New VAT rules introduced on January 1st 2021 created a significant challenge for small businesses when selling via websites and other direct means to customers in the EU.
To ease the burden of businesses having to VAT register in each EU member state where they have customers, a new scheme allows businesses to register just once in any EU member state, and this one registration will then cover all EU member states.
The EU’s Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) scheme is an online portal that businesses can register with to comply with VAT e-commerce obligations when selling to the EU. In doing so, businesses will no longer be required to VAT register in each of the 27 EU member states where they have customers.
Get advice on what the new system means for you
This can be a complex area, also involving minimum value thresholds and reporting and payment systems, so you may want clarification.
In the first instance, to learn more about these changes and what you need to do if you sell (or want to start selling) to EU countries, including through a website, contact our Business Support Team.
Email BusinessSupport@bbf.uk.com or call 01494 927130.
You may also require support from an accountancy firm when registering with the IOSS scheme.
There are many new rules and regulations for businesses to follow since January 1st 2021, in areas such as exports, imports, tariffs, packaging, data and hiring. Search the options below to ensure you are compliant.
Use this quick checker tool to identify the specific steps your business needs to take.
Brexit transition helplines - a list of key business transition actions and the relevant helpline, organised by theme and key actions.
HMRC runs regular webinars on a variety of topics and their YouTube channel provides useful information regarding customs and trading. Sign up for HMRC email alerts via this page. You can also watch webinars from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Visit the government's transition website for all the latest information.
Traders and hauliers must take the steps outlined in the Border Operating Model, which was updated in March 2021 following the UK-EU trade and cooperation agreement.
The government announced a new timetable for introducing import border control processes.
Details of the new timetable can be found here.
The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking is a new UK product marking that is used for goods being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). It covers most goods which previously required the CE marking, known as ‘new approach’ goods.
The UKCA marking alone cannot be used for goods placed on the Northern Ireland market. See the guidance on placing goods on the Northern Ireland market.
Check whether you will need to use the UKCA marking by reading the guidance on placing manufactured goods on the market in Great Britain.
How long can the CE marking still be used for?
The UKCA marking came into effect on January 1st 2021. However, to allow businesses time to adjust to the new requirements, you will still be able to use the CE marking until January 1st 2022 in most cases.
Selling goods in the EU
The UKCA marking is not recognised on the EU market. Products need a CE marking for sale in the EU. Find out how to use the CE marking.
A series of new, on-demand videos have been created by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to help businesses familiarise themselves with the new rules and the actions they should take.
Learn more about a range of topics including importing and exporting, trade with Northern Ireland, tariffs, hiring overseas staff, IP, data and accounting.
SMEs can access a useful guide to the decisions and actions they need to make to continue trading with the EU and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
The guide provides an overview of actions to take, support on offer and useful helplines and resources for topics including:
If you are travelling to Europe for work, such as attending a conference or providing a service, new rules now apply.
A guide has been produced containing information on:
You will need to check the rules for each of the European Member States that you will visit.
Common travel area rights are unaffected. If you are a British or Irish citizen you can work and live in the UK or Ireland without needing additional permission.
You need an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI number) if you move goods:
Check which EORI number you need
You may also need an EORI number starting with XI if you move goods to or from Northern Ireland.
If your business will be making certain declarations or getting a customs decision in the EU. you may need an EORI number from an EU country. Contact the customs authority in an EU country to get an EU EORI number. You do not need an EORI number from an EU country if you already have an XI EORI number.
SMEs can apply for co-investment funding from the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) new Internationalisation Fund, using European Regional Development Funding (ERDF).
Funding can be used on advice from third party private sector experts to help SMEs prepare for international trade, which can include market research, PR, intellectual property, legal advice and a whole lot more.
Read through the below programmes and services of support on offer from government agencies and other organisations.
The Field Force Support Programme is offered by the Cabinet Office to support businesses that trade over £250,000 of goods with the EU each year.
The support available ranges from invitations to specialist events, 1-to-1 query resolution, sector-specific guidance from policy experts, and business case studies.
England's Finest is a free digital service from the Department for International Trade aims to connect international buyers with UK sellers in the food and drink industry.
The aim is to help exporters by speeding up their access to key brands, businesses and buyers around the world, saving them time and money when trying to sell overseas or build their product offering in new marketplaces.
Find the latest events and webinars from Buckinghamshire Business First, government agencies like the Department for International Trade (DIT), and other organisations.
Visit our Webinar Library to watch our series of trade-focused webinars, which we teamed up with other Growth Hubs to bring to businesses.
Meet a Business Adviser in a one-to-one meeting for information and support on a range of topics, including complying with the new rules post-EU exit:
These events are a collaboration between Buckinghamshire Business First and your local Community Board.
Join an online bootcamp to hear how you can start exporting your products globally.
The one-day bootcamp will include sessions focused on selling globally on the Amazon stores, key considerations for exporting, cross-border VAT and global payments, and marketing strategy. You'll benefit from Amazon-specific training and advice from a dedicated group of experts and advisers.
It is part of a series by Enterprise Nation, in partnership with Amazon and the Department for International Trade (DIT).
You now need to follow new rules on exports, imports and VAT. Advice and support is outlined below.
If you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Trader Support Service will guide you through any changes due to the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
An easy way to get ready is to sign up for the free Trader Support Service which:
It can help if you:
Tariffs applied to UK imports changes as of 1st January 2021.
The UK Global Tariff (UKGT) will replace the EU’s common external tariff, which applied until 31st December 2020. This follows a government consultation.
Use this online service to check the UK Global Tariff that will apply to goods you import from 1st January 2021. You can also check the difference between what you pay now and what you’ll pay as of 1st January 2021.
Please note: Any business looking to import and export to the EU will need to have an EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number. Find out more and get one here >
The General Export Facility (GEF) provides partial guarantees to banks to help UK exporters gain access to trade finance facilities.
Exporters will be able to apply for finance from the UK’s five largest banks backed by a UK Export Finance (UKEF) guarantee to free up working capital that can be used for everyday costs linked to exports and to scale up their business operations.
When it comes to exporting goods overseas, what you need to do and the rules you need to abide by depend on whether you’re exporting:
Selling digital services in the EU
Follow the rules for tax if you sell digital services in the EU, for example, downloadable videos, music, ebooks or software.
The Department for International Trade have provided this useful list of actions for UK exporters to EU and rest of world.
UK Global Tariff - new import tariffs from 1st January 2021
Tariffs applied to UK imports have changed as of 1st January 2021.
The UK Global Tariff (UKGT) replaces the EU’s common external tariff, which applied until 31st December 2020.
Use this online service to check the UK Global Tariff that will apply to goods you import from 1st January 2021.
Importing - what are the rules you need to follow?
If your business imports goods from overseas, what you need to do and the rules you need to abide by depend on whether you’re importing
Importing services from outside the UK
There are different rules if your business buys services from outside the UK.
An online tool launched by the Department for International Trade aims to make it easier for businesses to trade globally.
The tool enables businesses to report issues and problems which prevent them from trading globally, such as legal, regulatory or administrative requirements that slow down or prevent a business exporting or importing.
Once an issue or problem has been reported, trade experts will assess the problem and work with other governments around the world to resolve it.
HMRC has an EU Exit Import and Export Trader Helpline for traders and hauliers importing from and/or exporting to the EU.
The helpline number is 0300 3301 331. Lines will be open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
As of 1st January 2021, all businesses that move goods between Great Britain and countries in the EU, or under the Northern Ireland Protocol, must follow new customs and tax rules. HMRC can help you understand what the changes mean for your business.
Read this article where they share the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions and provide links to where you can find more information and support.
The Department for International Trade has a digital tool that helps UK businesses understand the rules, restrictions and tax and duty rates that may apply when they export goods internationally.
You’ll need to know what your product is made of to get the correct information about how to export it.
Hillier Hopkins have announced the launch of a dedicated customs declaration service aimed at SME firms needing help following the end of the Transition period.
UK-Australia free trade deal agreed
The UK has agreed the main elements of a trade deal with Australia, creating tariff-free trade on all UK goods.
The Department for International Trade has outlined the key benefits of the UK-Australia trade deal.
Learn all about exporting to Australia.
UK-India Free Trade Agreement Consultation
The UK and Indian governments have agreed a ‘2030 Roadmap’ which will provide a framework for UK-India relations across health, climate, trade, education, science and technology, and defence.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) has launched a 14-week public consultation, running until the end of August, to gather views from a broad range of participants regarding experiences of doing business with India.
DIT says that: “This public consultation provides stakeholders with the opportunity to express their views about a UK-India free trade agreement, which will help shape government policy positions and ensure a future trade deal benefits citizens and business in every region of the UK.”
Learn about the VAT treatment of transactions or movements of goods which span the end of the transition period.
Check what you need to do to comply with new rules regarding employment and immigration.
As of 1st January 2021, free movement has ended and the UK will introduce a points-based immigration system. The new system will treat EU1 and non-EU citizens equally and transform the way in which all migrants come to the UK to work. Anyone coming to the UK to work, excluding Irish citizens, will need to apply for permission in advance.
Under a points-based immigration system, anyone coming to the UK for work must meet a specific set of requirements for which they will score points. Visas are then awarded to those who gain enough points.
The points-based system will provide simple, effective and flexible arrangements for UK employers to recruit skilled workers from around the world through a number of different immigration routes.
This represents a significant change for employers recruiting from outside the UK labour market, who will need to adapt.
Employers can sign up to receive email alerts for the latest news on the new immigration system.
Guidance is available for employers carrying out right to work checks on EU citizens and their family members in the UK.
You’ll need to check a job applicant’s right to work in the same way as you do now up until 30th June 2021.
A new immigration system will apply to people arriving in the UK from 1st January 2021 and EU citizens moving to the UK to work will need to get a visa in advance.
EU citizens applying for a skilled worker visa will need to show they have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor to be able to apply.
If you’re an employer planning to sponsor skilled migrants from 2021, and are not currently an approved sponsor, you should consider getting approved now.
European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss citizens and their family members who are living in the UK before 1st January 2021 need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30th June 2021.
The government has produced a toolkit containing information with which employers can support EU citizen employees and their families with regards to the EU Settlement Scheme. The information can help employers to support EU citizen employees to apply to stay in the UK.
The toolkit includes:
The government has also produced a toolkit for community groups to support EU citizens and their families, which can be accessed here >
As of 1st January 2021, new rules apply on living, working, travelling and doing business in the UK and EU.
For government advice on the end of the transition period and the new rules from 1st January 2021, visit the government's transition period homepage here >
Innovation projects can still be funded through the Horizon 2020 programme during the UK-EU transition period, including those lasting beyond 2020. Prototyping, testing, piloting and more are eligible for funding covering up to 70% of costs.
The Horizon 2020 programme was established by the European Union (EU) to ensure that Europe produces world-class science, remove barriers to innovation, and make it easier for public and private sectors to innovate together.
What happens during and after the UK-EU transition period?
UK scientists, researchers and businesses can continue to participate in Horizon 2020 programmes‚ÄØand receive EU grant funding for the lifetime of individual projects. This includes projects finishing after 1st January 2021.
You can apply for funding if your project is close to market. This could include prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, market replication or large-scale product validation.
You can get up to 70% of your project’s direct costs funded if you are a business, or up to 100% funding if you are a not-for-profit organisation.
Please note: The government states that "a very limited number of UK Horizon 2020 projects, which involve access to security-related sensitive information restricted for EU Member States, may be unable to continue after EU Exit in their current form. The government expects the European Commission to inform participants if this is the case. To account for this, the government and UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), has established a ‘Continuation Process’. This will provide funding to UK beneficiaries if their Horizon 2020 grant is terminated by the European Commission due to EU Exit."
View the detailed guides for businesses on specific product safety and metrology regulations as of 1st January 2021.
DEFRA have produced guidance on how rules for producing, processing, labelling and trading organic food have change as of 1st January 2021.
The National Archive will allow members of the public to view all EU legislation relevant to the UK exiting the EU.
The UK is no longer part of the EU merger system as of 1st January 2021. Businesses considering a merger that will affect both UK and EU markets will need to comply with UK and EU merger rules.
Read the government advice on how merger reviews and investigations into anti-competitive activity will change from 1st January 2021.
Cross border mergers
Cross border mergers involving UK companies must be completed and registered before 1st January 2021.
The letters ‘CE’ appear on many products that are traded on the single market in the European Economic Area (EEA).
You can use the CE marking if you’re placing certain goods on the UK or EU market until 1st January 2021.
The CE marking is required for many products. It:
This government webpage provides information on CE marking and will be updated if anything changes.
The government has provided a 6-point checklist for haulage drivers transporting goods commercially if they are driving from the UK to any international destination.
Buckinghamshire Business First is working with the government to help ensure you get the guidance and support you need to help you prepare your business for the UK Transition.
Please help us do this by completing this short survey – it should take just 2 minutes.