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HMRC tells UK firms how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit

6 February 2019

Hand drawing a red line between the UK and the rest of the European UnionThe UK tax body has written to UK businesses that trade only with the EU, with details of the actions they need to take in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The HMRC letter asks businesses to take a number of actions to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. These include:

  • Registering for a EORI number to trade within the EU;
  • Deciding if they want to hire an agent to make import and/or export declarations for them or if they want to make declarations themselves using relevant software;
  • Registering for Transitional Simplified Procedures, a new process to make importing easier than it otherwise would be for the initial period after the UK leaves the EU.

It's part of a raft of guidance from the government on what businesses need to do in the event of a no-deal Brexit. There are also updates on the way businesses trading with the EU pay import VAT and use EU VAT IT systems.

These changes do not apply to trade across the Northern Ireland-Ireland land border. HMRC says it will set out information about the arrangements for trading with Ireland "as soon as we can".

Other key guidance on the government website covers:

Businesses can also answer seven questions on the new Prepare your business for the UK leaving the EU tool to get specific guidance relevant to them and their sector.

Also this week, there have been reports that the cabinet is considering ways of making imports tariff-free if the UK leaves the EU in March without a deal. "Businesses across the UK will be deeply concerned by reports that ministers are considering setting UK import tariffs to zero in the case of no-deal," said Adam Marshall, director general of British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

"Ministers have not consulted with business on removing tariffs … A snap decision to move to zero tariffs speedily and unilaterally would harm domestic producers and exporters and create a huge new source of extra uncertainty for business communities at an already difficult time. Some UK businesses would lose market share very quickly and find themselves facing imminent threats to their survival."

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