At the moment, whilst the UK remains in the EU, it is not necessary for UK businesses, which only trade across borders in the Single Market, to obtain an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. However, that is likely to change if and when Brexit takes place. In the event of a no-deal Brexit (which is currently scheduled to take place at 11pm UK time on 29th March 2019), UK companies will require a UK EORI number for all cross-border trade, whether it is with countries within the EU or the rest of the world.
If you do not already have a UK EORI number, you will need one if you are going to import goods from or export goods to the EU after Brexit and either (a) you are a sole trader who is resident in the UK, (b) your company or partnership (whether limited or LLP) has a registered office in the UK, or (c) your company or partnership has a permanent place of business in the UK where it carries out its business activities.
You do not need to apply for a UK EORI number if you already have one (for example, because you have already traded with countries outside of the EU), or you will only import or export goods with Ireland across the Northern Ireland and Ireland border because HMRC has stated that it will provide further guidance about the arrangements for trading with Ireland as soon as it can (although in this case, the safest course of action may be to obtain a UK EORI number in any event), or you will only import or export services that do not involve moving physical goods.
However, don’t panic! You still have time to register but you need to get on with it. The process to register for a UK EORI number is quick, easy and free. The UK Government has stated that it should only take 2-3 days. It published its updated Guidance on getting an EORI number yesterday on 20th March 2019. It can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-a-uk-eori-number-to-trade-within-the-eu
The EORI application form can be found on HMRC’s website at https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/shortforms/form/EORIVAT
A UK EORI number will also be necessary for businesses to be able to use the transitional simplified procedures (TSP). TSP will remove the need for a full customs declaration to be completed and postpone any import duties payable at the border, for an undefined time period. You can find more information about TSP and customs procedures if and when Brexit takes place from the UK Government Guidance at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/customs-procedures-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-without-a-deal
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We can help you to understand the different legal and related commercial issues relating to Brexit, to choose the option that is right for you and to help you develop or minimise risks for your business.
If you would like more information about the effects of Brexit or would like to discuss its effect on a potential or existing contract or dispute, please contact us by telephone on +44 (0)20 3126 4520 or +45 38 88 16 00 or by email at email@example.com
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