Update from HMRC - Brexit Readiness

Update from HMRC on Brexit Readiness

In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, our priority is to keep goods moving and avoid delays at the border. As the customs authority, HMRC will act to ensure that border processes are as smooth as possible, without compromising security.

HMRC has made significant progress towards our day one model across IT and systems delivery, resourcing, policy design and the drafting and laying the legislation required to support readiness. A summary of these steps are below:

Business readiness:

HMRC wants to encourage all businesses and individuals to understand what they need to do to get ready for a no deal exit. We are undertaking extensive activity to support them to be able to do so, including:

  • sending over 1.5 million letters and emails to businesses and agents with information helping them prepare their businesses
  • running a series of 'Getting Ready for Brexit' webinars since August for business and agents. More than 15,000 people have attended, with a satisfaction rate of over 70%. HMRC is also supporting webinars for EU based businesses who trade with the UK
  • supporting 35 Government Business Readiness Roadshows nationally across September and October, a further eight trade shows, as well as having hosted two large Brexit-readiness conferences. HMRC has presented at over 100 government and third-party events to support businesses across the UK and EU to take the necessary steps to get ready for no deal
  • publishing hundreds of new or updated pages of guidance on GOV.UK since December to ensure customers have clear instructions on how to prepare


Trader readiness:

HMRC has introduced a number of easements and measures specifically to support businesses moving vital goods and to keep trade flowing across the border. These include:

  • auto-enrolling 88,000 traders for an EORI number – enabling their trading with the EU to continue
  • auto-enrolling 95,000 traders for Transitional Simplified Procedures - to help businesses that are not ready to comply with full customs declarations for imports from Day 1 if we leave the EU without a deal
  • setting up new facilities to support transit movements at six locations to address expected pressure on existing infrastructure
  • launching an importer and exporter hotline for traders with questions about importing, exporting and customs reliefs. Over 3,000 people have used this service
  • supporting traders importing goods by removing the need for checks at the UK border on most goods and removing the need for safety and security declarations on imports for at least 12 months
  • making £31 million available to train customs agents, further enabling the intermediary sector to support businesses. Recognising the important role customs agents play in the system, HMRC has also allowed agents greater authority to make third party customs declarations on behalf of their clients
  • introducing postponed accounting for import VAT, enabling VAT registered businesses to wait until their next VAT return to declare and recover import VAT on goods, helping their cash flow and reducing costs at the point of import.

In addition the UK has successfully negotiated membership in its own right to the Common Transit Convention so that both imported and exported goods can continue to flow across international borders without the payment of duties until they reach their final destination.


Border Readiness:

HMRC has engaged with ports and businesses on how best to meet the demands for increased border checks and processes following the UK’s exit from the EU. HMRC’s approach in the event of a no deal scenario will focus on supporting businesses in meeting their obligations at the border.

The Government has committed to avoiding a ‘hard border’, including any physical infrastructure or related checks and controls at the land border, including no customs requirements for nearly all goods. This means, if there is no deal, HMRC will deliver a customs regime without border infrastructure on Day 1.

In a no deal scenario, HMRC will use inland pre-clearance sites for high risk traders from both the EU and the Rest of the World. We developed temporary solutions to address expected pressure on existing infrastructure for Day 1. These include working closely with Department for Transport and local agencies to expand capacity in Kent, and we have continued to listen to their concerns as part of our ongoing preparation for all EU Exit scenarios to ensure we can minimise the impact on the residences in Kent. 

HMRC is developing an improved infrastructure solution for transit movements in Kent. We will be temporarily operating additional facilities, including the use of Manston Airport, to process transit administration in Kent and Essex to help facilitate trade around the Dover Straits.