Your Brexit checklist

A 10-point checklist for your business when making contingency plans to cope with the possible outcomes of Brexit.

Now the UK has left the European Union (EU), businesses that trade with or provide services in the EU need to have contingency plans in place that are flexible enough to cope with a variety of possible outcomes regarding Brexit.

From 1 January 2021 you'll need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number to move goods between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and the EU. You may also need one if you move goods to or from Northern Ireland.

If you don't have an EORI number, it's possible you'll have to deal with increased costs and delays. For example, if HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) cannot clear your goods, you may have to pay storage fees. Learn more about how to get an EORI numberLink opens in a new window

If you move goods in or out of Northern Ireland, you should register with the Trader Support ServiceLink opens in a new window.

If you don’t, your business could face disruption – including being unable to move goods into or out of Northern Ireland.

A review of your supply chain could involve the following:

  • Reviewing the supply of components and/or raw materials
  • Assessing whether goods may qualify as being of UK or EU origin
  • Considering UK suppliers to limit the risks of currency volatility and disruption to your supply chain

Find out how to review your supply chain

Import and export declarations are complicated, requiring specialist skills, knowledge and IT, including government authorisations.

Indeed, very few businesses make their own declarations, and instead use an intermediary (such as freight forwarding companies and fast parcel operators) to deal with the declarations for them. There is guidance on how you can hire a person or business to deal with customsLink opens in a new window for you.

These intermediaries will often be able to complete your import and export declarations as part of their service. Such organisations deal with HMRC’s systems every day, so they can offer you other benefits. For example, they may:

  • already hold a duty deferment account that you can use
  • be authorised to use simplified declarations
  • have access to different customs special procedures, which allow you to delay paying import duties in specific circumstances

Now is the time to speak to these companies so you have everything in place and you can continue to trade with the EU. The sooner you contact these organisations, the more likely it is that you'll secure the services you need.

How many of your staff are European Union (EU)/Icelandic, Liechtensteiner, Norwegian or Swiss nationals? How might their leaving affect your business? What can you do to reassure them?

EU citizens and their family members (including children and non-EU citizens) need to apply to the EU Settlement SchemeLink opens in a new window to continue to live, work and study in the UK beyond 30 June 2021.

The UK Government has produced an employer toolkitLink opens in a new window containing materials and information to support EU citizens to apply to stay in the UK.

Make a list of all the data flows into and out of your business. If you receive personal data from the EU, you may need to take action. The Information Commissioner’s Office has guidance on the possible actions you may need to takeLink opens in a new window.

Can you be sure that you'll still meet your delivery times and price agreements after 1 January 2021? Review contract terms and possible penalties that might be imposed if you suffer delays caused by delays with customs clearance.

Also consider Brexit when you conclude new contracts. For references, choose, for example, European legislation and dispute settlement. What is the territorial scope and under which law are disputes resolved?

Do you know the 10-digit classification of your goods that is needed for customs declarations and for IntrastatLink opens in a new window, which remains an obligation? You can search the Trade Tariff toolLink opens in a new window to find the right commodity code.

With cashflows already under strain from the pandemic, and the short-term impact of Brexit uncertain, businesses should plan ahead. If your business needs more working capital, how might you obtain it?

Requirements for travelling to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will change from 1 January 2021. There are more things to do if you’re travelling for businessLink opens in a new window – for example:

  • going to meetings and conferences
  • providing services (even with a charity)
  • touring art or music

Regional support

Enter your postcode to find business support and case studies from businesses within your region. You'll be taken to our interactive map.

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.