WITH 2020 continuing to be dominated by Covid-19 and its implications, Brexit has, until now, taken a bit of a back seat and many SMEs are unaware that there are some key things businesses need to do before the end of the year to ensure trade can continue from January 1, 2021.

The UK left the EU on January 31, this year. There is now a transition period until the end of 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements.

From January 1, there are some significant implications for all SMEs, not just those who are involved in importing/exporting or travel, including: new customs paperwork and tariffs; changes to data protection and contracts; and visa and travel requirements, such as when travelling for work.

In addition, businesses that import or export goods, either as sales or in their supply chain, must register for an EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number.

Here we’ve put together 12 steps to help you prepare your business for Brexit:

1 Complete a Cashflow Forecast;

Importing or Exporting Goods?

2 Make sure the classification of your goods are correct;

3 Check out commodity codes, duty and VAT rates;

4 Ask HMRC for help to classify your goods;

5 Ensure your company is registered for both imports and exports;

From January 1, you will need an EORI number to move goods between the UK and the EU. If you already have an EORI number – Check it!

6 Prepare for new customs paperwork;

7 Check the new UK tariff for imported goods;

8 Check Taxes and Insurance;

9 Consider Data protection and GDPR;

10 Protect your Intellectual Property;

11 Review all your contracts and terms;

12 Consider how Brexit will impact on your workforce.

Although the economic consequences of Brexit are unclear, and depend on many factors, itis essential that businesses act now to limit disruption.

If you’d like help and support with cashflow planning and/or understanding new tax positions in preparation for Brexit, email simon.turner@armstrongwatson.com or call on 07989 154139.