Be Brexit ready

How will Brexit affect your business?

The UK will leave the EU at 11 pm on the 31st of January 2020.

On the 31st of December 2020, the Brexit transition period will end. This means that the EU laws we’ve continued to operate under as part of the Withdrawal Agreement Act will no longer apply.

As a member of the EU, we had access to a single market with no tariffs or border checks and combined VAT systems. From the 1st of January 2021, how we trade internationally is going to change.

The finer details are still very much under negotiation, and no formal deal has been reached at the time of writing this blog post.

The transition will not be plain sailing, but whilst so much is still unclear, there are things you’ll need to do in advance to prepare.

So, how does this affect you?

If your business operations include: import and export, transport and logistics, product safety, copyright, GDPR compliance, hiring EU citizens, environmental standards, emissions, licencing, then you’ll need to revise your processes in line with new regulations coming in.

Brexit Rules So Far.

Here’s what we know currently 

  • Postponed VAT: If you import business goods from anywhere outside GB you can use postpone VAT accounting to pay import VAT immediately
  • Importing goods: The process will be similar to that of importing goods from non-EU countries. Different rules apply to postal goods.
  • Third-party import/export: If you use a third-party customs expert, they’ll need to be based in the UK to complete customs formalities on your behalf.
  • Exporting goods: When exporting goods to non-EU countries, you’ll need to follow the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Most Favoured Nation (MFN) rules.
  • Product certification: The government has issued guidance relating to manufactured products requiring certification are manufactured and put-on sale. More info 
  • Get your professional qualification recognised by EU regulates. This will enable you to service clients in the EU.
  • Selling goods: Goods that require a CE mark will need to be replaced with a UKCA mark. Rules for Northern Ireland are still being negotiated.
  • Travel: Burgundy passports can still be used once the transition period has ended, but will need at least 6 months left if you wish to travel to most EU countries. If your passport expires sooner or is over 10 years old (since the date of issue and regardless of extra months added), you’ll need to apply for a new one.
  • Check if a visa or work permit is required to travel to the EU for work purposes. You may face issues or delays at the border when travelling for work purposes if you do have the correct documentation. You must comply with EU27 immigration requirements when travelling after the 1st of January 2021.
  • Hiring EU citizens: As now, you’ll need to continue to check ‘right to work’ for EU/EEA/Swiss job applications til the 30th of June 2021. From the 1st of January 2021, EU citizens moving to the UK for work will need a job offer from an approved employer sponsor to apply for a visa. If you recruit from the EU, you should apply to become an approved sponsor (8-week process).

My business is in the UK and only has UK customers, will Brexit affect me? 

Pretty much all businesses in the UK will need to make changes. Your business may only deal with UK customers, but the products or parts you sell/use could well be manufactured outside of the UK or centrally warehoused in the EU.

You could run into custom delays following the end of the transition period, or extra costs involved with customs import duties. To combat this, you may have to source new local suppliers which takes time and money.

There’s also the issue of data sharing. The customer and supplier data you hold could include EU citizens, which will impact how and if you can share it. More information on how Brexit will affect GDPR is available here.

In some way, shape or form – all UK businesses will be impacted by the end of the Brexit Transition Period. The message is to “Act Now” to avoid any disruption to business-as-usual.

The government is providing a range of support to help you through this process: gov.uk/transition-webinars and to take advantage of the many new opportunities that being an independent trading nation will bring.