The new Chancellor, Sajid Javid, has stepped up plans to help ensure businesses are ready to trade post-Brexit if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. If you trade goods with the EU then you will be responsible for making customs declarations, as is the case for businesses currently exporting goods outside the EU.

To do this, you must have a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI). HMRC has been warning businesses for some time of the importance of obtaining an EORI number, but less than half of the businesses that need a number have applied for one.

Following the Chancellor’s intervention, HMRC has now started writing to businesses that have not yet applied for an EORI number. In these letters, HMRC is automatically allocating EORI numbers to some 88,000 businesses across the UK. If you have not yet applied for an EORI number, you should look out for a letter from HMRC allocating you an EORI number. All the letters from HMRC are expected to be sent by the end of the first week in September.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you will need an EORI number to move goods into and out of the UK. This identification number will be required even if you use a customs agent to assist in making customs declarations.

If you deal with customs processes of EU Member States, you will also need to get an EU EORI number too. An EU EORI is valid across the entire EU, and you can get this from the EU member state you are trading with. If you have a subsidiary company that also trades goods with the EU, they will need to apply online for a UK EORI as these cannot be given automatically by HMRC.