The end of the transition period can be a really scary prospect; leaving you with thoughts such as ‘what will happen to my business?’ ‘Do I need to make customs declarations?’ and ‘what do I need to know before selling things online?’
Don’t worry! Here, at CustomsLink, we have some answers to help reassure you.
The Brexit transition period will end on the 1st January 2021, this means that you still have time to prepare for the changes that we are about to see implemented. Currently, we don’t have a final divorce agreement with the EU, which means that there are still some things that we are unsure about with regards to how we are going to leave the EU (a hard Brexit, for example).
We do know that some things are going to change regardless of the final agreement that we make with the EU. From the 1st January 2021 it will be a legal requirement to fill out customs declarations and safety and security declarations when transporting goods between the UK and the EU.
What is a Customs Declaration?
A customs declaration is a form that details what type of goods are being imported or exported and what the value of these goods are. This will help to work out the import and export taxes (also known as duties) so that they can be charged.
Will I need to Make a Customs Declaration if I Sell Things Online?
If you sell goods online you will need to make customs declarations when exporting goods to the EU after the transition period ends. All of the goods will be zero rated, even if you are a VAT registered business.
You must also retain evidence of exports and keep hold of this for six years as your ‘proof of export.’
What are Safety and Security Declarations?
Safety and security declarations are documents which detail the goods that are being imported or exported into or out of the country. This will help the HMRC (or the equivalent in another country) risk-assess the goods and monitor what goods are moving across the border.
Everything I need to know as an online seller
As an online seller there are lots of things that you might not yet be aware of that you will need to know about by the 1st January 2021 in order to continue trading.
One thing you may not be aware of is import duties, these are the taxes that are collected on imports (and some exports) by the customs authorities. The tax is affected by the value of the goods- which you will state on your customs declarations. This cost differs between each country. Countries that we have a trade agreement will have lower import duties than a country we do not have a trade agreement with.
Once the transition period ends the WTO (World Trade Organisation) is responsible for keeping the taxes on trade as fair as possible. This means that they will set a standard rate on tariffs for countries that we do not currently have a trade agreement with.
You may have heard something about needing an EORI number. An EORI number (The Economic Operators Registration and Identification number) is a registration and identification number for companies that are importing or exporting goods into and out of the EU. Anyone involved in international trade will be required to have an EORI number. You can get an EORI number here.
You may conduct business through a digital marketplace, these are the most recent updates from some popular sites.
eBay- In their most recent statement eBay notifies sellers that they have not yet implemented a plan for what measures they are going to take after the transition period ends. They have announced that they will be updating their procedure once a divorce agreement with the EU has been made. Read the full statement here.
Etsy- Etsy has not yet released a plan or a statement declaring what actions will be taken at the end of the transition period.
Amazon- Amazon has some advice for their sellers laid out here. They recommend preparing by getting someone to help organise your customs declarations for you.
There is still a lot that you may be trying to wrap your head around. We can help!
CustomsLink is a digital solution to all of your customs problems. We break-down all the customs specific jargon on our user-friendly system, our tariff classification feature ensures that you will always select the right tariffs for your products, helping you to avoid fines, and our tailored reporting function helps you to keep on top of your costs.
Don’t worry. We have the perfect system to support you.