In January 2022, the UK introduced new EU imports and exports regulations. If you run a small business that sells to or buys goods from the EU, these changes are essential to know about. 

So, how do EU imports and exports work today, and how might this impact your business? We can answer those questions. 

This guide covers the key changes in EU imports and exports, including:

  • The tariff system
  • Customs declarations
  • Classification of goods 
  • Northern Ireland rules 
  • Customs enforcement

Why EU imports and exports matter to your business

Transporting goods between the UK and EU can expand your operations and let you access more opportunities for earnings.

For example, you might:

  • Sell and ship goods to the EU
  • Purchase things for your business from EU suppliers

This used to be relatively easy, but after Brexit things aren’t quite the same. So, if your small business imports or exports goods to and from the EU, you’ll need to know how the process works.

It’s important to follow these systems to report any imports and exports for your business properly. Knowing the new guidelines helps you stay compliant with government regulations and avoid penalties.

How EU imports and exports work

So how do EU imports and exports work in 2022? Let’s go over the essential things to know.

The tariff system

In 2022, thanks to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) you may still be able to export and import goods without tariffs or quotas. But, these goods must qualify and follow the Rules of Origin

To meet this, you can earn originating status for your imported or exported goods. In other words, the EU and UK can treat them as goods that originated in this country, but there needs to be limited processing or production outside these areas.  

If goods don’t qualify under the Rules of Origin, you may need to pay tariffs based on what you send or receive. On top of this, VAT and excise rules for non-EU countries now apply to goods moving between the EU and UK.

Depending on how much you need to pay to ship and export your goods and services to the EU, you may need to adjust your prices to maintain profit

Alternatively, you may need to pay a charge to import supplies for your business. 

Customs declarations

When you export goods to the EU for your business, you’ll need to fill out a customs declaration form to let HMRC know what you send or receive. This form will provide the goods, date, amount, and value. 

You’ll also need to keep evidence that your goods meet the Rules of Origin, including where the goods were sourced, produced, and processed. Then, keep records of your forms for imports and exports. 

If you fail to submit a customs declaration, you could face a penalty or become liable to pay full customs duties. 

Learn more about supplier declarations

Plants and animals goods

If you plan to import goods into the UK for your small business, you must follow certain procedures to remain transparent. Check out this step-by-step guide for more information. 

Classification of goods

As you prepare to export and import goods, you’ll need to classify them correctly to ensure you know the proper procedures. Different types of imported or exported goods demand unique information and regulations. 

You can classify your export goods with their commodity codes

Plants and animals goods

For example, if you transport, buy, or sell plants or animals (or their products), you must follow relevant health and safety rules. These procedures include health certification, biosecurity requirements, and border checks. 

As you declare goods of this type, they’ll be subject to three checks, including:

  • Electronic document
  • Identity verification 
  • Physical check of goods

Northern Ireland rules

Though there are changes to imports and exports between the EU and UK, these rules do not entirely apply to Northern Ireland. 

To move goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, you’ll need an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number. 

Learn more about the rules for Northern Ireland.

Customs enforcement

If you fail to comply with the new customs procedures, you may experience penalties that could hurt your business finances and impact your operations. 

More specifically, if you fail to comply with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA): 

  • The customer may need to pay the full customs duty (without the discount)
  • Your business may be charged a penalty
  • Your business may be blocked from benefiting from preferential tariffs in the future

If you have any further questions about the imports and exports process, use these contacts.

Be prepared for international business operations 

With this guide, you can prepare your business for imports and exports between the EU and UK and follow regulations properly. Just be sure to check with your goods and maintain clear records of them. 

Apart from importing and exporting goods, you might wonder how Brexit impacts other parts of your business. Next, check out how Brexit affects business travel.

Simplify your bookkeeping with a clever app

Once you understand how EU imports and exports work for UK businesses, you can sustain your business beyond the UK. But you’ll also need to keep your finances organised. 

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for thousands of self-employed people across the UK. 

Save yourself hours of accounting admin so you can focus on growing your business. 

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