Brexit is often described as the start of a new relationship between the UK and European Union (EU). So now that the first date is over, is it love at first sight or is one side refusing to reply to messages?
The good news is that January, in theory the toughest period, has passed without major problems. However, it is still too early in the relationship to be expecting the EU and UK to start discussing wallpaper for the bedroom.
“With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit news has understandably taken a back seat, but it is vital for businesses to be prepared,” says Emma Roberts from One Click Accountant.
“While the major supermarkets and wholesalers deal with importing and exporting every day, this may not be the case for small businesses.
“We advise clients to do their Brexit homework as it can avoid a lot of wasted time and money”Emma Roberts, One Click Accountant
With that in mind, Emma has highlighted a few key areas that businesses need to address.
“The biggest fear in the days leading up to January 1 was issues with paperwork leading to an endless queue of lorries outside Dover,” Emma continues.
“Although there were queues over Christmas due to tighter French coronavirus rules, Brexit has only caused minor disruption.
“The hiccups at ports have, not surprisingly, been down to drivers having incorrect documents.
“To ensure your goods are not held up, ensure that suppliers and logistics firms complete the necessary EU and UK customs declarations.”
Rules of Origin
“One of the buzzwords of the post-Brexit era, rules of origin, refers to the tariffs you are charged when importing goods,” Emma explains.
“It is all based around origin, so if you import products from North America and then sell them into the EU (without substantially changing or ‘adding value’ to them), you will be paying taxes in the UK and EU, otherwise known as double duty.”
“This means supply chains need to be realigned, and explains why many UK firms are sending foreign goods straight to EU warehouses.”
To help you find out what duty is due, click here for the Government’s duty checking tool.
“Open and constant communication between you, your supply chain and your customer is more important than ever.
“If you are importing goods, you need to be able to track their progress so that your customer is not left waiting.
“This will require sharing data, so ensure that your processes and policies are robust.”
“If your business has incurred extra costs because of Brexit, you need to check that your prices are still competitive,” warns Emma.
“Review your existing products and services to see what is working best. Don’t be afraid to revert to a smaller range of core offerings as these will ensure you remain profitable.”
“Businesses must review their current and future staffing requirements,” Emma advises.
“If you employ any EU nationals, they will need to apply for settlement status before the end of June 2021”Emma Roberts, One Click Accountant
“EU citizens who regularly work in the UK must apply for a frontier worker permit. As an employer, you must record how long your employees spend in each EU country.
“Remember: the 90-day visa-free period applies to the whole of the EU, not each country.”
“Although businesses need to be mindful of the Brexit changes, they mustn’t forget that there are also plenty of opportunities out there,” adds Emma.
“There is evidence of manufacturing returning to the UK, while consumers are willing to buy British and support their local economy,” concludes Emma. “To take advantage, businesses need to be up to speed with the latest legislation and have the ability to adapt quickly.”
For more information on the latest Brexit rules, click here to visit the Government website.
Alternatively, if you require assistance with dealing with Brexit challenges: