Posted on: 02 December 2020

How to prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period

On 31st January 2020, the UK was no longer an official member of the European Union but had a period of time where new deals with the EU could be negotiated to secure a future trading relationship. This transition period will end on 31st December 2020.

There has been speculation on whether or not the UK will secure a deal with the EU, or whether or not we would be leaving with a no-deal, also known as an “Australian-style” deal. Take a look at some guidance on what you can do to prepare your business for 1st January 2021, regardless of the deal we have with the EU going forward.

Urgent changes to your business

As the transition period ends, some of the preparations that you will need to make are more urgent than others.

Check how you can continue to export to the EU

If you export goods to the EU, you will need to make sure that you can continue to do this on 1st January 2021.

Take a look at the government guidance on what you need to do if you:

  • Send goods by post.
  • Export goods to countries outside of the EU.
  • Need to make declarations or have someone make declarations on your behalf.
  • Check your products for export licences and certificates, marking, labelling and marketing standards and the rule on exporting alcohol, tobacco and other oils.
  • Need to get an EORI number.
  • Check if your products can have 0% VAT.
  • Check if the business that you sell to has the certification or licences they need to accept your products.

Check how you can continue to import from the EU

If you import products from the EU, you will also need to check that you can do this on 1st January 2021.

Find government guidance on what you need to do if you:

  • Receive goods by post
  • Import goods or services from countries outside the EU.
  • Need to make customs declarations or have someone make declarations on your behalf.
  • Check your products for import licences and certificates, marking, labelling and marketing standards and the rule on importing alcohol, tobacco and other oils.
  • Need to get an EORI number. This should start with GB.
  • Check the VAT rates on duty imports from the EU.
  • Check that you can declare goods later to save time at ports.

Moving goods into, out of or through Northern Ireland

If you move goods in or out of, or through Northern Ireland, you will need to take action by working in line with the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Working in line with the Northern Ireland Protocol could mean different things depending on the outcome of negotiations, which could include negotiating hard borders along the Irish border.

Customs declarations

Depending on the type of deal that the UK secures with the EU, you may need to make arrangements for declaring goods at customs.

You can make these arrangements for yourself, but if you don’t feel confident about making declarations, or you don’t know how to, you can arrange for someone to deal with customers on your behalf.

Take a look at some guidance on how to choose someone to manage customs on your behalf.

Additional changes to your business

Whilst these changes may not be urgent, you will need to have completed them before you can trade with the EU from 1st January 2021.

Employee work visas

Depending on the kind of deal we have with the EU, workers in your team may need visas or work permits to be able to carry on working in the UK if they are from EU countries. This also applies to citizens of countries such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

Most workers from outside of the UK will need a sponsor licence for you to employ them. As of 1st January 2021, EU citizens may need a sponsor to work in the UK. Find out how to recruit people from outside the UK from 1st January 2021 here.

UK worker permits

Similar to needing a visa for non-UK workers, you may need work permits or visas for a UK employee to visit EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

Check for import tariffs

As of 1st January 2021, there may be new import tariffs on the products that you import from the EU.

If you aren’t paying the correct tariff, your imports could get held up at customs and you could risk facing fines.

Take a look at the UK tariffs from 1st January 2021 here.

Data access contracts

You may need to update contracts with customers in the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein to be able to process the personal data of citizens of those countries.

Use this link to find out what action you need to take to use personal data of EU citizens once the transition period has ended.

Exporting products with intellectual property

If you are exporting goods protected by intellectual property (IP) to EU countries, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you will need to follow the new rules to make sure that you are not infringing on IP rights.

Take a look at the government guidance for parallel exporting of IP protected goods.

Check the trade agreements for non-EU countries

Depending on the deal that the UK agrees with the EU, trade agreements between different countries may vary from country to country.

Make sure that you know the trade agreements in place with the countries that you trade with to ensure that trading with your customers is not disrupted.

Horizon 2020 funding

Innovative UK businesses are still able to apply for Horizon 2020 funding to help grow your business.

Check if your business is eligible here.

Have your qualifications recognised

To be able to work in a regulated profession in the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you will need to have your qualifications recognised.

Follow this link to see how you can get your qualifications recognised, as you may not be able to carry on working in the countries that we identified if you don’t have the relevant qualifications,

Create a task list for your business

The actions that we have outlined above are by no means an exhaustive list of actions that you need to take to prepare your business for 1st January 2021.

To build a list of the actions that you need to take to be prepared for the end of the transition period, visit the UK government website.

Business insurance with Premierline

No matter how prepared you are, your business can always face some form of risk. At Premierline, we have many years’ experience arranging business insurance, and we can arrange cover to protect your livelihood no matter how complex your risk is. From insurance for tradesmen to shopsproperty owners and offices through to commercial and industrial businesses that require bespoke commercial combined packages.

Whatever your speciality, you can compare quotes online from some of the UK’s leading insurers or call us for expert recommendations and insurance advice.

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The information and tools contained in this guide are of a general informational nature and should not be relied upon as being suitable for any specific set of circumstances. We have used reasonable endeavours to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the contents but the information and tools do not constitute professional advice and must not be relied upon as such. To the extent permitted by law, we do not accept responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information or tools in our Insight Hub.