EU deadline approaches – are you prepared?

As the deadline ticks down to the end of the EU transition period on December 31 businesses are being urged to make sure they are prepared – deal or no deal.

In a bid to ensure as many businesses as possible are ready for the changes, the government has launched an information campaign, involving TV adverts and posters, which proclaim: ‘The UK’s new start: let’s get going’.

The campaign includes a “checker tool” at which the government says quickly identifies the necessary next steps needed.

As the deadline approaches, HMRC is stressing that businesses will need an EORI number to move goods between the UK and EU countries from January 1 next year. They may also need one if they move goods to or from Northern Ireland.

Without an EORI businesses may face increased costs and delays. For example, if HMRC cannot clear the goods companies may have to pay storage fees.

The message is, if you haven’t got one already, apply for an EORI number “as soon as possible”.

Businesses will not usually need an EORI number if they only:

• provide services
• move goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland

If you use a post or parcel company, they’ll tell you if you need an EORI number.

You will need an EORI number from an EU country if your business will be making declarations or getting a customs decision in the EU.

Businesses can get this from the customs authority in the EU country where they submit their first declaration or request their first decision.

HMRC says that if you move goods to or from Northern Ireland, from January 1 you’ll need an EORI number that starts with XI to:

• move goods between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries
• make a declaration in Northern Ireland
• get a customs decision in Northern Ireland

To get an EORI number that starts with XI, you must already have an EORI number that starts with GB. If you do not have one, the advice is to apply as soon as possible.

If you do already have an EORI number that starts with GB and HMRC thinks you need one that starts with XI, they say they will automatically send you one in mid-December.

To get advice on moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland sign up for the Trader Support Service (

If you sign up before November 23, this will also ensure you’ll be sent an EORI starting with XI.

If you already have an EORI, from January 1, you’ll need a number that starts with GB to move goods between Great Britain and other countries.

To apply you need your:

• VAT number and effective date of registration – these are on your VAT registration certificate
• National Insurance number – if you’re an individual or a sole trader
• Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) – find your UTR if you do not know it
• business start date and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code – these are in the Companies House register
• Government Gateway user ID and password

As the transition period ends, businesses will also have to watch the VAT implications – unlike customs duties and rules, rates vary across Europe.

And they will need to ensure products they ship still conform with the safety, security and health requirements of the market they are in.
For more details visit

WNJ is also here to help you on any issues relating to the end of the transition period, please contact us on 01772 43000.