Warning to all UK businesses as the government begins issuing only selected companies with ‘UK EORI’ – a requirement to trade with the EU from 31.10.2019

HMRC has begun issuing UK EORI Numbers only to certain VAT registered companies, leaving non-VAT registered businesses who trade with the EU in danger of not being able to trade from 31 October 2019.

EORI (European Operator Registration and Identification Numbers), identifies a business to customs authorities. Companies will need these in order to continue trading with the EU from 31 October 2019. Without an EORI number, companies will not be able to move goods in or out of the UK. This will have a significant impact on many UK businesses.

It appears that HMRC has only written to VAT registered companies that have traded goods with the EU in 2018. It is not clear whether companies that only began trading with the EU in 2019 will automatically be contacted and it is unlikely that any companies currently preparing to trade with the EU will be automatically issued with an EORI Number. 

All companies trading with the EU need to take action now

Given the serious consequences for companies that do not automatically receive a UK EORI Number in time for leaving the EU, it would be prudent for all relevant companies to act now. Those companies either trading, or proposing to trade across the EU (VAT registered or not), should request a UK EORI Number immediately as an extra precaution.

Additionally, if you have a subsidiary company that trades goods with the EU, they will need to apply for a UK EORI themselves, HMRC will not provide this automatically.

Equally important, if a UK company trades with EU Member States, it will most likely also need to get an ‘EU EORI’ number. This is not provided automatically and is valid across the entire EU, this can be provided from the EU member state the company is trading with.

Additional preparations

In addition to obtaining a UK EORI Number, there are numerous other preparations that companies should now make. 

If you import goods, for example, the government recommends that you apply for Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP), which offers simplified simpler import procedures. These include providing extra time to send in customs documentation and allowing the import of goods from the EU without the need for full customs declarations at the border or the immediate payment of import duties.

If you export goods to the EU, customs declarations will be required for goods and extra information may need to be provided to facilitate this. You should also check that your purchasers in the EU are set up to follow that country’s customs processes for receiving goods.

Contact Alexander & Co 

For any aspect of tax advice, including imports and exports and preparing to leave the EU, contact one of our specialist tax advisors. Call our tax advice team today on 0161 832 4841 or complete our online enquiry form and we will be in touch shortly.

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