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Brexit: Our 20 Point Planning and Preparation Checklist

At TurnerWarran, we want all of our clients to be as prepared as possible for the next few uncertain months. As such, we’re going through some resources, tips and guidance for SMEs to help prepare for Brexit changes to international trade rules, importing and exporting goods, and much more.

checklist, phone and planner

There’s still some uncertainty as to whether the UK or the EU will agree a tariff free trade agreement. Either way, UK businesses are going to face additional documentation for importing and exporting goods to the EU from 1 January 2021.

Planning for these new requirements is a sensible option, particularly for our clients who import or export goods. There’s also other business matters to consider such as data protection, intellectual property and replacing existing agreements with EU suppliers and customers. 

You can use this 20-point checklist to review your Brexit preparations, and use the Government information and resources to prepare for 1 January 2021.

The Government has published guidance online, titled “The UK transition: time is running out”.

This guidance outlines actions to take now, if you are:

  • importing goods into the UK
  • exporting goods from the UK
  • travelling to the EU
  • living and working in the EU
  • staying in the UK if you’re an EU citizen

Here are some of the areas you should consider, particularly if you import or export goods to the EU, and haven’t had the need to complete the various forms before: 

  1. If you move goods to or from the EU register (unless you already have) for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
  2. Consider an agent to help with completing import / export forms – or fill the forms out yourself (see below).
    Exporting goods guidance
  3. As export rules are specific by sector, we recommend that you review the Government website. There you can get a personalised list of actions and can subscribe for email updates.
  4. View the VAT reporting rules for EU sales.
  5. If you import goods then see the Government guidance “Starting to import”.
  6. View a step by step guide on importing.
  7. Guidance on paying VAT on imports
  8. You can review HMRC YouTube videos on international trade.
  9. You may choose to register for “Authorised Economic Operator” (AEO) status, which enables “Trusted” businesses simplified customs procedures. Application does take time and is complex.
  10. In the event of the EU and UK not agreeing a free trade agreement, from 1 January 2021 all exports and imports to the EU will be subject to tariffs. You will need to identify where “inputs” come from, and which categories of product they fall into so you can work out the tariffs that will apply. The UK Government have published trade tariffs duty and VAT rates by commodity here: Trade Tariffs
  11. If you currently have business agreements with EU companies, these may need to be redrafted to cover off areas such as customs arrangements, import duties, how VAT is accounted for, definitions such as “Territory”, dispute resolution and unanticipated administration as a result of Brexit. If applicable, we recommend you consult your lawyer for advice to avoid any potential issues sooner rather than later. 
  12. We recommend a review of all EU employees currently working in your business, to ascertain whether they are applying for “Settled status” by 31 December 2020. You should also go to the Government website for more information on your UK employees working in the EU, as they may need to apply for a similar status. View: EU Settlement Scheme
  13. If your business has a “.EU” web domain name, you should check the eligibility to hold such a domain by heading here: Guidance on EU Domains
  14. If you are involved in eCommerce, then read the Governments EU eCommerce guidance
  15. Data Protection: you may need to comply with new license requirements and changes in regulation. The Information Commissioner’s office (ICO) will update its guidance once the outcome of the negotiations is known. See here for more information: Data Protection at the end of a transition period
  16. Copyrights: A substantial part of UK copyright law is derived from the EU copyright framework. Because of this, there are references in UK law to the EU, the EEA, and member states. Some of these references occur in the UK’s implementation of EU cross-border copyright arrangements. These arrangements apply only within the EU and EEA, and provide reciprocal protections and benefits between member states. For changes to copyright law after the transition period, see here for information: Changes to Copyright Law after the transition period
  17. For Intellectual Property, view this guidance: Intellectual property and the transition period
  18. For Trademarks, the guidance can be found here: EU Trademark Guidance
  19. You could also book a meeting or consultation with us to help you strategise, plan or reboot an existing business. Head to our website to view our business support services

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