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Customs processes

The UK Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020. This page brings together guidance and news from ICAEW, as well as externally-produced resources that provide practical information on navigating the new customs processes and procedures for international trade.

Need to know

Latest news and insights

Changes to retail exports and duty-free shopping

17 September 2020: Duty-free shops will return from 1 January 2021, but international visitors to Great Britain will no longer be able to buy and take with them tax-free purchases from other retailers in the country as the VAT retail export scheme is scrapped.

Guides and FAQs

UK VAT implications of Brexit

In the event that the UK reaches no agreement after the end of the transition period, the UK Government has indicated that there will be a number of changes to the VAT rules. These proposed changes are summarised in this guide.

Government guidance on Brexit

The UK government and the European Commission (EC) have published guidance to help citizens and businesses understand the potential implications of Brexit. This overview helps you navigate through this guidance. Government guidance is expected to continue to evolve.

Brexit grants for customs declarations

Once the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, businesses will need to complete customs declarations for goods crossing the UK border (except goods moving between Northern Ireland and Ireland). Funding to help with completing the customs declarations has been made available by HMRC.

Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018

The Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 received Royal Assent on 13 September 2018. The Act seeks to replace the current EU Union Customs Code and amend current UK VAT and excise duty laws in connection with the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.


The trading landscape after Brexit - the customs perspective

The departure of the UK from the EU in March 2019 is a once in a generation change of profound significance. In July 2018, ICAEW and Chartered Accountants Ireland teamed up to publish a guide to Brexit designed to help our members advising UK and Irish businesses how to navigate this seminal change.

External resources

UK Customs Academy

A selection of free webinars from the UK Customs Academy covering a wide range of international trade topics including customs declarations, methods of valuation for import duty, incoterms 2020 and moving goods into and out of the UK post-transition. 

Trade Documentation

Information on customs declaration training and the trade documentation specialists available through the Chamber of Commerce Network.

Get an EORI number

From 1 January 2021 you will need an EORI number to move goods between the UK and the EU. Find out how to apply or check the status of your application.

The Border Operating Model explained

An Institute of Export and International Trade webinar explaining the key parts of the UK Government's Border Operating Model for traders. Supporting material is available through their Border Operating Model hub.

The Border Operating Model

A 100 page policy paper from the UK Government explaining how the border with the European Union will work for importing and exporting goods after the transition period.