HMRC has written to 145,000 VAT-registered businesses that only trade with the EU, advising them to plan ahead for a potential no-deal Brexit.
The letters outline changes to customs, excise and VAT in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a Brexit deal. UK firms are advised to register for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. Without this, businesses will not be able to move goods in and out of the UK. HMRC also recommends giving couriers EORI numbers so that they can clear goods.
Additionally, firms will need an EU EORI number in order to 'deal with the customs processes of EU Member States'.
Commenting on the matter, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: 'Businesses still need clarity on many other cross-border trade issues, such as customs procedures at borders following a no-deal exit and when the government will launch an official database to provide ease of access to information on tariffs and quotas.'
The government has started to automatically enrol UK firms into a customs system in order to simplify trade with the EU post-Brexit. HMRC stated that it will 'continue to engage with businesses, representative organisations, intermediaries and infrastructure providers to ensure they have the information and support they need'.