As we approach (yet again!) the Brexit deadline of the 31st of October, here’s a walk-through of one of the first changes that businesses will experience after Brexit: getting an EORI Number to keep trading with European countries.
EORI stands for “Economic Operators Registration and Identification number”. Currently, companies within the European Union need one to trade with countries outside of the Customs Union, and vice versa.
Of course, as the UK leaves the EU, British companies will find themselves out of the Customs Union, and those wishing to trade – or continue trading – with other European countries will need an EORI number.
In the event that the UK leaves the EU without an alternative trade deal, UK businesses will need an EORI number that starts with GB to move goods in and out of the UK.
An EORI number is not needed if goods are only moved between Northern Ireland and Ireland. However, one will be required for imports and exports that move directly between Ireland and Great Britain without going through Northern Ireland.
A business that already has an EORI number starting with GB can continue to use it. It will be 12 digits long and include the VAT number where the business is registered for VAT.
How To Get One (If You Don’t Have It Already!)
Where a business is registered for VAT, HMRC send out EORI numbers automatically. It’s been reported that the Government is in the process of auto-enrolling around 88,000 VAT-registered businesses that trade frequently with the EU, and would supply them with an EORI number before the 31st October deadline.
Businesses that are not registered for VAT will not receive one automatically. They will therefore need to apply for one if they wish to continue to trade with the EU post-Brexit.
This is a simple process and can be done online on the Gov.uk website (see www.gov.uk/eori). Applicants will usually receive the number immediately; although it may take up to five working days if HMRC need to undertake more checks.
A business which has lost or misplaced its EORI number can contact the EORI helpline online using the contact form on the Gov.uk website at www.gov.uk/eori.