Brexit - Important Advice for Businesses

Gary Hughes

Special Projects Manager

If the UK leaves the EU at 11pm on 29th March 2019 as planned it will affect how the UK does business with its current EU partners. Businesses that trade with other EU countries need to take some important actions to ensure their business runs smoothly throughout the transition:

Action 1. EORI Number

If you currently trade with EU countries (whether you are VAT registered or not) you will need to apply to HMRC for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number (EORI).

You will need an EORI number to continue to import or export goods with the EU after 29th March 2019 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. It isn’t clear if an EORI number will be needed in the event of a deal.

Action 2. Consider using a Freight Forwarder

Decide if you want to hire an agent (usually referred to as a “Freight Forwarder”) to make import/export declarations for you, or whether you will do this yourself. The Customs process for trading with other EU countries post-Brexit is likely to change significantly.

Action 3. Keep up to date with information requirements

Liaise with the organisation that transports your goods to or from EU countries to see if you will need to supply additional information post-Brexit to allow movement of goods.

Action 4. Register for Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP)

HMRC are introducing new Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) for customs, to make importing easier for the initial period after the UK leaves the EU, should there be no deal.

Once registered you will be able to transport goods into the UK without having to make a full customs declaration at the border, and you will be able to postpone paying import duties.

However, for controlled goods you will have to provide some information before import.

You can sign up for the TSP online at You will need an EORI number to do this, so it is important to have applied for one before making a TSP application.

Further guidance can be found at

Action 5. Further Controls for Exports

If you export goods to the EU from the UK, you will need to make an export declaration to HMRC. You, or whoever is importing goods to the EU on your behalf, will also need to comply with EU member state customs and controls.

To avoid delays at the border, check relevant member state public information for steps you need to take to prepare and go to for the relevant guidance that will apply to your goods.

Action 6. Changes to Accounting for VAT

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal after 29 March you will be able to declare and recover import VAT on your next VAT return, rather than when goods arrive at the UK border. This is called VAT postponed accounting. If you trade between the UK and EU you will be used to accounting for VAT in this way, when bringing goods into the UK.

From 29 March if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it will also be possible to use VAT postponed accounting when you import from the rest of the world.

You will be able to declare and recover import VAT on the same VAT return. To do this you will need to provide your VAT registration number on your customs declaration.

Action 7. VAT Registration Checks


If you currently use the EU’s VAT number validation service (VIES) to check a customer or supplier’s VAT number, UK VAT numbers will no longer be part of this service after 29 March 2019.

If you need to check a UK VAT registration after that time, you can use the UK VAT number checker, which will be on GOV.UK from 29 March 2019.

Action 8. EU VAT Refunds

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK businesses will be able to reclaim VAT from EU countries, using existing processes for businesses based outside the EU.


Whilst we are unsure whether the UK will leave the EU with or without a deal, with just over two months until Brexit day it is essential that businesses plan ahead to help ensure a smooth transition so that trade will not be too adversely affected following the UK leaving the EU.

How Hallidays can help

For expert advice and support please contact our friendly advisers at Hallidays on 0161 476 8276 or email

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