Importing and Exporting

The process for importing and exporting goods from the EU will change. Businesses in Great Britain need to complete the following actions to continue importing and exporting with EU countries from 1 January 2021.


✓ Make sure you have a GB EORI number
You will need a unique trader reference number, called an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, to complete customs declarations from 1 January 2021. If you do not yet have one, you can register for free by going to www.gov.uk/eori.


✓ See if your imported goods are eligible for staged controls
If you import non-controlled goods into Great Britain from the EU, you may be able to defer import declarations until 1 July 2021. Most traders with a good compliance record will be eligible. More information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-simplified-declarations-for-imports.


✓ Check the Controlled goods list to see if you need to complete declarations from January.
If you’re importing and exporting goods that are categorised as ‘controlled’ you’ll need to submit declarations from 1 January 2021. To check if your imported goods are on the Controlled goods list, go to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/list-of-goods-imported-into-great-britain-from-the-eu-that-are-controlled.


✓ Decide how you’re going to make customs declarations
Most businesses choose to hire a person or business to help with importing and exporting, such as a customs agent, freight forwarder or express operator. They can help you with declarations and ensure you’re providing the necessary information. For more information, go to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/appoint-someone-to-deal-with-customs-on-your-behalf.


✓ Check if Import VAT is due at the border
If you import any goods from the EU into Great Britain, you may need to pay Import VAT from 1 January 2021. Import VAT will not be due at the border if goods in a consignment are worth less than £135. The only exception to this is consignments containing excise goods, where Import VAT (along with Excise and Customs duties where applicable) will be due at the border. For more information, go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-vat-treatment-of-overseas-goods-sold-to-customers-from-1-january-2021.


✓ Decide how you will account for import VAT when you make a customs declaration
If you’re business is VAT-registered, from 1 January 2021 you’ll be able to use postponed VAT accounting to account for Import VAT, for goods imported into the UK from anywhere in the world. This means you can account for VAT on goods imported through your VAT Return. For more information, go to www.gov.uk/guidance/check-when-you-can-account-for-import-vat-on-your-vat-return.
Other useful links:


▪ How to import and export goods between Great Britain and the EU from 1 January 2021: www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-import-and-export-goods-between-great-britain-and-the-eu-from-1-january-2021.