Businesses urged to ensure they are ready for no-deal Brexit

Businesses are being urged to prepare for a potential no-deal Brexit by taking steps to ensure they can continue to trade with the EU.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has set out three steps that businesses can take to minimise potential disruption.

The first step is to register for an Economic Operator and Registration Identification (EORI) number, which UK businesses that have only ever traded inside the EU will not have.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, businesses will be unable to continue trading with the EU without an EORI number, however HMRC figures show that so far just 17% of affected businesses have registered.

After getting an EORI number, businesses are advised to take the second step and consider how they want to make customs declarations, and can appoint a customs agent if they want someone else to do it.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride MP said: “We want local businesses in Scotland to be able to continue trading with minimal disruption in any scenario but we also know that people tend to leave things until the last minute and we would urge businesses to act now.

“We are specifically advising businesses to take some simple steps to be prepared – the first thing they need to do is register for an EORI number, it is free and takes less than 10 minutes.

“Step-by-step advice can be accessed via GOV.UK – the help is there, we just need business owners to take action.”

For businesses that import goods into the UK from the EU using roll-on roll-off locations, they can take a third step and register for new Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP).

These will allow businesses to import without having to make a full customs declaration at the border, and postpone paying any import duties.

Standard customs declarations will apply for imports using other locations, and for exports.

To help businesses make import and export declarations, HMRC has made £8 million in funding available for traders and intermediaries to support them with training and IT costs.

HMRC said that there is still time to put in a bid as there is £3 million left of this funding.

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