HMRC urges traders to act now to prepare for 1 January 2021

HMRC has written to VAT-registered traders highlighting actions they need to take to continue trading with the EU from 1 January 2021.

With fewer than 70 days to go until the transition period with the EU ends, HMRC has sent 250,000 letters and emails to VAT-registered traders urging them to act now to avoid disruption to their business.


Katherine Green and Sophie Dean, Directors General, Borders and Trade, HMRC said:

We understand that these are challenging times, but time is running out for businesses to get ready.

"New customs and tax rules will not change or go away if a Free Trade Agreement is negotiated, so businesses should act now to ensure they are ready for the end of the transition period."


The government explained in the Border Operating Model that new customs and tax rules will come into effect at the end of the transition period, whether or not a Free Trade Agreement is negotiated.


Some customs processes are complicated and can take several weeks to set up, so businesses are being urged to act now to make sure they are ready.


The key actions businesses must now take to continue trading with Europe from 1 January 2021 are:


  1. Appoint a specialist to deal with import and export declarations. This is important regardless of the amount or value of trade your business does with Europe. Most businesses use a third party such as a freight forwarder or fast parcel operator to deal with this, and do not do their customs declarations themselves.

  2. Check to see if you will be able to delay your declarations or duty payments.

  3. Register for the free-to-use Trader Support Service if you plan on moving goods into Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.

For more help and advice on preparing for the end of the transition period, please visit www.gov.uk/transition.