With fewer than 70 days to go until the transition period with the EU ends, HMRC has sent 250,000 letters and emails to VAT-registered traders urging them to act now to avoid disruption to their business.

In its Border Operating Model, the government explained that new customs and tax rules will come into effect at the end of the transition period, whether or not a Free Trade Agreement is negotiated.

Some customs processes are complicated and can take several weeks to set up, so businesses are being urged to act now to make sure they are ready.

The key actions businesses must now take to continue trading with Europe from 1 January 2021 are:

    1. Appoint a specialist to deal with import and export declarations. This is important regardless of the amount or value of trade your business does with Europe. Most businesses use a third party such as a freight forwarder or fast parcel operator to deal with this, and do not do their customs declarations themselves.
    2. Check to see if you will be able to delay your declarations or duty payments.
    3. Register for the free-to-use Trader Support Service if you plan on moving goods into Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.

For more help and advice on preparing for the end of the transition period, please visit www.gov.uk/transition.

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Karen Wilkinson works at London School of Finance and Law and writes articles on UK tax law for My Taxes Plus and other financial magazines.


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