What the Brexit deal means for small businesses
It’s been a long and winding road but the UK has now left the EU and the details of the Brexit deal have been agreed. As a result, a set of new rules on doing business with countries in the EU has come into effect. Here’s how the new rules might affect your business and where you can find additional information and support to help you adapt to the changes.
Importing and exporting goods between the UK and the EU
Moving goods between Great Britain and the EU
The Brexit deal sets out a number of changes to the rules on importing and exporting goods between Great Britain (i.e. England, Scotland or Wales) and the EU:
- Businesses based in Great Britain are now required to have an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number that begins with ‘GB’.
- Businesses based in Great Britain now need to make customs declarations for all exports and for the import of controlled goods, some of which may also require special licences or certification. If you import goods that are not controlled, you may be able to delay making declarations for up to six months. A customs intermediary can deal with declarations and the classification of goods on your behalf.
- A number of changes to the VAT treatment of overseas goods now apply to businesses based in Great Britain.
Moving goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain or the EU
The Northern Ireland Protocol sets out guidance for importing goods to, exporting goods from and moving goods through Northern Ireland from 1st January 2021 onwards.
If your business moves goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the government’s free Trader Support Service can guide you through these changes.
Providing professional services to the EU
If your business provides professional services to countries within the EU or EFTA (European Free Trade Association), you should check the guidance for each country you supply services to in order to assess:
- whether you need to make any changes
- whether your qualifications are recognised in those countries
Employing EU citizens
If your business already employs EU citizens who live in the UK, they may need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme in order to continue living and working in the UK.
If you wish to employ an EU citizen who is not currently based in the UK, you will need to apply for a sponsor licence. Guidance is available on the government’s website.
Irish citizens continue to be able to work in the UK under Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangements.
Transferring personal data between the UK and the EU
Following the end of the Brexit transition period on 31st December 2020, the free flow of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK will continue for at least four months. This period may be extended to a total of six months. For the latest updates, keep an eye on the government's website. The rules on sending personal data to the EU/EEA from the UK have not been affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
For more information on transferring personal data between the UK and the EU, take a look at the ICO's (Information Commissioner’s Office) recent webinar.
If your business needs to make changes as a result of these new rules, there are many government resources available to support you. The ‘Brexit checker’ tool is designed to create a personalised list of actions to help you comply with the new rules. The UK government has also created this collection of helpful videos, which you can register to view free of charge.
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Disclaimer: The content included in this blog post is based on our understanding of tax law at the time of publication. It may be subject to change and may not be applicable to your circumstances, so should not be relied upon. You are responsible for complying with tax law and should seek independent advice if you require further information about the content included in this blog post. If you don't have an accountant, take a look at our directory to find a FreeAgent Practice Partner based in your local area.