Part of our news copy recently, has focused on the practical difficulties UK businesses will face if there is a no-deal Brexit.
If your company moves goods between the EU and the UK, you should make sure you have a valid Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI).
Without an agreed withdrawal with the EU, you will need an EORI number that starts with GB to move goods in or out of the UK. Additionally, if you want to trade with an EU country you will also need an EU EORI number. It will start with the country code of the EU country you got it from. You should apply for one from the customs authorities in the EU country you will trade with.
Apparently, you do not need an EORI number if you are only moving goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
If you do not apply, you may be faced with increased costs and delays. For example, if HMRC cannot clear your goods you may have to pay storage fees. Clearly, these delays could have serious repercussions if your exported goods are mired in red-tape at border crossings – your EU customers may look elsewhere for supplies – or your production and delivery in the UK may be affected if you cannot affect delivery of supplies from the EU.
We live in interesting times. Trying to keep abreast of all these likely changes is rather like shooting at a moving target. However, the application process seems straight-forward and you are not obliged to use the number if by some miracle the UK manages to reach a withdrawal agreement with the EU before the 31 October deadline.
HMRC have set up an online application process at https://www.gov.uk/eori and they do have a dedicated EORI team if you are not sure what paperwork you need to apply for – the number is 0300 322 7067.