HMRC has begun automatically issuing businesses identification numbers for its customs system to allow them to continue trading with the EU in the wake of Brexit
Without a economic operator registration and identification (EORI) number, which identifies a business to customs authorities, UK companies will be unable to continue trading with EU member states after Brexit.
Over the next two weeks, the Revenue will automatically issue EORI numbers to 88,000 businesses not yet registered.
Currently 72,000 VAT-registered UK companies have already registered for an EORI number.
Businesses that have been automatically enrolled will start receiving letters including their EORI numbers from today.
“There can be no time for delay which is why HMRC has allocated thousands of businesses with a trading number to ensure they can continue to trade their goods through Europe from day one,” said chancellor Sajid Javid.
He explained that this was important to “ease the flow of goods at border points”.
In February, HMRC said it would relax the border to EU imports during the first year after Brexit in case of a no-deal in a bid to avoid chaos at ports.
In the past month Javid has injected £344m into border and customs operations as part of a £2.1bn package allocated to government departments to help deal with Brexit preparations.
Earlier this month he wrote to outgoing HMRC CEO, Jon Thompson, imploring the Revenue to redouble its efforts on no-deal Brexit preparation amid concerns over its impact on imports.
Previously, the Public Accounts Committee said it was “concerned and disappointed” in regards to delays in HMRC’s implementation of a new Brexit customs system.
In March, eight days before the previous Brexit deadline, a House of Commons Treasury Committee had expressed astonishment that the government seemed unable to articulate the impact of a no-deal Brexit on businesses.
If you would like further information on EORI numbers, please click here.
By Paul Davis