Brexit no deal? Bringing goods into the UK from the EU

11th February 2019

As the Brexit deadline approaches and the likelihood of a deal which can pass through the House of Commons still remote, businesses are left with no choice but to plan for a no deal situation from 29 March 2019.

No deal means that the UK will revert to being a "third country" under EU law, with no trade deal or other trading arrangements in place with the EU.

All UK businesses which trade in goods with the EU will need to take steps to address the compliance and logistics issues which a no deal will cause. There are also direct tax implications for UK businesses with subsidiaries or affiliates in the other EU27 states. (Export documentation and processes remain the same for all countries outside the EU.)

In addition, there are specific regulatory issues applying to certain industries and sectors (such as pharmaceuticals, fisheries and food) which may need detailed consideration and action.


Checklist - bringing goods into the UK from the EU

  • Make sure you have an EORI number. This is an international version of your VAT number which is needed to complete import and export declarations and can be obtained via your HMRC account.
  • How will you deal with import documentation? If you don’t have the capability to do this in house you may need to engage a freight or customs agent. There will be a special system in place to avoid delays to goods arriving in the UK which you will need to register for in advance. Further detail is provided by HMRC.
  • If you buy goods from outside the EU which are routed through mainland Europe then to the UK for the UK market, you’ll need to consider importing those goods directly into the UK to avoid double duty charges, additional paperwork and delays in transport.
  • Import VAT and potentially customs duty will be charged on goods imported into the UK from the EU. Import VAT will be charged at the rate applicable to the goods when they are sold in the UK so children’s clothes and books are zero-rated. It is not currently possible to predict the duty rates which the UK will charge on goods arriving from the EU, but further announcements on this are likely over the next few weeks.

Please contact us for advice if you feel you will be affected by a no-deal Brexit.




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