This Friday, 31st January, is a mommentus one.  It is not only the last day to submit your tax return but it is also the day we leave the EU and the transition period of Brexit begins.  

It may be an anti-climax after such a long run-up since the 2016 referendum and perhaps even more so now that it is looking very unlikely Big Ben will chime for Brexit, with the Tory’s rally of the public to subside it failed.

Whether you wake up joyous or resigned this Friday, you will want to know what the transition period means for you.  On thing we can be sure of, this is not the end of Brexit, rather a moving on off discussions around the detail of the deal.  Brace yourselves, this is not the end of the line

What does transition period mean for business?

We are now entering the period of negotiating ongoing trade terms with the EU, finally.  We are due to leave the EU officially after the transition period, on 31 December 2020.  We can already hear the outcry across the county of another national Christmas and New Year overshadowed by Brexit, albeit this one should be the final time.  But will it be?

We already hearing from the EU of the challenging time frame to finalise a trade deal with the UK, and inevitably the sceptre of Brexit will continue to overshadow our politics for some time to come.

In the meantime, and practically speaking, what will change for business from the start of the transition period starting on 1st February?

Sadly, the government’s position and discussions are centred around a No Deal Brexit, a very real threat still, so you should bear this in mind when preparing for Brexit in your business from this point onwards.

Advice if you export to the EU

The below guidance has been published by the government to those businesses in the UK who export to the EU:

  1. Make sure you have an EORI number (a number starting with GB)
  2. Check that every importer you deal with has an ‘EU’ EORI number.
  3. Decide who – your business or the importer – will make export declarations.
  4. Decide if you want to export goods using transit.
  5. It is your responsibility to check the rate of duty and tax for goods you export.
  6. Check the rules around the type of  goods you export.
  7. Consider any VAT changes that may affect you.
  8. Decide who will transport your goods outside the UK.

Advice if you import to the EU

  1. Make sure you have an EORI number (a number starting with GB)
  2. Decide who – your business or the exporter – will make the import declarations.
  3. Apply to use the transitional simplified procedures.
  4. Set up a duty deferment account if you import regularly.
  5. It is your responsibility to check the rate of duty and tax for goods you import.
  6. Check the rules around the type of  goods you import.

If you transport goods out of the EU by road

  1. You will need to apply for operators licences and permits
  2. Ensure your drivers are eligible to drive abroad.
  3. Check specific rules for the goods you are transporting.
  4. Ensure your driver carries the correct export documents with him at all times
  5. Find out what vehicle documents your driver needs to carry.
  6. Check local road rules.

Full details of all these issues can be found on the gov.uk website at https://www.gov.uk/transition.