Jenna McArtney

Jenna McArtney


There is still some uncertainty as to whether the UK or EU will agree a tariff free trade agreement. Either way UK business will face additional documentation for importing and exporting goods to the EU from 1 January 2021.

Planning for the new requirements seems sensible right now. There are also other business matters to consider such as data protection, intellectual property and replacing existing agreements with EU suppliers and customers.

We have complied a list of resources with areas you should consider, particularly if you import or export goods to the EU and haven’t had the need to complete various forms before.

You can use these resources to review your Brexit readiness and the Government information to prepare actions for 1 January 2021. The Government has published transition guidance which outlines actions to take now if you are:

  • Importing goods into the UK
  • Exporting goods from the UK
  • Travelling to the EU
  • Living and working in the EU
  • Staying in the UK if you’re an EU citizen

Please note, the following is not a comprehensive checklist and simply acts as a hub of information and actions you can take to prepare for leaving the EU.

  • If you move goods to or from the EU register (unless you already have) for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, click here.


  • You could consider an agent to help with completing import/export forms, for more information, click here.


  • If you export goods, please see the step by step guide, click here.


  • Export rules are specific by sector so please review ‘the transition period ends in December’ section of the government website. You can get a personalised list of actions and can subscribe for email updates, click here.


  • For VAT reporting rules for EU sales, please click here.


  • If you import goods then please refer to the following guidance, click here.


  • The Government has produced a step-by step-guide on importing, click here.


  • For guidance on paying VAT on imports, please click here.


  • To review HMRC YouTube videos on international trade, please click here.


  • You may choose to register for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status which enables trusted businesses simplified customs procedures. Please refer to the guidance by clicking here.


  • In the event of the EU and UK not agreeing a free trade agreement, from 1 January 2021 all exports and imports to the EU will be subject to tariffs. You will need to identify where ‘inputs’ come from and which categories of product they fall into so you can work out the tariffs that will apply. The UK Government have published trade tariffs duty and VAT rates by commodity, please click here to find out more.


  • If you currently have business agreements with EU companies these may need to be redrafted to cover off areas such as customs arrangements, import duties, how VAT is accounted for, definitions such as ‘territory’, dispute resolution and unanticipated administration as a result of Brexit. Consult your lawyer for advice to avoid any potential issues sooner rather than later.


  • Review all EU employees currently working in your business and ascertain whether they are applying for ‘settled status’ by 31st December 2020. UK employees working in the EU may need to apply for similar status. Please click here for further settlement information.


  • If your business has a ‘.EU’ domain name you should check the eligibility to hold such a domain, click here for further government guidance.


  • If you are involved in eCommerce then please read the Governments EU guidance, click here.


  • You may need to comply with new license requirements and changes in regulation for data protection. The Information Commissioner’s office (ICO) will update its guidance once the outcome of the negotiations is known. Please click here for further information.


  • A substantial part of UK copyright law is derived from the EU copyright framework. Because of this, there are references in UK law to the EU, the EEA, and member states. Some of these references occur in the UK’s implementation of EU cross-border copyright arrangements. These arrangements apply only within the EU and EEA and provide reciprocal protections and benefits between member states. If there is no future reciprocal UK EU deal, contact your lawyer to discuss. For more information about changes to the copyright law after Brexit, please click here.


  • For guidance on intellectual property, please click here, or for information on trademarks, please click here.