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Preparing your business for Brexit

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Act Now: Is your business 'border ready'?

The Government has said that the UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October 2019 whatever the circumstances. 

Businesses who travel and trade within the European Union are being urged to act now to ensure appropriate preparations are in place for possible changes to border control and customs arrangements at UK ports when the UK leaves the EU, to help minimise potential disruption.

£10 million Business Readiness Fund

Additional £16 million for HMRC Intermediaries Grants

  • Additional £16 million to support training and IT improvements for those completing customs declaration – including agents, traders and hauliers.

‘Get Ready for Brexit’ Business Events

  • A series of free Get Ready for Brexit Business Events will run across the country from 16 September to 18 October 2019.
  • They will give businesses help, advice and support on the actions they need to take to prepare for Brexit.
  • Find your nearest location and register at www.registration.livegroup.co.uk/getreadyforbrexit

Updates

You can sign up to receive email alerts about Brexit on GOV.UK: Brexit E-mail Alerts

Prepare your business

The Government has published a leaflet outlining the changes that may affect businesses when the UK leaves the EU, with advice on actions to take and sources of support: Prepare your business for leaving the EU 

Answer a few simple questions to find out how to prepare your business for EU Exit (GOV.UK link).

The Government has also published Five ways civil society organisations can prepare for EU exit 

HMRC's key actions for businesses include: 

  • Applying for a UK Economic Operator and Registration Identification (UK EORI) number if your business is not VAT-registered (HMRC is now automatically issuing a UK EORI to VAT registered companies). Getting an EORI number is an easy process that takes 5-10 minutes. It could take 5 working days to receive your EORI if HMRC needs to make more checks. Businesses will not be able to move goods in and out of the UK without one. 
  • If you’ll be dealing with EU customs then you’ll need an EU EORI number. Get this from the customs authority in the EU country you first conduct trade with or that you request a customs decision from.
  • Registering for Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) for ro-ro locations.
  • Preparing to make customs declarations, duties and tariffs and confirming that you can complete each data field in the Declaration. Traders can complete customs declarations themselves or employ a customs agent to do this. 
  • Preparing for phasing in of entry summary declarations (also known as safety and security declarations).
  • Agreeing responsibilities with your customs agent and logistics provider for each part of the process and update your contracts to reflect this.
  • Identifying software for submitting documents, if you do not use a customs agent.

Further information and advice

  • Use HMRCs trader checklist to check the next steps your business needs to take.

Information and Advice

The following are a range of links that we have found to help you start thinking about what you need to do - but this list is not exhaustive and guidance is continually updating. Therefore, please check with the relevant agencies that the information is the most up-to-date.  

Dover District Council is not responsible for the content or accuracy of any third-party website. 

Please click on the plus sign (+) to expand the boxes and the minus sign (-) to collapse the boxes. 

Consequences of a 'no deal'

According to the Institute for Government, the principal consequences of a ‘no deal’ for businesses are as follows:

  • The UK becomes a third country, with no preferential deal for customs purposes or for VAT;
  • Licenses and approvals issued by the UK are no longer recognised by the EU;
  • Companies based in the UK can no longer operate in the EU as a member state and need to either move business or establish a representative in an EU country;
  • The UK is no longer an approved destination for some EU business (e.g. ship recycling, some waste management);
  • UK professional qualifications are not recognised by the EU;
  • The UK stops being part of EU systems – like the aviation area or the energy market.

Some of these consequences could be highly disruptive. For example, agriculture and agri-food would be particularly severely impacted by the EU’s border inspection regime – as well as potential tariffs. 

Changes at the UK Border: Ro-Ro Ports and French Customs & Excise

Roll-on/roll-off Ports and Eurotunnel

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be changes to the way Roll-on / Roll-off ports operate, including Port of Dover and Eurotunnel. HMRC has published the following advice: 

This Border Delivery Group detailed document sets out the key HMG Departments’ requirements, predominantly: 

  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) - customs, excise and VAT
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) / Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) / Food Standards Agency (FSA)
  • Home Office (HO) / Border Force (BF)
  • Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) - product standards and conformity
  • Department for Transport - licences, permits, insurance and cabotage

It recognises that technology driven solutions will not be in place for 31 October 2019 when the UK leaves the EU. The document includes several process maps. 

French Customs and Excise

French customs authorities have published guidance for UK businesses in the event of a no deal EU Exit.

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal Brexit customs formalities and controls at the border between France and the UK will be reinstated for goods.

Any exchange of goods between France and the UK, both for imports and exports, will be subjected to two customs declarations, one to British Customs and one to French Customs.

Two pieces of guidance from the French Customs and Excise helps UK businesses to prepare for the new arrangements:

Go to GOV.UK to access the guidance and for more information.

Further Information and Advice

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has published numerous guidance for businesses on processes and procedures at the border - please see HMRC in the section below. 

 

Prepare your business for EU Exit (GOV.UK)

EU Exit Website

The UK Government has set up a Prepare your business for EU Exit website, to help you understand how leaving the EU may affect your business and what you can do to get ready.

On-line triage tool 

The website includes an online tool to help businesses prepare for the UK leaving the EU. Businesses can use the Triage Tool to find out:

  • what their business may need to do to prepare for the UK leaving the EU                                          
  • what’s changing in their sector
  • information on specific rules and regulations

Businesses will need to answer 7 simple questions to get guidance relevant to their business 

Important Information

The website is divided into sections and includes information on: 

  • Employing EU citizens: Changes to areas include movement of people, settled status and qualifications.
  • Importing, exporting and transporting: Changes to areas include importing or exporting goods, moving goods across borders, haulage permits, customs and tax.
  • Operating in the EU: Changes to areas if your business operates in the European Union.
  • Regulation and standards for products and goods: Changes to areas if you sell physical products or goods in the UK.
  • Using personal data: Changes to exchanging personal data with another organisation in Europe.
  • European and domestic funding: Changes to funding for areas include research and higher education, social and structural development and sector-specific funds.
  • Intellectual property: Changes to areas include copyrights, trademarks and patents.
  • Energy and climate: Changes to areas include energy, renewables, the nuclear industry and regulated carbon emissions
  • Public sector procurement: Changes to areas include government contracts

Individuals

In addition to businesses, the website also provides information to assist: 

SMEs and Civil Society Organisations

The Government has also published a leaflet for SMEs outlining the changes that may affect the business when the UK leaves the EU, with advice on actions to take and sources of support: Prepare your business for leaving the EU

The Government has also published Five ways civil society organisations can prepare for EU exit 

How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

The government has put together guidance on how to prepare for Brexit if there is no deal, which can be viewed on the following link: How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. This includes information on importing, exporting, product labelling, workplace rights, tax and regulation.

 Technical Notices (GOV.UK)

The UK Government has published a collection of technical notices on how to prepare if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. These cover a whole range of topics including importing and exporting; meeting business regulations; and workplace rights. 

 HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

Webinar: 5 key areas businesses must be aware of

The way UK businesses import and export goods is going to change when the UK leaves the EU. This HMRC webinar talks about the 5 key areas UK businesses need to be aware of, to keep trading with the EU in case of a no deal EU Exit. From how to register for an Economic Operator and Identification (EORI) number and Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP), to preparing to make customs declarations, what Entry Summary Declarations (also known as safety and security declarations) are, and paying the correct import and export duty and VAT. 

Trading with the EU is the UK leaves without a deal

On 4 December 2018, HMRC published a collection of guides about trading with the EU in the event the UK leaves without a deal. They cover: 

Importing and Exporting guides

EU requirements for importing and exporting

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, customs processes and documentation for importing and exporting goods will change. EU countries may impose different requirements on their side of the border. Carrying goods that do not complying with EU requirements could result in delays or penalties. Please use the below links to familiarise yourself with these new processes:

Impact for VAT and services in the event of a no deal EU Exit

As part of no deal preparations, HMRC has published technical notices on customs, excise and VAT as well as a collection of guides for businesses: Trading with the EU if the UK leaves a deal.

HMRC have now published an impact assessment that covers the impact on businesses of amendments to existing VAT legislation and the introduction of transitional provides for the supply of services between the UK and the EU. 

Trading with countries outside of the EU

You can find information on how to trade with countries outside of the EU on GOV.UK. It covers customs procedures, excise rules and VAT when importing or exporting goods outside the EU. 

Customs Declaration Service

The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) is being replaced by Customs Declaration Service (CDS). HMRC began phasing in CDS from August 2018, starting with a group of importers who make certain types of Supplementary Declarations. From November 2018 remaining importers will start to move over to CDS. Exporters will follow when export functionality is delivered in March 2019.

Visit Customs Declaration Service to understand how the changes affect your business and what you will need to do to prepare for the introduction of CDS and when. This includes making sure you have a Government Gateway account and an EORI number.

A new Trade Tariff will be used for declarations on CDS to comply with the Union Customs Code (UCC), and HMRC has stated it is important for businesses to understand how the information it provides will change. 

CDS is compliant with the UCC, EU legislation that aims to bring consistency to customs declarations across the Union. Whilst the United Kingdom will leave the EU from the end of March 2019, the Government says that it still plans to comply with this legislation.

Ro-Ro Ports and Eurotunnel

HMRC has also published specific advice for ro-ro ports and Eurotunnel, please see Changes to the UK Border section above. 

Import VAT on parcels

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be changes to the rules for reporting and paying import VAT for sellers outside the UK. The rules differ depending on the value of the goods in the parcel. Please see the following Parcels Communications Toolkit for further information. 

HMRC letters 

HMRC letters to VAT-registered businesses trading with the EU explaining how to prepare for changes to customs, excise and VAT if the UK leaves the EU without a deal:

Email Alerts

You can stay up-to-date with the HMRC registering for email alerts. Follow the email alert link, add your email address, select 'Submit', select 'Add subscription' and choose 'EU Exit' then 'Submit'.  

Tell HMRC what you need

HMRC says it wants to provide as much support as possible to help businesses and their customers, members and clients prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario. Please send feedback to:  euexit.communications@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) 

Brexit Business Readiness Forum

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) now holds a regular Brexit Business Readiness Forum. Please see documents below for key information needed to prepare for EU Exit:

Guidance

Sector Primers

The  Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published sector specific help for businesses setting out how to prepare for EU Exit. These sector primers link to more detailed material elsewhere on GOV.UK:

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

Technical notices

DEFRA has published various technical notices designed to provide businesses and individuals with more information on the considerations they should undertake in the case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. These cover issues such as Farming and Fishing; Food labelling; Chemicals (REACH); Veterinary medicines; Pet travel; Imports & Exports of animals; Imports & Exports of plants; Food standards legislation; and Buying and selling timber.

Sector specific guidance 

Also published: 

Topics include: Importing and exporting; Food labelling; Marketing standards; Your employees; Chemical regulations; Trade agreements; Tariffs; and Data protection

Topics include: Farm and rural payments; EU funding; Importing and exporting; Your employees; Food and drink labelling including organic produce; Marketing standards; Genetically modified organisms; Fertilisers; Pesticides regulations; Chemical regulations; Trade agreements and Data protection

Topics include: Importing and exporting; Regulation and standards; Energy and climate; Your employees; and Trade associations

Topics include: Access to waters; EU and third country waters; Western waters; Quota allocations and fishing opportunities;  Control and enforcement regime; Access to ports;  Fishing in UK waters; and Foreign vessel licensing

Topics include: Importing and exporting; Changes to pet travel; Veterinary medicines; Your employees; Veterinary qualifications; and Data protection

Food Standards Agency (FSA)

If your business deals in food, or animal feed, your responsibility to make sure it is safe will remain a requirement of law from day one of the UK leaving the EU. The FSA has published the following guidance to help businesses prepare: 

Product Safety and Standards

If the UK leaves the EU on Exit Day without a deal, 36 different sets of existing product safety and metrology legislation will be amended by the Product Safety and Metrology etc.(Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. The changes will be limited and will not introduce a new policy regime. This guidance from the Office for Product Safety and Standards explains them, clarifying what businesses will need to know and what they will need to do differently. It does not cover legislation sponsored by the Health and Safety Executive or the Northern Ireland Office:

Health and Social Care

This page bring together guidance for industry and organisations involved in health and care about contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit. It covers a range of areas including medicines and medical products; health and care services; food and animal feed; nutrition legislation; and tobacco and e-cigarettes:  

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

DCMS have issued new guidance on what to expect on day one of a 'no deal' scenario if you’re a creative business, small arts organisation or sports organisation that currently travels only to the EU. Check what you need to do if you’re taking your sports team, performing arts group or production, exhibition, or creative samples to the EU temporarily: 

Home Office (EU Settlement Scheme)

What does the EU Settlement Scheme mean for employers?

EU citizens used throughout refers to EEA and Swiss nationals, who are all eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The information below, provided by the Home Office, sets out your obligations as an employer:

  • it is the responsibility of the individual to make an application to the EU Settlement Scheme. There is no requirement for the individual to inform you, as an employer, that they have applied or the outcome of their application. Likewise, you are not required to check that an employee has applied.
  • you have a duty not to discriminate against EU citizens in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU as both a prospective and current employer. You cannot make an offer of employment, or continued employment, dependent on an individual having made an application.
  • current ‘right to work’ checks (e.g. passport and/or national identity card) apply until the end of 2020. There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until 30 June 2021. EU citizens can also evidence their right to work using the online right to work service, if they choose to do so. However, they are under no obligation to demonstrate their right to work in this way.
  • there will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until 30 June 2021 (in the event of a no deal, this date will be 31 December 2020)
  • you will not be required to undertake retrospective checks on existing EU employees when the UK transitions to the future skills-based immigration system.
  • there is no legal obligation for you to communicate the EU Settlement Scheme, however you may wish to signpost the information that the Government is providing.
  • you should not have to interpret information provided by the Government and you must be careful not to provide immigration advice, unless you are qualified to do so. For more information please visit the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner (OISC) guidance on GOV.UK.

Further information

  • EU Settlement Scheme guidance can be found at gov.uk/eu-settled-status
  • The Home Office has launched an employers toolkit to equip you with the right information to support EU citizens and their families on the EU Settlement Scheme.

Skills-based immigration system

From 1 January 2021, the government will be launching a new  skills-based immigration system

Department for Transport 

Department for International Trade (DIT): Help to Export

The Department for International Trade (DIT) was established in July 2016 in response to the UK’s decision to exit from the European Union (EU). DIT aims to secure UK and global prosperity by promoting international trade and investment, and championing free trade. DIT’s role sits alongside that of the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU), which is responsible for negotiating the future UK–EU relationship, including the terms of trade.

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, the UK will no longer operate under the European Economic Area (EEA) regulations for the cross-border trade in services. This means that UK businesses will no longer be treated as if they were local businesses. Services provided by UK businesses and professionals will be regarded as originating from a ‘third country’. UK firms and service providers may face additional legal, regulatory and administrative barriers as a result.

DIT guidance for UK businesses offering services in EU or EFTA countries if the UK leaves the EU with no deal (published 17 June 2019):  

Guidance 

Get your business ready to export from the UK to the EU after Brexit

Find out what you need to do now to make sure you’re able to send goods from the UK to the EU, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. What you need to do is different if you import goods or transport goods.

Find out what you need to do now to make sure you’re able to receive goods from the EU, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. What you need to do is different if you export goods or transport goods.

A checklist of documents that haulage drivers must carry to pass through customs if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019.

 

Guidance for UK businesses about bidding for overseas contracts if there is a no-deal Brexit.

 

Trade agreements

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be no implementation period. In this scenario, the government will seek to bring into force UK-third country agreements from exit day, or as soon as possible afterwards. These new agreements will replicate existing EU agreements as far as possible. Where replacement trade agreements are not agreed, trade would take place on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms with that country. 

The government is in the process of transitioning existing trade agreements which the UK participates in as a member of the EU. The following guidance contains information about signed trade agreements; what's changing if the UK leaves the EU with no deal; steps businesses need to take to prepare; and other trade preferences for imports to the UK: 

Exporting

Department for International Trade (DIT) guidance on the changes to exporting goods and services from the UK if we leave the EU with no deal: 

Explore the potential of exporting with guidance, services and support from the Department for International Trade (DIT):

For help with export finance and insurance, please see: 

Helpline

For guidance and information regarding exporting and importing, businesses can: 

Videos

The Department for International Trade have also created a range of videos to help businesses, including 'trade explained' videos, tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers.  

Trade Bodies and other links

British Chamber of Commerce (BCC)

The BCC has put together resources to help businesses prepare for the change and to assess the progress of the negotiations. The resource includes a Business Brexit Checklist and a Brexit Risk Register. The checklist includes actions on workforce, cross-border trade (including preparations for possible border delays, tariffs and customs checks) and taxation. 

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

The ICAEW checklist covers movement of goods; product compliance; contracts; people; and financial planning. 

Institute of Directors (IoD)

The IoD's Brexit Guide covers goods; services; people; Brexit checklist; IoD resources; glossary; and an index of useful links.

Federation for Small Business (FSB)

The FSB has published a pack to set out what smaller businesses should be thinking about. 

Open to Export

Open to Export is a free online information service from The Institute of Export & International Trade, dedicated to helping small UK businesses get ready to export and expand internationally.

Ready for Brexit

Ready for Brexit aims to help businesses and organisations understand the challenges and opportunities that Brexit will create. It has a range of tools to help deal with Brexit.

Road Haulage Association (RHA)

The RHA has prepared arrange of documents relating to Brexit.

Freight Transport Association (FTA)

To help all its members and other representatives of the logistics industry prepare for the potential impacts of Brexit, and considering the possibility of a No Deal Brexit in the short term, FTA has put together some topline advice on all key areas that will be impacted:

British International Freight Association (BIFA)

National Farmers Union (NFU)

The NFU has put together a 'Brexit Toolbox' aimed at helping members prepare for Brexit:

Data Protection

When the UK leaves the EU there may be changes to the rules governing the use of personal data that will affect your business.

Government guidance

 Please see the following Government guidance: 

Information Commissioner's Office

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has also published guidance for UK businesses or organisations setting out the key practical points and preparations for you to consider when preparing for Brexit, covering both 'deal' and 'no deal' scenarios: 

Intellectual Property

Parts of UK intellectual property (IP) law will change when the UK leaves the EU:

Funding

When the UK leaves the EU there may be changes to how UK organisations, such as charities, businesses and universities are funded: 

Dover Port Health Authority

Dover District Council is the Port Health Authority (PHA) for the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel. The Dover PHA  provides enforcement, advice, support, training and consultation on food safety and infectious disease control issues both to the commercial and voluntary sector:

Kent Resilience Forum

The Kent Resilience Forum has published information to help businesses and households 'Be Prepared' (not just for EU Exit). Documents include: 

Contingency planning for possible traffic disruption in Kent resulting from cross-Channel disruption and following Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union

Checklist to help households be prepared for emergencies that can affect the county with little or no notice.

The way in which a business plans for and responds to events such as fire, flooding, vandalism, loss of utilities, etc., will determine how quickly and to what level a business can recover and thrive. 

Help to Grow and Innovate

The Kent & Medway Growth Hub forms part of the South East Business Hub, the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s overarching business support programme. It helps new and existing businesses find the most suitable type of business support available in their area.

For help understanding the finance options available to grow your business. Take a look at their Business Finance Guide.

For inspiration, practical tools and resources to boost your business’s productivity.

For help getting your innovative idea off the ground.

For connecting you to the expertise, finance and markets to commercialise your innovation.

If you are based anywhere in the UK and want to find out where to get help and support for your business, go to the GOV.UK Business Support page. 

Business Support

Business Support Helpline

The Government’s Business Support Helpline is a national service for all businesses or aspiring business owners in England. Their impartial expert Advisers can answer business owners’ questions, whether they're starting up or already a small business based in England. The Helpline also provides complementary information to what is available on GOV.UK.

You can contact the Business Support Helpline for free advice on 0300 456 3565,  enquiries@businesssupporthelpline.org or via social media on webchatTwitterFacebook or YouTube

The British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is a Government-owned, independently run development bank that’s helped more than 74,000 growing businesses find the right finance option to help them reach their next ambition. The Finance Hub has been created to help businesses understand and discover the finance options that could enable them to grow. For further details please visit the British Business Bank.

The Start-Up Loan Company

The Start-Up Loan Company is subsidiary of the British Business Bank and delivers the Government’s Start Up Loans programme, providing finance and support for businesses who struggle to access other forms of finance. Start-Up Loans, a government-backed scheme, helps individuals start or grow a business in the UK. Alongside the low-interest loan, successful applicants can access free mentoring from experienced advisers. For further details please visit the Start-Up Loan Company

Business Regulation

Resources for businesses published by the Office for Product Safety and Standards:  

European Commission Brexit Preparations

European Commission preparation pages can be found here:

National preparation pages on the EU27: 

Video resources

Five key areas businesses must be aware of

The way UK businesses import and export goods is going to change when the UK leaves the EU. This HMRC webinar talks about the 5 key areas UK businesses need to be aware of, to keep trading with the EU in case of a no deal EU Exit. From how to register for an Economic Operator and Identification (EORI) number and Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP), to preparing to make customs declarations, what Entry Summary Declarations (also known as safety and security declarations) are, and paying the correct import and export duty and VAT. 

EU Exit Video Guides

The Border Delivery Group and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have published a series of short  video guides to help businesses to prepare for changes at the UK/EU border in a ‘no deal’ scenario. The videos set out the actions that businesses will need to take to continue to trade in a ‘no deal’ EU Exit, and direct them towards further information available online.

Along with a general video and leaflet for all businesses, there are tailored products for specific industries. There are also two deep dive videos available that provide more detail on importing and exporting in a ‘no deal’ scenario.

Please note: These videos were not working when we last checked 29th March and we assume they have been temporarily withdrawn from publication as they contain out-of-date information. We have kept the link on this page for when they go back live.  

Department for International Trade

The Department for International Trade have also created a range of videos to help businesses, including 'trade explained' videos, tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers.  

Leaflets

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

HMRC has published a series of leaflets to help businesses to prepare for changes at the UK/EU border in a ‘no deal’ scenario. 

Other leaflets

Disclaimer

The links provided in our website are provided solely for your convenience and may assist you in locating other useful information on the Internet. When you click on these links, you will leave Dover District Council's website and will be redirected to another website. These websites are not under the control of Dover District Council. 
Dover District Council is not responsible for the content or accuracy of linked third party websites. We are not an agent for these third parties nor do we endorse or guarantee their products etc. We make no representation or warranty regarding the accuracy of the information contained in the linked websites. We suggest that you always verify the information obtained from linked websites before acting upon this information.

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