A message from the Business Secretary: Take action now to prepare for new customs processes from 1 January 2021

Please see the following statement from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

There are only two weeks left to get your business ready for new trading rules with Europe, which apply from 1 January 2021. You will no doubt be aware that negotiations on a trade deal are continuing after the UK and EU agreed to go the extra mile to reach an agreement. But regardless of the outcome, everyone in the UK who trades with Europe, or under the Northern Ireland Protocol, will be affected by new rules and there are steps you can take to get ready. I urge you to act now.

You can find out what actions you may need to take by using the checker tool at gov.uk/transition and keep up to date with regular business readiness bulletins too.

In this week's letter I want to focus on actions you and your business can take to prepare for changes to customs declarations from 1 January 2021.

If you buy goods for your business from EU countries and bring them into the UK, or if you sell goods to customers in EU countries, you will need to make customs declarations for your goods from 1 January 2021.

If you plan to trade with businesses in EU countries from 1 January 2021, you need to take these actions now:

When you make customs declarations, you will need to accurately record where goods have come from. If you do not provide the correct information, you may be charged the wrong amount of tax or duty and you may have to pay a penalty.

For businesses moving goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain there is support available to help. I urge you to:

If you’re a VAT registered trader, you will also receive a letter and checklist this week from HMRC to help you prepare for the new trading rules with Europe.

Businesses across the country have made preparations for the end of the transition period, enabling them to take advantage of the new opportunities in 2021. I would like to thank you for all your efforts, given the considerable challenges you have faced this year. With just two weeks to go, it is vital businesses like yours make final preparations to make sure you are ready for the changes and opportunities that 2021 will bring.

Yours sincerely,

Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP
Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

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