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Time is running out to get ready for end of Brexit transition

Tuesday 22nd December, 2020

With less than two weeks to go until the Brexit Transition period ends, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is urging traders to complete crucial preparations needed to trade with Europe from 1 January.

This month, HMRC has sent 250,000 letters and emails to VAT-registered traders urging them to get ready for the new trading rules.

Ongoing trade negotiations between the UK and the EU will not impact on this deadline.

There will be no further extensions and these talks will not remove the changes ahead for trading with Europe. As of 1 January, businesses will no longer be able to trade with EU countries in the same way they do at present.

Katherine Green and Sophie Dean, Directors General, Borders and Trade, HMRC, said: 

“We understand the complex pressures that all businesses are dealing with this winter, as a result of COVID-19. But everyone in the UK who trades with EU countries or will move goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol will be affected by new processes and rules from 1 January 2021. They must take action to protect their business or risk disruption in the New Year.

“We urge businesses to act now. HMRC is working hard to help you prepare so you can continue to trade smoothly at the end of the Brexit transition period. Please take advantage of the help on offer – including live webinars, videos and forums.”

The changes to customs and tax rules will affect everyone who trades with EU countries, no matter the type or value of the goods they buy or sell, how frequently they trade or how their goods are transported.

HMRC is encouraging customers to complete the new trader checklist, which can be found on GOV.UK. This simple guide will help them work through the necessary steps they must take to be ready for 1 January 2021 and identify aspects of their preparations which need urgent attention.

Businesses that are not confident of their readiness or yet to prepare for the new processes are warned not to move goods from 1 January, as doing so risks delays and added costs for them.

The key actions businesses must take to continue trading smoothly with EU countries next year include:

  • Check when you need to make customs declarations. From 1 January 2021, you will need to make declarations for goods you import and export. However, if you import goods from EU countries that are not controlled, you may be able to delay making declarations for up to six months.
  • Get ready to make customs declarations. Customs declarations are complex and time consuming, so most businesses use a specialist, such as a customs broker, freight forwarder or fast parcel operator, to deal with customs for them. This is important regardless of the amount or value of trade your business does with Europe.
  • Register for the free to use Trader Support Service if you plan on moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.

More support and advice is available at www.gov.uk/transition

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