Introduction to Brexit Planning Checklist
There’s still some uncertainty as to whether the UK or EU will agree a tariff free trade agreement. Either way UK business will face additional documentation for importing and exporting goods to the EU from 1 January 2021.
Planning for the new requirements seems sensible right now. There are also other business matters to consider such as data protection, intellectual property and replacing existing agreements with EU suppliers and customers.
We’ve compiled a 20-point checklist to review your Brexit preparedness and the Government information to prepare actions for 1 January 2021. We’ve also included links to important resources that will give you the information you need to fully prepare you.
The Government has published guidance: “The transition period ends in December”
This outlines actions to take now if you are:
- importing goods into the UK
- exporting goods from the UK
- travelling to the EU
- living and working in the EU
- staying in the UK if you’re an EU citizen
Here are 20 of the areas you should consider, particularly if you import or export goods to the EU and haven’t had the need to complete the various forms before:
- If you move goods to or from the EU register (unless you already have) for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number – EORI
- Consider an agent to help with completing import/export forms: Institute of Export
- If you export goods see the step by step guide on UK Government site
- Export rules are specific by sector so review “The transition period ends in December” Government website. There you can get a personalised list of actions and can subscribe for Government email updates on Transition
- The VAT reporting rules for EU sales can be found on UK Government page: Report EU Sales
- If you import goods then see the guidance “Starting to import”
- There is a step by step guide on importing: Prepare to Import Guide
- Guidance on paying VAT on imports can be found here: Paying VAT on Imports
- Review HMRC videos on international trade on YouTube: Help and Support
- You may choose to register for “Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status which enables “Trusted” businesses simplified customs procedures. Application does take time and is complex. Find out more about Authorised Economic Operator Certification
- In the event of the EU and UK not agreeing a free trade agreement, from 1 January 2021 all exports and imports to the EU will be subject to tariffs. You will need to identify where “inputs” come from and which categories of product they fall into so you can work out the tariffs that will apply. The UK Government have published trade tariffs duty and VAT rates by commodity: Trade Tariffs
- If you currently have business agreements with EU companies these may need to be redrafted to cover off areas such as customs arrangements, import duties, how VAT is accounted for, definitions such as “Territory”, dispute resolution and unanticipated administration as a result of Brexit. Consult your lawyer for advice to avoid any potential issues sooner rather than later.
- Review all EU employees currently working in your business and ascertain whether they are applying for “Settled status” by 31 December 2020. See: Your UK employees working in the EU may need to apply for similar status. Read EU Settlement Employer Toolkit
- If your business has a “.EU” domain name you should check the eligibility to hold such a domain here: Guidance on EU Domain Registration
- If you are involved in eCommerce then read the Governments EU guidance
- Data Protection – you may need to comply with new license requirements and changes in regulation. The Information Commissioner’s office (ICO) will update its guidance once the outcome of the negotiations is known. See ICO Data Protection
- Copyrights – A substantial part of UK copyright law is derived from the EU copyright framework. Because of this, there are references in UK law to the EU, the EEA, and member states. Some of these references occur in the UK’s implementation of EU cross-border copyright arrangements. These arrangements apply only within the EU and EEA and provide reciprocal protections and benefits between member states. If there is no future reciprocal UK EU deal contact your lawyer to discuss. See UK Government’s Changes To Copyright Law After Transition
- For Intellectual Property see UK Government’s Intellectual Property and Transition Period
- For Trademarks see: EU Trademark Protection & Comparable UK Trademarks
- Consider forming a company in the EU.