Brexit for Business: What are the present implications?

As the UK Government moves ever closer to the March 2019 exit date from the European Union an agreement still feels years away. The British exit from the EU (Brexit) has been a confusing process for those involved in business and in politics. Even today, months from withdrawal, there is little to no clarity on what the likely future for British business will be in a post-EU economy.

At Devonshire Green, we want to try and help clear up some of the discussion around what will take place on 29th March, 2019, in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. This would involve a lack of any kind of trade agreement with the EU post-exit, and would result in meaningful, lasting change to how businesses operate. For any business in the UK which is going to be VAT-registered come the exit time in 2019, it’s important that you look to better understand what your obligations may be.

Trading when VAT-registered might take on small but significant changes to the way that your business will operate moving forward.

For any business which trades within the European Union and is based within England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, what comes next can seem confusing. Here are some of the recommendations being offered at this moment in time if you are a VAT-registered business only trading with the EU.

Registering for EORI

First, we recommend that any business who is based in the EU looks to arrange its affairs as soon as is possible. In the unlikely (but more likely than before) event that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit takes place, customs management will change almost entirely for your business. If you are in this position, then you should do what you can to arrange the needed steps to allow your business to continue trading.

First off, we recommend that you contact the UK Government to arrange registration for a UK Economic Operator Identification (EORI) Number. This number shall play an essential role in making sure that you can begin to move towards being able to still trade within the EU, as you will need to start using customs just as you would for trade with other parts of the world.

This will mean that you need to also take into consideration the kind of expertise that you need to bring in. For example, some businesses will choose to bring in third party regulation to help manage their import/export needs. If you have previously done business with companies in Asia or North America, then the solution will feel similar here: you will now need to underdo extra declaration processes to ensure you can still trade.

This will be a frustrating part of the process for many. If you are a business in the UK that trades with the EU, though, this is going to be essential. All regulatory platforms that exist today could be gone by March 2019, so it makes sense to move as quickly as you can to arrange your EORI number. Not sure where to start or what to look for? Then feel free to contact our team at Devonshire Green. We can help you to manage your EORI registration today.

Arranging Supply & Shipping

Today, trade within the EU for UK businesses is relatively frictionless. Movement is easier due to the lack of need for customs. By the same token, you should look to try and contact the companies which manage your goods. Any shipping or haulage firms might have some new information needs or may have new declaration requirements that have to be met on your end.

You will have to find out if this changes, as it will deliver a material shift in how you handle shipping and control of your products and goods. You should look to make sure that you have a full agreement with your partners as they might also find they have some regulatory changes due to the impact of Brexit.

Many parts of our day-to-day business lives will likely change, so it pays to invest some extra time in working with those who you operate alongside to determine what changes are needed.

What support is available?

At the moment, the UK Government is promising to provide a grant scheme to help support businesses in getting ready. This will help them by offering support training and IT changes to all customs intermediaries and traders who will need to undergo a new form of customs declaration.

More information will be provided about this as time goes on, but we recommend that you check out the GOV.UK site to try and better determine what options are open to you today. If the new declarations challenges feel like they are beyond your business at present, we recommend that you look closer at the potential use of a grant: it could make the transition easier.

Finding the correct expertise

Of course, you should look to try and consider whether you need to appoint a Customs Agent as a business. If your business deals with import/export on a regular basis, then you should look to carry out investment into working with a customs agent to handle all declarations. You could do so alone using specific software, but it’s recommended that you find assistance where possible.

As ever, we will look to keep you up to date on all the latest information with regards to how Brexit will impact upon the British business scene. If you are unsure about anything or have any queries, you are more than welcome to contact our team today at Devonshire Green. We’ll do all we can to help prepare you for a potential exit from Europe.

Nick Bagga