Government to automatically enrol businesses into customs scheme

The Government will automatically enrol all VAT-registered businesses into a non-EU customs scheme after figures show worryingly low take-up.

According to the latest figures, fewer than half of all eligible businesses have registered for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

An EORI number will allow businesses to continue trading with the EU should the UK leave without a deal in October.

However, just 72,000 companies have registered so far, meaning a further eligible 88,000 firms could be forced to stop trading with EU customers and suppliers.

In light of the figures, the Government said it is now taking “decisive action” to “speed up the rollout of the scheme to help ensure the smooth transit of goods”.

Businesses will be notified of the move and will be automatically allocated an EORI number in the next two weeks, it is believed.

Commenting on the announcement, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said: “As the government accelerates its preparation to leave the EU on 31st October, it’s right businesses are prepared too.

“There can be no time for delay which is why HMRC has allocated thousands of businesses with a trading number to ensure they can continue to trade their goods through Europe from day one.

“This will help ease the flow of goods at border points and support businesses to trade and grow.”

Businesses who trade with the EU should also sign up for Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP). These will allow businesses to transport goods into the UK from the EU without having to make a full customs declaration at the border. The temporary arrangement will also allow businesses owners to postpone payments on import duties. You will need to have received your EORI before you can register.

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