The best way business owners can prepare for Brexit is to keep up-to-date with the latest developments. Here we outline what these are and the government resources available to help you manage the transition.

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 until 31 December 2020.

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The UK has now exited the EU and is currently in a transition period until the 31 December 2020. After this date the UK will no longer be in the EU Single Market or Customs Union and free movement of goods and services will end.

If your business trades with Europe or employs EU citizens you will be affected. The impact on your business will differ according to whether you are an importer or exporter, or whether your supply chains and customers are based within the UK, Europe or worldwide.  

A deal with the EU has yet to be achieved and, as such, the terms of the UK’s exit are far from certain. Nevertheless, the government is urging all businesses to prepare for the end of the transition period and warning they need to take action now to be ready on 1 January 2021. It has stressed there will be no extension to the transition period.

How to prepare for Brexit

To familiarise yourself with the action you need to take for your business, the government has created a checker tool at  These will vary depending on your individual circumstances, but the main ones are:

  1. Applying for a GB EORI number or registering with the relevant Customs Authority to ensure your business is ready to export or import from/to the EU. All VAT-registered businesses which trade with the EU should have received an automatic enrolment from HMRC last year and EORI number. If you have not received yours, you can apply for one at 

  2. Applying for a duty deferment account. if your business imports goods regularly. This enables customs charges including customs duty, excise duty and import VAT to be paid once a month through Direct Debit instead of being paid on individual consignments.

    From.1 January 2021 VAT-registered traders can instead account for import VAT on their VAT return using postponed VAT accounting. It will mean that a VAT registered business will not pay VAT on imported goods when they arrive in the UK. The VAT payment will be postponed and instead declared in Box 1 and Box 4 of the next VAT return submitted by the business. The net payment for the goods and any duty will be included in Box 7. More information can be found here

  3. If you employ overseas nationals you will need to prepare your business for the implementation of the new immigration system. From 1 January 2021, if you want to hire anyone from outside the UK, including from the EU, you must be a Home Office licenced sponsor. For information on how to apply for a licence visit

  4. Making sure you are familiar with tarrifs, taxes and regulations. The Trade with the UK tool provides businesses exporting goods into the UK. The Check How to Export Goods tool provides exporters of goods out of the UK market with information such as duties and customs procedures for over 160 markets around the world.

  5. If your business receives personal data (ie any information that can be used to identify a person, including names, delivery details, IP addresses, or HR data such as payroll details) from contacts in the European Economic Area, which inclues the EU, you might need to take steps to ensure that the data can continue to flow legally at the end of the transition period. This may require putting in place Standard Contractual Clauses with your EU counterparts. Find more information about SCCs here.

  6. Making sure you are ready to travel to Europe from 1 January 2021, for example by getting comprehensive travel insurance, ensuring your passport is valid, and checking your roaming policy with your mobile phone provider.

  7. If you provide services in the EU, you must ensure that your qualifications are now recognised by EU regulations to be able to practice or service clients in the EU. You can check if your profession is regulated in another country on the European Commission's regulated professions database.

Additional resources

You may find the following guidance from the UK government useful:

The government has created a series of sector-specific webinars to remind businesses of the changes they need to make. These cover general areas that business of any size will need to understand and act on, such as visas, work permits and tariffs, as well as guidance relevant to particular industries. You will find the webinars here 

LEP Solent - UK Transition Resilience Toolkit -  provide businesses in the Solent with an invaluable review of their current position in a range of key areas, including; business strategy and operations, sales and marketing, supply chain, customers and clients, employees and people management and finance

FSB guidance specifically aimed at helping small business prepare for the end of the transition period.

British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) resources include Business Brexit Checklist to help businesses thing about how their operations could be impacted.

Chamber Customs - advisory and brokerage service delivered through BCC. 

UK Parliament research from Parliament's libraries and committees and what it means for the UK.

European Union - The official website of the EU updates on what's already been agreed and what's currently being negotiated and prepared.

How we can help

Our accounting staff are Brexit-ready if you need further advice. Please let us know if we can help you to understand the financial impact on your business and manage the changes in taxes and regulations. Call us on 023 9248 4356 or email


Latest News

24 November 2020 - VAT on overseas goods

HMRC has published guidance on how organisations deal with VAT when selling overseas goods to customers within Great Britain from 1 January 2021. There are two pieces of guidance: one provides advice for business selling directly to customers and the other is for sales via online marketplaces.

18 November 2020 -Transition period: Govt letter to businesses

Business secretary Alok Sharma's has written to businesses about actions they need to take from 1 January 2021. It provides advice on what key actions they must take and contains QR codes and URLs to its transition checker, sector specific webinars and access to further guidance. View the letter here  

10 November 2020 - Changes to Northern Ireland Trade

The UK government has created the Trader Support Service to help firms involved in the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It provides support on adapting to new processes, including issuing XI EORI numbers which are mandatory from 1 January 2021.

6 November 2020 -  Govt letter to VAT-registered businesses 

HMRC is writing to traders urging them to step up their preparations ready for departure from the European Single Market.

The key message is that businesses must act now. Not even a last-gasp free trade agreement will save companies from the extra processes required to continue trading with the EU.

“It’s really important that businesses act now – a free trade agreement will not remove any of these requirements. Unless you have all the correct processes, contracts and agreements in place you will not be able to trade with the EU from 1 January 2021,” the letter notes. View the letter on the website

19 October 2020 - Government to Invite Bids for Freeport Status

The government has confirmed that sea, air and rail ports in England will be invited to bid for Freeport status. These will allow places to carry out business inside a country’s land border but where different customs rules apply.

A company can import goods into a Freeport without paying tariffs, process them into a final good and then either pay a tariff on goods sold into the domestic market, or export the final goods without paying UK tariffs.

The bidding process for locations to become a Freeport in England will open by the end of 2020 with the government aiming for the first of the new sites to be open for business in 2021.

8 October 2020 - Updated GB-EU Border Operating Model

The government has published an updated version of its Border Operating Model which provides further details on how the GB-EU border will work and the actions that traders, hauliers and passengers need to. Find the guidance here.

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