Breaking through Brexit
At Abbey England, we aim to keep our customers as informed as possible of what the Brexit changes will mean for businesses of all sizes.
We will be providing an ongoing roundup of the latest Brexit news, to help us all understand how this will impact our UK and European friends and customers.
(Please note, this article will be updated weekly, or as new information comes to light. We will endeavour to explain how this will affect you!).
(Last updated 08/02/2021)
What we know:
The United Kingdom (UK) successfully secured a Brexit ‘deal’ with the European Union (EU). The new treaty was finally agreed on 24 December, Christmas Eve, and became law in the UK on 30 December 2020.
The UK officially left the EU from the start of last year on 31 January 2020, but this new agreement was concluded just before the UK’s transition period ended at 11pm on 31 December 2020. This marked the final deadline for the UK to reach an agreement with the EU on trade, travel, work and more. Now that it's no longer in the EU, the UK is able to determine its own trade policy, and is currently negotiating deals with other countries including the US, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
What do we currently know about its business impact?
Just over a month has passed since the UK started dealing under the post-Brexit trade deal.
The Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) has reviewed the 1,246-page agreement document, following the unanimous approval of ambassadors of the deal from the 27 nations and the member states. The DExEU has now provided a full analysis of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
Regulations for each individual country must be complied with, rather than previously following one set of rules for dealing with the EU, and there has already been some disruption to businesses whilst these changes are put in place.
What does this mean?
In the UK:
Although the UK will delay making checks for the next six months – in order to help businesses get used to the new system – the EU has already been making checks of goods and paperwork from the start of this year.
Businesses are being encouraged to be prepared and fill in new paperwork correctly, to prevent backlogs and delays at trade ports. In particular, this has resulted in extra paperwork, such as for customs declarations, export health checks, regulatory checks, rules of origin checks and conformity assessments. Some products also require specific labelling, licences and certificates. The BBC has reported that some retailers have begun charging additional costs to cover this paperwork.
It was publicised that the new Brexit ‘deal’ ensured that the UK and the EU can continue to trade without extra tariffs and taxes imposed on imported goods, despite the UK leaving the EU's single market and customs union. However, some customers in the UK have received extra fees when purchasing from EU sellers online, including import tax.
UK VAT costs now apply to all purchases made from the EU. This is either charged at the point of purchase if the value is below £135, or for goods priced over £135, the UK buyer is charged the VAT once it reaches their country but before the item can be delivered to their door. These products may also be charged additional customs duty of up to 25%, if all or some of the product was made outside of the EU.
International retailers selling goods to the UK now have to register for UK VAT and declare any sales of £135 (€150) or less to the HMRC, to avoid facing additional charges or their goods being denied importation.
In Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland:
One of the main concerns about the impact of the Brexit negotiations was the possibility of a ‘hard border’ being created between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, with checkpoints.
Although this has been avoided, there are concerns that a regulatory ‘soft border’ has been created instead. Some deliveries from the UK to Northern Ireland have been delayed due to the new obligatory customs inspection checks, as part of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
This is affecting all UK businesses which ship goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and is irrespective of the business's size.
As a result of Northern Ireland remaining in the EU’s single market for goods, it will continue to follow EU customs rules at ports, with no controls on exported products between Europe and Northern Ireland. However, most goods which travel from England, Wales or Scotland to Northern Ireland now require a customs declaration.
In response to these changes, some retailers have increased the price of their products and shipping costs, due to the higher raw material costs they are facing, and some businesses have stopped making sales to Northern Ireland.
The BBC reports that the UK government has called for a temporary lighter enforcement of the rules to be extended until early 2023.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, travel from the UK is not currently permitted to the EU, unless for essential reasons. However, from January, UK nationals will also need a visa if they want to stay in the EU more than 90 days in a 180-day period. The exception to this is travelling to a Schengen area country – guaranteeing unrestricted travel across 26 countries (including most EU nations and Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein). At least six months should be left on a passport before travelling, except when visiting Ireland.
The UK and Spain have also agreed for the border between Gibraltar and Spain to remain open, removing controls between Gibraltar and the Schengen area. This will help to prevent queues at the border.
With many EU companies now facing higher shipping costs, increased paperwork and tax charges in order to deliver to the UK, a number of online retailers are currently no longer sending goods to the UK.
Several international shipping companies are now including additional charges on shipments between the UK and the EU, and also if products need to be returned for failing to comply with new legislation.
How has this affected Abbey England?
There has already been disruptions at both sides of the ‘borders’ between the UK, Ireland and Europe. This has been causing untold delays, which we at Abbey England have also been affected by.
We are doing everything we can to ensure that your orders are processed and delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible, making sure that everything is in compliance with the new Brexit regulations.
While we are still maintaining our dedicated ‘business as usual’ approach to every order, we please ask for patience at this time. We apologise for any delay which your business may have already faced, we reassure you that we are trying to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.
If you have any questions about your order, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
How does this affect you?
Although the EU and UK seem to be aligned for now, there is no guarantee that this will remain so in the future.
- Use the Brexit checker tool for a personalised list of actions to help your business continue to run smoothly.
- If your goods are transferred through Northern Ireland, review the latest Northern Ireland Protocol guidance.
- From 1 January 2021, all parcels must have an invoice attached, marked ‘Delivered at Place’ (DAP). This indicates to the courier that the recipient of the goods is responsible for paying the import tax.
- To ensure tax is calculated correctly, we have changed our invoicing format. Your invoice will now provide the courier with the correct commodity codes and country of origin.
- UK VAT will no longer be added to orders.
What we need from you:
- To export goods to your country, we need your EORI number. Please provide it to us by email ([email protected]) as soon as possible.
- Your updated mobile number so the carrier can contact you.
- We will be using our social media channels to share updates, as and when we receive them from our government. Please follow us to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.
Keep checking back for more updates on the impact of Brexit for our customers as we continue to learn more.