected by changes that will come into place on 31st October.

Apply for your UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number starting with GB – it just takes 10 minutes and unless you have one you will not be able to buy in or sell goods out of the UK.

  • Get advice from a customs expert – this will help you to determine whether you can manage the completion and of customs forms with inhouse skills and software, or whether you will need to outsource.
  • The rest of this article points you to resources available from HMRC ‘s website on how to prepare your business for leaving the EU (assuming a No deal Brexit) including information on:
  • Simplified import procedures
  • Customs duty tariffs on imports
  • Deferring tax payments for customs and excise duties, and import VAT

No-deal Brexit advice for businesses trading within the EU

There will be implications for VAT on goods and services being traded between the UK and EU if a no-deal Brexit is the outcome of the UK leaving the EU. Furthermore, bearing in mind the changes to border agreements and arrangements between Northern Ireland and Ireland, we advise you review the correct HMRC link below explaining how to prepare for changes to customs, excise and VAT if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Available on the HMRC website:

No deal Brexit advice for businesses trading with the EU and/or the rest of the world

As above, a No deal Brexit will affect changes to customs excise and VAT if you’re a business that trades with the rest of the world as well as in the EU. Please visit HMRC’s website to review the full detail in the documents covering:

Simplified import procedures

Whether or not you are a VAT registered company that sources goods from the EU (including from outside the EU that will travel through and have to clear EU custom formalities), if you are a Sole Trader in the UK or are a limited company or partnership with a UK registered office and / or permanent premises where you carry out business activities, you can register to use transitional simplified procedures.

This will reduce the amount of information you need to give in an import declaration when the goods are crossing the border from the EU by letting you delay submitting a full declaration and paying any duty. You must have an EORI number starting with GB.

Changes to customs duty tariffs on imported goods

In the event of a No deal Brexit, there are probably going to be changes to import tariffs which will be effective for up to 12 months. Temporary rates have been published by HMRC which will be updated / confirmed on 31st October.

The rates will vary depending on the products and where you import the goods from, and it would be worth finding out if a preferential tariff rate, most favoured nation tariff rate or tariff rate quota would be applicable. Click here for further information.

Deferring payments of import VAT and customs and excise duties

If you are a UK resident and / or have a company or partnership registered in the UK with an EORI number starting with GB, you can apply to defer payments due on VAT for imported goods, customs duty and excise duties. All you need to do is complete forms C1200B and C1202 which can be found on HMRC’s website.

Please see our June blog with specific details on import and export VAT changes for further information on stored goods, VAT refunds and VAT IT systems (MOSS).


There are major changes for your business ahead of a no-deal Brexit, and we hope the above is helpful. Please be assured you can call our Corporate Tax team in Warrington on 01925 830 830, or in our Manchester office on 0161 905 1801, for any guidance. You can also register for email alerts from HMRC and book a free place on one of their upcoming webinars.