EORI number and what it means for your business

Brexit will mean a lot of changes for many businesses especially for those who import or export goods outside of the UK, these businesses may now be required to have an EORI number to deal with customs on these goods. The Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) Scheme is an EU initiative that helps traders communicate with custom officials when they are importing and exporting goods and an EORI number is currently required when trading with countries outside the EU. Should the UK leave the EU with no deal, UK businesses that import or export physical goods with other EU countries will be required to have an EORI number to continue doing so. However, if your business is only involved in the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland then you will not be required to have an EORI number.

HMRC are currently automatically issuing EORI numbers to VAT registered businesses, it will be 12 digits long and will contain the businesses UK VAT number, however micro businesses will still be required to register themselves. If your business needs to apply for an EORI number it is a straightforward process that can be completed by searching ‘apply for EORI’ at gov.uk, you will then require the following information:

– VAT number and effective date of VAT registration
– National Insurance Number – if you are a sole trader
– Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
– Business start date and SIC code for registered companies
– Government Gateway user ID and password

Once you have completed the application process, HMRC will either issue you with your number straight away or within 5 working days if further checks are needed.

If your business already has an EORI number that starts with GB you will be able to continue to use this post Brexit.

Businesses that will be required to use their EORI number will use it in all dealings with custom officials of the EU country involved. The number will need to be included on all pre-arrival and pre-departure documents on goods that are entering or leaving the UK.

In the event of a no deal Brexit businesses that are trading goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland are currently not required to have an EORI number and will not need to pay Customs Duty or make customs declaration. These businesses will instead be required to account for import VAT on goods coming from Ireland into Northern Ireland, with the exception of goods that are already liable to Excise Duty such as alcohol, tobacco and certain oils. There will be no new requirements or checks on goods that will move between Northern Ireland and Great Britain and there will be no Customs Duty on goods that move from Ireland to Great Britain via Northern Ireland if they are for commercial reasons. HMRC have said that they will soon be publishing further guidance on the importing process that will need to be followed in this case.

For further information on Brexit and how it may affect the importing and exporting of goods to countries in the EU please visit gov.uk or nibusinessinfo.co.uk for the most up to date information.

Emma Boyle