“If you’ll be dealing with EU customs, you’ll need an EU EORI number. Get this from the customs authority in the EU country you first conduct trade with or that you request a customs decision from.”

The above sentence summarizes the clear instructions given by HMRC as part of its no-deal Brexit preparations.

80,000 businesses have applied already for Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI)

This has been done because of increasing concern that businesses that have previously only traded within the EU may still be unaware that an EORI number is essential to trade in goods from European countries.

After Brexit, all movements  of goods to/from the European Union will be treated as Imports or Exports and, in the case of a no – deal, all post Brexit trade in goods with the EU will require an EORI number.

The EORI registration is a standard procedure and should not be confused with the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO), which is a different scheme with very different benefits and requirements.

HMRC has contacted previously businesses they think may be affected, but the number of applications for EORI numbers still fell under expectations.

HMRC have gone one step further and simply issued numbers to those they think need them to reduce difficulties immediately following the UK’s departure from the EU. Letters informing companies of their EORI numbers will start arriving as early as today.

You can check the validity of an EORI number and access company registration details from the EORI number validation database.

If your business trades goods with the EU and has  been missed out, we would recommend you to check that:

  • You already have an EORI number in the UK; or
  • You have just received a letter from HMRC explaining the auto enrollment and showing their EORI number; or if not
  • You should apply for an EORI number as soon as practical.

EORI number is already used to trade goods with countries outside the EU and if businesses are based outside the EU and trade goods with the UK. After Brexit EORI number will be used to track and register data relating to the cross border movement of goods over the UK border. The above process does not include businesses trading between Southern and Northern Ireland. Those businesses will receive notification from HMRC on the process that they should follow.

Consider that:

  1. a) You need an EORI number as, without it, you will not be able to trade goods with any country outside the UK. Customs entry may be rejected by HMRC and your goods will not be allowed to be imported into the UK without an EORI number your
  2. b) You should apply for TSP – Transitional Simplified Procedure. It will make moving goods easier and provide a cash flow advantage on any duty payable
  3. c) Make sure that your teams familiarize with EORI and TSP so to understand how to move goods to and from the EU after Brexit and new rules and terminology
  4. d) Trace your supply chain to check VAT points where you have to register and consequences you can suffer from losing EU VAT simplification or ending up paying customs duty twice.
  5. e) Finally consider that if the announced unilateral temporary tariff for goods coming into the UK will affect your goods. Goods moving from the UK to other member states will fall under the standard EU tariff. If you must pay duties, then make sure that you are able to do so and have access to a deferment account (yours or your freight forwarders).