HMRC urges businesses to act now to avoid delays

With less than a month to go until the Brexit transition period ends, HMRC has sent 250,000 letters and emails to VAT-registered traders, urging them to get ready for new trading rules with Europe.

Katherine Green and Sophie Dean, HMRC’s Directors General, Borders and Trade, said:

We understand the complex pressures that all businesses are dealing with this winter as a result of COVID-19.
But everyone in the UK who trades with Europe or under the Northern Ireland Protocol, will be affected by new customs and tax rules from 1 January 2021.

We urge businesses to act now. HMRC is working hard to help businesses prepare so they can continue to trade smoothly at the end of the Brexit transition period.

The changes to customs and tax rules will affect everyone who trades with Europe, no matter the type or value of the goods they buy or sell, how frequently they trade or how their goods are transported. Talks are currently ongoing about the UK’s future trading arrangements with Europe, but you can be sure that these rules will not change or go away.

In HMRC’s letter we urge our customers to complete the new trader checklist, which can be found on GOV.UK. It helps them work through the key steps they will need to take to prepare for 1 January 2021.

The key actions businesses must take so that they can continue trading smoothly with Europe next year include:

  • check to see if you will be able to delay your import declarations or duty payments
  • appoint a specialist to deal with import and export declarations. This is important regardless of the amount or value of trade your business does with Europe. Most businesses use a specialist such as a customs broker, freight forwarder or fast parcel operator to deal with this, and do not do their customs declarations themselves
  • register for the free to use Trader Support Service if you plan on moving goods into Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021

More support and advice is available at www.gov.uk/transition

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