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Brexit Transition Guidance for Employers

We have heard of more stories of extra layers of administration, courier fees, VAT problems and unexpected customs invoices for both importers and exporters.

Some EU specialist online retailers have said they will no longer deliver to the UK because of the new tax changes from 1 January and vice versa.

VAT is now being collected at the point of sale rather than at the point of importation. This means that overseas retailers sending goods to the UK are expected to register for UK VAT and account for it to HMRC if the sale value is less than €150 (£135).

Smaller EU businesses are now evaluating whether it is worth their while to export to the UK and the reverse is true.

For smaller UK businesses these changes are problematic, and they will take some time to fully understand and for simpler systems to emerge. UK businesses are innovative and adaptive and new solutions to smooth trade will emerge. It is a matter of taking a pragmatic and tentative approach just now. 

HMRC have issued an employer bulletin: “UK Transition Special Edition”. This contains a roundup of information and support and you can find out about the new rules for:

  • Trading with Europe
  • Business travellers
  • Social security coordination

Trading with Europe

The bulletin contains links to the following areas of guidance:

  • Customs declarations for all exports from the UK and if you are importing controlled goods.
  • If you import goods that are not controlled, you may be able to delay making your declarations for up to 6 months.
  • Using a customs intermediary like a freight forwarder or customs broker.
  • How to classify goods, and how to evidence their origin.
  • Follow safety and security requirements for goods.
  • Move goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol.   

Business travellers

The guidance also covers new rules for business travellers and the changes in rules you need to be aware of. For example, bringing commercial goods in accompanied baggage or in a small motor vehicle into and out of Great Britain: 

 “You need to complete a simple online declaration when entering or leaving Great Britain if you are carrying goods to sell or use by a business with a value not exceeding £1,500 and not:

  • weighing more than 1,000kg.
  • classed as excise or restricted goods.

You can do this either by an online declaration up to 5 days of arriving or leaving Great Britain or make an oral declaration to a Border Force officer at the port by going to the ‘goods to declare’ channel (red channel) or red point phone when going through customs if facilities exist.

If you are moving commercial goods exceeding £1,500 in value or weighing more than 1,000kg or if you are carrying excise or restricted goods you or your customs agent must submit a full standard customs declaration to HMRC.”

For business travellers bringing commercial goods in accompanied baggage into and out of Northern Ireland (including travelling to Northern Ireland from Great Britain) the guidance states:

“You can make an oral declaration if the goods have a value less than £873, weigh less than 1,000 kg and are not classed as excise or restricted goods. You can go to the ‘goods to declare’ red channel or the red point phone in the customs area to declare your goods to a Border Force officer if these facilities exist at the Northern Ireland port. You can also submit a declaration to HMRC using the Trader Support Service.”

For goods over £873 or that weigh more than 1,000kg or classed as excise or restricted you must submit a declaration to HMRC using the Trader Support Service.

For movements between Northern Ireland and the EU there are no changes to the rules and goods can move without a customs declaration.

Cash

The rules for cash declarations are also covered in the guidance. 

You need to make a declaration if you are carrying 10,000 euros or the equivalent in any other currency of cash and travelling to or from a non-EU country. You also need to make a declaration if you are carrying 10,000 euros or more of cash and travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

You can make the declaration at any time in the 72 hours before the time of travel.”

If you carry cash of 10,000 euros or more in or out of Northern Ireland, you do not need to declare if you are entering or leaving a country in the EU. You also do not need to make a declaration when you are taking cash from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.

You need to make a declaration if you are carrying £10,000 or more into or out of Great Britain from any country, including the EU. You do not need to make a declaration when you are taking cash from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.

New rules on social security coordination

If you send employees to work in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland the social security coordination rules have changed. 

If you work in the EU, Norway or Switzerland, you will only have to pay into one country’s social security scheme at a time. This will usually be in the country where the work takes place.

If you are only working temporarily in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein you may be able to get a certificate or document from HMRC to carry on paying National Insurance contributions in the UK. This means you will not have to pay social security contributions abroad.

Sending employees to work in the UK

If you are an employer who sends people to work in the UK, your employee will only have to pay into one country’s social security scheme at a time. This will usually be in the UK if that is where the work takes place.

If they are only working temporarily in the UK, they may be able to get a certificate or document to carry on paying social security contributions in their home country.

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