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Government updates 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. Our guide helps you find these resources and navigate through them.

Page last updated

7 October 2019

Government guidance on Brexit

This guide helps you navigate through the Government's technical notices.

Download the complete guide

Guidance has been issued by a variety of UK government and EC departments. Most government guidance considers a UK exit without any compensating arrangements; a "no deal" scenario, often also referred to as a "hard Brexit". The terms of a "deal" and their implications for business clearly remain uncertain. The guidance in many areas may change if arrangements are negotiated with the EU. Current arrangements would in any case be expected to continue for the duration of any transitional period that may be agreed.

It can be difficult to locate the guidance and to navigate through the hundreds of documents available. This guide is intended to help you rapidly locate the guidance you need. ICAEW’s library is also publishing new guidance as issued on Information on a no-deal scenario.

The UK government has published specific technical notices on:

What has the UK government asked businesses to do?

Partnership pack

Many UK businesses will have received in February 2019, the UK government’s ‘partnership pack’: preparing for changes at the UK border after a ‘no deal’ EU Exit. Some of the information it contains has since been superseded and it is now archived. Current online guidance is set out below.

Online guidance

The UK government has provided a tool to help businesses find relevant guidance online. Many businesses will find a range of publications apply and it can be difficult to navigate between them. In the following sections we help you find the guidance you need.

What actions should be taken by businesses that import/export goods?

There is a range of guidance for businesses that export or import goods between the UK and EU. For UK businesses, the government has issued instructions for actions it recommends they take to prepare for ‘the unlikely event that the UK exits the EU without a deal’. HMRC sent instructions to VAT-registered businesses only trading with the EU in early December 2018 (a group which we understand contains 145,000 businesses) and has since written to businesses that trade with the rest of the world and traders in excise-goods.

The government says that importing/exporting businesses need to take these actions:

  • Check they have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. They will need this to complete export or import documentation. HMRC sent EORI numbers to all VAT registered businesses in August 2019. If you don’t have one, you can register at www.gov.uk/eori. UK businesses that already have an EORI number from another EU member state (one that does not start GB) can continue using it for now.
  • Decide if they want to hire an agent to make import and/or export declarations, or make them themselves by, for example, buying software that interacts with HMRC’s systems. Contact the organisation that moves their goods to see if they will need to provide any additional information to them.
  • Importers to the UK may be able to use ‘transitional simplified procedures’. They enable customs paperwork to be completed and VAT and duties settled away from the port. But importers will need to register. They may also be able to use other customs procedures that make importing easier.
  • Get ready to comply with any instructions that may be issued by EU-member states that they export into. For example, read French customs guidance after Brexit.

ICAEW’s library can help you find information about all aspects of exporting, including government guidance on shipping and logistics which can help you decide whether to use the services of a freight forwarder and how to find one.

The UK government has also made a range of guidance available online:

Exporters from UK to EU

Placing manufactured goods on the EU internal market if there's no Brexit deal

Implications for UK products being sold in the EU.

Trading and moving goods from the UK to the EU if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

Summary guidance for exporters from the UK.

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

Checklist for exporters from the UK.

Customs declaration for goods taken out of the UK How to complete export paperwork.


Importers to UK from EU

Placing manufactured goods on the UK market if there’s no Brexit deal

Implications for EU products being sold in the UK.

Trading and moving goods from the EU to the UK if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

Summary guidance for importers to the UK.

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

Checklist for importers to the UK.

Register for simplified import procedures if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

Simplified procedures allow businesses to complete some documentation and settle VAT and duties away from the port.

Customs declaration for goods brought into the UK

How to complete import paperwork.


Guidance on customs procedures

Using customs procedures if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

Details of customs authorisations that can simplify port procedures.

Changes to your customs authorisations if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

Businesses that already use customs authorisations may also be affected if there is no deal.

Moving goods to and from the EU through roll on roll off ports or the Channel Tunnel

How port procedures will work in the event of no deal.

Moving and declaring excise goods if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

Additional actions for traders in excise goods.

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