Preparing for the EU exit door

With departure deadlines looming and political turmoil intensifying, HMRC is stepping up its efforts to ensure businesses are ready to trade post-Brexit.

The taxman has revealed it is automatically enrolling companies in an important customs system and doubling the numbers registered.

More than 88,000 VAT registered companies across the UK are being allocated an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number so that they can keep trading with customers and suppliers in the EU once the UK Brexits.

Figures also reveal that so far 72,000 UK companies have already registered for their EORI number.

With Brexit preparations accelerated under the Boris Johnson regime, ministers say they are taking this “taking decisive action” to speed up the rollout of the scheme to help ensure the smooth transit of goods.

And with an October 31 exit with ‘no deal’ still on the table Chancellor Sajid Javid announced the move declaring: “There can be no time for delay.”

So, what does it mean and why do businesses need this number? EORI numbers are a unique ID number allocated to businesses that enables them to be identified by Customs authorities when doing business with other traders.

If businesses do not have an EORI number postBrexit, they will be unable to continue to trade with EU member states.

If businesses do not have an EORI number postBrexit, they will be unable to continue to trade with EU member states.

Letters informing businesses of automatically allocated EORI numbers are now being sent out, HMRC has revealed.

Once they have their EORI number, businesses will need to decide whether to complete customs declarations themselves, or employ a customs agent to do it for them.

Traders will also need to decide whether to apply for Transitional Simplified Procedures to make it easier to import goods from the EU.

  • To read this feature in full and access further Lancashire business news, advice and analysis subscribe to Lancashire Business View magazine or join the LBV Hub from just £2.50 per month. Click here to subscribe now.