Leaving the EU: actions to take now to be ready for No Deal


HMRC is stepping up activities to advise businesses of what they need to do to continue to import and/or export goods with the EU in the event of a No Deal Brexit.

While government negotiations and discussions continue it is essential that businesses prepare now.

These changes do not apply to trade across the Northern Ireland - Ireland land border. However they are applicable for all other EU trading. Further guidance on arrangements for trade across the Northern Ireland - Ireland land border will be provided in due course.

How to make customs declarations

In a No Deal scenario, businesses will be responsible for making customs declarations for their UK-EU goods trade. For many businesses the simplest way to do this is to appoint a customs agent to manage the process. If you choose to appoint a customs agent, you should do so as soon as possible.

You should now register for your Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, if you haven't done so already at: www.gov.uk/hmrc/get-eori

If you cannot appoint an agent, or do not think it is the right solution for your business and you intend to import or export regularly, you should:

For further information, explore the guidance on Trading with the EU if the UK leaves without a deal on gov.uk

HMRC advice on importing

HMRC is introducing new Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) to make importing goods from the EU easier for the initial period after the UK leaves the EU, should there be No Deal.

You can sign up for TSP online from 7 February, read the guidance Register for simplified import procedures if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on gov.uk you will need an EORI number to do this.

Once registered, you'll be able to bring goods into the UK without having to make a full customs declaration at the border. You will also be able to postpone paying any import duties.

However for controlled goods, for example items which can have a dual use such as chemicals, you will have to provide some information before import.

Changes to VAT

The way your business accounts for VAT on imports will change. You will be able to pay import VAT in your next VAT return rather than when your goods arrive at the UK border.

You will:

  • be able to declare and recover import VAT on the same VAT return
  • need to provide your VAT registration number on your customs declaration

Further information will be available soon.

Changes to VAT IT systems

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal you will no longer be able to use certain EU VAT IT systems. If you currently use any of these systems, these are the main changes:

EU VAT Refund Electronic System

To make EU VAT refund claims for 2018 using EU VAT Refund Electronic System, you should submit these before 29 March 2019, instead of the normal deadline of 30 September 2019. After we leave the EU, UK businesses will be able to reclaim VAT from EU countries, by using the existing processes for non-EU businesses.

EU's VAT number validation service (VIES)

If you use VIES to check a customer or supplier’s VAT number, UK VAT numbers will no longer be part of this service after 29 March. A UK-only online VAT number checker will be available on GOV.UK from 29 March. You will still be able to use VIES to check the validity of EU VAT numbers.

UK VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS)

If you currently use MOSS to declare and pay VAT on sales of digital services to EU consumers, you should submit your return for supplies made between 01 January 2019 and 29 March 2019 via the UK portal by the normal deadline of 20 April 2019. If you want to continue to use MOSS for sales you make after the UK leaves the EU, you will need to register for MOSS in an EU Member State. You should do this by 10 April 2019.

For further information, read the guidance VAT IT system rules and processes if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

Non-VAT registered businesses should explore the guidance Trading with the EU if the UK leaves without a deal on gov.uk

Online Guidance

Further guidance from HMRC is available on gov.uk where they have published new guides.