As we approach the end of the Brexit transition phase on 31st December 2020, many will be looking at getting themselves prepared for what lies ahead. Whether there’s a deal or no deal, we’ve taken a detailed look at all the latest Government guidance and resources to help you ensure your business is ready for 1st January 2021.
When will Britain leave the EU?
Britain left the EU on 31st January 2020, however we are now in a transition phase. This transition phase is a period agreed between the UK and EU in which the UK is no longer a member of the EU, but continues to be subject to its rules and remains part of the customs union and single market. This will end on 31st December 2020, so businesses have until this date to ensure they’re well prepared for any impact this might have on their business.
To ensure you get the right preparations in order, it’s important to know which industries will be affected by Brexit. Those who will need to make extra preparations include:
- Business that import or export goods or services to the EU
- Those that travel to the EU (and/or work there)
- Those that are from the EU but live or work in the UK
For any that fit into those categories, or those who aren’t sure if they do fit into those categories, the first port of call should be the gov.uk/transition website. Here you can complete a short online survey, which will provide a helpful starting point in terms of issues that you’ll need to be aware of. These will range from things like roaming charges to patent protection and more, and you’ll find links to both further reading and timelines which will help you prepare.
Government advice for Consumer Goods sector after Brexit
For businesses working in the consumer goods sector after Brexit, there’s a range of guidance available to help you prepare for the end of the transition phase. The key areas are:
Exporting to the EU
If your business exports to the EU, there are a number of things you’ll need to consider in preparing for Brexit:
- GB Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number — If you plan to export to the EU, you’ll need to make sure you have this in place before the transition period ends. It’s also important to check your importer has one of these as well. If both ends of the chain do not have this, you may not be able to trade.
- Common Transit Convention (CTC) — this could enable quicker movement of goods to EU countries, as custom declarations and duties are not required at each border crossing, and you can complete some customs processes away from the border. Learn more about whether you can use the CTC here
- Assign someone to deal with customs for you — if you want to pass handling customs over to another party, such as a customs agent, you’ll need to give them written permission first. Depending on the agreement, you may still need to do some customs processes yourself.
- Tax, duty and special licenses — there may be additional tax and duty your importer will need to pay. Be sure to make the relevant checks and ensure you have any special licenses and take any actions necessary for your goods type.
Importing from the EU
As with exporting to the EU, there are a few things that you’ll need to have prepared if you’re importing from the EU. These include:
- GB Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number — as with exporting to the EU, you’ll need to ensure you have the EORI number set up before the transition period ends. You’ll also want to check your exporter also has an EORI number as well.
- Assign someone to deal with customs for you — again, in line with advice for those exporting to the EU, you can choose to pass handling customs over to another party, but you will need to provide written permission first. To learn more, click here
- Register for ‘transitional simplified procedures’, as well as CTC — procedures such as the Common Transit Convention (CTC) could simplify the import of goods and speed up the process.
- Tax, duty and special licenses — as with exporting to the EU, there may be additional tax and duty fees that you will need to pay. Be sure to check what you’ll need to pay, and have any special licenses necessary for your goods type.
From 1st January 2021, product manufacturers will need to use the new UKCA mark for any goods placed on the market in Great Britain (including England, Wales and Scotland). It will cover most goods that previously required the CE marking. You can read all the Government’s guidance about whether you need to use the UCKA mark and how to do so here.
Please note, the process of marking for goods placed on the Northern Irish market will be different to those above. You can find more detailed guidance on that here.
Regulations and standards for product manufacturers
Which regulations and standards for product manufacturers apply to your business after Brexit will depend on which market you’re planning to place these on. To learn more about the individual requirements for each, click on the links below:
Government advice for Services sector after Brexit
As with the consumer goods industry, the services sector will also see a considerable amount of change after the transition period ends. Here are the key points to consider:
Selling services to the EU (plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein)
For businesses in the services sector who sell their services to the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) which it the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, or to Switzerland, you need to prepare:
- Know your trade regulations — Check the regulations of the country they’re trading with, to understand how you need to operate. You can find a guide to this here
- VAT on sales of digital services — you can use the UK’s VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) to declare sales of digital services to the above countries made before 1st January 2021. If you want to use MOSS after this date, you’ll need to register for it in an EU member state, or register for VAT in each EU member state where you sell digital services.
- Establishing and structuring your business — if you have a UK business, you may face restrictions on your ability to own, manage or direct a company that’s based in an EEA country, or Switzerland, past 1st January 2021. You may need to get professional advice on this, but more information can be found here.
- Recognition of professional qualifications — if you’re looking to work in a profession that’s regulated in the EEA or Switzerland, you’ll need to make sure your UK professional qualifications are recognised by the appropriate regulator for your profession in each country you intend to work. You’ll be required to do this even if you’re providing temporary or occasional professional services. Check the European Commission’s Regulated Professions Database (REGPROF) to see if your profession is regulated.
- Data transfer and GDPR — you may be required to make changes if you operate across the EEA or exchange personal data with partners in the EEA. You don’t need to take action to keep sending personal data from the UK to the EEA (or the 13 countries deemed ‘adequate’ by the EU) from 1st January 2021. However, there may be further GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) safeguards you must put in place if you receive personal data transfers in the UK from an EEA country.
Living and working in the EU after Brexit
If you plan to live and work in the EU after Brexit, there may be some additional measures you need to consider. To learn more about these, check out the advice on gov.uk, where you can also find more detailed guidance on living and working in specific countries. Here are a couple of things you may want to consider:
Driving after Brexit
When it comes to driving after Brexit, either in the UK or abroad, there are some changes you should be aware of:
- Driving in Kent — there’s been a lot of news coverage about Operation Brock, and how the Government plans to keep traffic moving in and out of the UK. For official guidance, check out Highways England’s Operation Brock page. In addition, you should plan for road disruption around 1st January 2021 — it’s thought that the M20, Dover Port roads, Eurotunnel, A20 Dover TAP and M26 are most likely to be affected.
- Guidance for goods vehicles and carry out haulage — for businesses that use goods vehicles and carry out haulage, there’s a wealth of guidance on gov.uk that should help you prepare, as there are driver and vehicle documents, as well as international authorisations and permits you’ll need.
- Using trailers abroad — if you’re using a trailer abroad, you’ll want to check your apparatus, prepare for any delays and confirm which bits from the official Government guidance apply to you. You may also have some ‘green card’ responsibilities you’ll need to be aware of.
EU/EEA phone calls and texts
For those who call or text EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries for business purposes, there might be some changes to the rules and practices. You can find a full list of Government guidance regarding this here.
Visiting the EU after Brexit
For those travelling to the EU after Brexit for business purposes, there will be extra preparations you’ll need to make. It’s advisable to double-check your passport and what it allows you to do, organise proper healthcare insurance and check your other documentation, such as driving documents. For a full list of guidance regarding visiting the EU after Brexit, click here.
Useful Brexit resources
If you’re still looking for some other resources to help you prepare your business for Brexit, there are a range to choose from. We would recommend::
Government Brexit helpline
Your first port of call if you’re having trouble working out what you need to do to prepare for Brexit is the Government. To help businesses navigate the many changes, there’s a Government helpline you can call for advice. You can call them on 0300 2000 900, and the line is open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
The Federation of Small Businesses Brexit Pack
In addition to the Government’s guidance, the Federation of Small Businesses have put together their own Small Business Brexit Pack. This covers everything from the withdrawal agreement to end state scenarios, and could be a great place to gather practical advice for your business. You can check that out here.
Enterprise Nation Brexit Advice Service
Another handy tool for your Brexit preparations is the Brexit Advice Service that Entreprise Nation have set up to help small businesses. It’ll walk you through various questions about your business, and recommend you to the relevant resources you may want to check out.
Chambers of Commerce Brexit resources
The Chambers of Commerce have put together a wealth of information for small businesses looking to prepare for Brexit. You’ll find checklists, guides and more to help you make the right adjustments to your business.
Below are some of the resources they offer:
- Business Brexit Checklist — a comprehensive checklist to help you understand which changes may affect your business.
- Business Risk Register — guidance to help you understand the potential risks your business faces.
- Key Questions for a No-Deal — because, at the time of writing, the Government still hasn’t reached a deal with the EU, the prospect of a No-Deal has become more likely. This handy document will help you think ahead and work out what you may need to prepare in the event of a No-Deal.
- Withdrawal Agreement FAQs and Analysis — great reference material for finding out the answers to some of the most common questions businesses have around the withdrawal agreement.
All information is correct at time of publishing. While we want to help as much as we can, the information and documents found here are provided solely for informational purposes and should not be considered financial or legal advice. To the extent permitted by law, Funding Circle does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of, or reliance on, the information contained here.If you have any questions, please speak to your professional adviser or seek independent legal advice.