UK businesses will be unable to continue trading with the EU without an Economic Operator & Registration Identification (EORI) number, and only 17% of businesses that might need to register have done so, according to HMRC.
After getting an EORI number, the second step for businesses is to consider how they want to make customs declarations – DIY or appoint a customs agent.
Businesses that import goods into the UK from the EU through roll-on roll-off ports can register for new transitional simplified procedures, or TSP. TSP will allow businesses to import without having to make a full customs declaration at the border, and postpone paying any import duties. For imports using other locations, and for exports, standard customs declarations will apply.
Financial secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride said: “We want businesses to be able continue trading with minimal disruption in any scenario but we also know that people tend to leave things until the last minute and we would urge against that.
“We are specifically advising businesses to take some simple steps to be prepared – the first thing they need to do is register for an EORI number, it is free and takes less than 10 minutes.
“Step by step advice can be accessed via gov.uk – the help is there, we just need business owners to take action.”
HMRC has identified 145,000 VAT registered companies that trade with the EU but not the rest of the world, and estimates that a further 95,000 businesses also trade with the EU but are not VAT registered. This means an estimated 240,000 businesses need to take action to continue trading with the EU if no deal is reached.
In September 2018, December 2018 and January 2019, HMRC wrote directly to those 145,000 VAT-registered businesses that only trade with the EU advising them to start their preparations and apply for an EORI number. There are another estimated additional 95,000 non-VAT registered businesses that also need to take action. Despite these letters, only 40,973 have registered for an EORI number since October.
Where to get help
Business owners can apply for their Economic Operator and Registration Identification number at www.gov.uk/hmrc/get-eori
Businesses that import goods from the EU can register for the new TSP processat www.gov.uk/guidance/register-for-simplified-import-procedures-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-without-a-deal
You can watch Importing goods from the EU in a no deal EU Exit and Exporting goods from the EU in a no deal EU Exit on the HMRC YouTube Channel.