Whatever the outcome of the crucial Government vote today on whether to accept the proposed Brexit deal and our impending leaving of the EU, what should we be doing to prepare?
I am not the expert on all things Brexit but with our insight into the HMRC correspondence to the 145,000 businesses identified as solely trading with EU Countries and conversations with our clients, I feel we can offer some helpful suggestions on the actions you should consider taking sooner rather than later.
What do the Government advise?
The businesses HMRC have identified as trading solely with the EU were contacted and advised to take action now as part of their “no-deal planning”. The government advice is that these businesses, which tend to be those dealing in the supply of goods, need to:
- Register for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number at www.gov.uk/hmrc/get-eori.
- Decide whether to use an agent to make import and/or export declarations or to make these declarations independently (by buying software that interacts with HMRC’s systems).
- Contact the organisation(s) that moves their goods (for example, a haulage firm) to find out if additional information will be needed to enable them to make the necessary safety and security declarations, or whether these will need to be submitted by the business.
In simple terms they are suggesting that you register yourself to deal with the movement of goods as if you were dealing with suppliers and customers outside of the EU, as it is those systems that will apply.
The Partnership Pack – The Government released shortly before Christmas a 119 page document (The Partnership Pack) about preparing for changes at the UK Border. The reference document covers off specialist areas and I would recommend it is worth a scan read to identify the relevant aspects.
The following are some useful tips that you should consider:
There is real concern that a No-Deal Brexit will clog up our borders and result in delays in the shipment and arrival of goods, as well as a need to change our processes effectively to cope as quickly as possible when we Exit. I would urge you to consider (if you haven’t already) your requirement for physical goods, consider how your supply chain may be affected and adopt the following three steps to effective change management to be ready:
- Readiness. How ready is your business and your people to implement the change?
- Capability. Does your organisation have the skills, people and resources required?
- Beliefs. What is the overall attitude of the business towards the changes you need to make?
People and Travel
UK passports are currently accepted for travel to the Schengen area (https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/schengen-visa-countries-list) until their expiry date. If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, some older passports that are nearing their expiry date may not be accepted by EU countries. You will need to show that your passport is still valid for at least six months from the date you travel so it is worth checking your passport.