HMRC has published guidance that it hopes will help exporters operating out of the UK prepare for a scenario in which the Britain leaves the European Union without a deal having been agreed on the terms of departure.
That prospect has been a dreaded concern for a great many businesses around the country but could come to pass later this year.
Newly installed prime minister Boris Johnson has insisted that the UK will be leaving the EU with or without a deal at the end of October.
However, nobody yet knows whether the UK will indeed leave the EU later this year, or if we were to do so then on what terms that exit would happen.
If a No Deal Brexit were to unfold then there would be very significant changes to the trading relationships between British companies and their counterparts in countries that remain within the EU.
With that in mind, HMRC has published guidance aimed specifically at businesses that export from the UK into the EU in the hope that they might be better prepared for the eventualities of a No Deal Brexit.
Firstly, businesses are told that they will need to get an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number that starts with GB so that they can then trade goods in and out of the UK. (Anyone who has already traded with countries outside the EU will already have an EORI number).
Secondly, businesses must decide who will make their customs declarations and contact the organisation that transports their goods out of the country to establish if they’re able to make customs declarations on their behalf.
Thirdly, HMRC is advising companies to investigate different ways in which they might be able to make customs processes involving their exports to the EU more straightforward in the event of a No Deal situation.
Fourthly, exporters are told that they should seek to determine what extra costs might be incurred by their customers in the EU, with HMRC’s website offering details on the likely costs to importers in each individual country in the event of a No Deal exit.
Finally, the tax authority has told exporters that there may well be new requirements around labelling or licensing laws, among other things, to think about post-Brexit depending on what type of goods are being sold into EU countries once the UK is outside of the union.