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Preparing for Brexit

The Brexit transition period ends at midnight on 31 December 2020 and the UK will be entering a new era outside of the EU from 2021 onwards.

Brexit Countdown

The Brexit transition period ends at midnight on 31 December 2020 and the UK will be entering a new era outside of the EU from 2021 onwards.

After this date, the UK will no longer be in the EU Single Market or Customs Union and free movement will stop.

This will have a profound impact on businesses, especially those that trade with Europe or employ EU citizens.

Despite this, studies suggest that many UK businesses are still not prepared for trade post-Brexit. With so little time left, it is important that they take action now to secure their future.

At Knights Lowe, we are standing by to support businesses like yours as you prepare for the new challenges ahead.

We will help you defend your business against the additional costs and risks that may be involved with post-Brexit trade, whilst also helping you to take advantage of any opportunities that may be created.

The impact on your business will differ according to whether you are an importer or exporter, or whether your supply chain and customers are based within the UK, Europe or worldwide.

You must understand your customer base in even more detail and work with your supply chains both to reduce the impact of the UK’s exit from Europe, but also to take advantage of the many opportunities that will become available from the country’s new trade arrangements.

To help with these preparations we have prepared this useful information hub to help you prepare for whatever the future may bring.

Click here for access to our Brexit Business Checklist

As the UK is yet to secure a deal, businesses must consider the following:

  • The Implications for VAT
  • The introduction of tariffs
  • The new requirements for importing and exporting goods
  • New border controls
  • The needs of EU citizens in their workforce
  • The impact on supply chains
  • Scenario planning.

You should take time to review each of these points and consider the direct and indirect impacts on your business, so that you are able to put plans in place to mitigate any issues.

From 1 January 2021, the process for importing and exporting goods will change.

In its latest guidance, the Government has laid out the principles for the ‘Core Model’, which relates to all goods imported and exported, regardless of which means of transport are used to move the goods.

The guidance, which is available here, covers the core process of:

  • customs declarations
  • customs duty
  • import VAT
  • safety and security declarations.

Under each of these headings, it sets out the actions that businesses should take now, as they will be required to follow these rules regardless of the outcome of the ongoing trade negotiations.

To help businesses adapt, HMRC will introduce the new border controls in the Core Model in three stages up until 1 July 2021. To help prepare for these changes, businesses should:

  • Apply for an EORI number
  • Prepare to pay or account for VAT on imported goods
  • consider commercial arrangements and terms of trade
  • determine the customs value of goods
  • considering how customs declarations to HMRC systems will be made and the use of a customs intermediary.

Business in certain industries may also need to check:

  • What export licences or certificates they require
  • The marking, labelling and marketing standards for food, plant seeds and manufactured goods
  • The rules for exporting or importing alcohol, tobacco and certain oils

To help with this process the Government has produced a step by step checklist for importers and exporters, which can be found below:

From 1 January 2021, there will be new rules to travel to the EU, or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

Should you or any representatives of your business need to travel to the EU in future you may need to consider the following:

  • Check your passport
  • Get travel insurance that covers your healthcare
  • Check you have the right driving documents
  • Tell HMRC you’ll be working in the EU
  • Check whether you’ll need to pay social security contributions in the country you’re working in
  • Check whether you need indemnity insurance for your employees
  • Check you’ve got the right documentation to take goods to the EU.

It is important that you conduct a review of your entire organisation to assess the impact on employee travel post-Brexit and how it may impact your ability to operate and grow your business.

Employees from EU member states should check whether they need to apply to the settlement scheme. To do this, they should:

  • Check whether they need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Find out what status they have as it may differ depending on their circumstances
  • Check what information they’ll need to apply
  • Submit an application.

Some EU citizens may be able to stay in the UK without applying – for example, Irish citizens or those with indefinite leave to remain.

The deadline for applying for settled status is 30 June 2021.

It is important that you check that key workers who are EU citizens have the right to remain in the UK post-Brexit to ensure you able to retain their talent for the future.

Here to help

With an uncertain and challenging period ahead, with so many variables to the end of the transition period, companies must begin to prepare for all potential scenarios now.

Our team are already supporting a wide range of businesses with preparations for the end of the Brexit transition period, providing the advice and services they require to prepare for post-transition trade and seek out new opportunities for growth and success around the world.

If you’d like to know more about the impact Brexit may have on your business and how we can help, please contact us today.

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