2020 was a challenging year for businesses of all sizes, and with a Brexit trade deal now agreed, there is a lot of information for business owners to source and absorb.
The challenges of adapting to Brexit remain largely unknown, and this is likely to be the case for a while to come as we all have to learn to be reactive to continual changes and a completely unknown scenario. But for now, in this article we look at four post-Brexit considerations, for SMEs.
1. Domain names
You are no longer able to register or renew your .eu domain names if your business is established in the UK rather than the EU, or if you live outside the EU/EEA and are not an EU/EEA citizen.
This is something worth considering when setting up your businesses site, and If your business holds a .eu domain, you should check if you need to replace it. You should check with your developers and refer to government information, to ensure this doesn’t affect you if you are concerned.
2. Moving goods in and out of the EU & paying VAT
One of the biggest concerns for small businesses will be the ability to continue trading in EU countries.
To do this, you need to apply for an EORI number, which is a unique ID code that starts with ‘GB’ that’s used to track and register customs information in the EU. Even if you have one already, you may need to update it, so it’s worth checking. The reason that this is worth doing is that you may face delays or other issues if you need to move good out of the UK.
VAT laws were a major point of contention during Brexit negotiations, and one change that is noteworthy is the need to complete a customs declaration when exporting goods to the EU, just like to the rest of the world. UK-based online sellers of goods to consumers in EU countries will no longer be able to declare and pay VAT via their UK VAT return in countries where they are below the annual distance selling threshold.
Speaking generally, the government indicated that they are going to keep their current VAT system and won’t deviate too much from what we experienced before Brexit. However as this is a new and changeable situation, it is still advisable to stay up to date with any changes. Here is a handy resource to do so.
3. Travelling to EU countries for work
The government made it clear that you should have at least six months left on your passport if you’re planning on travelling to EU countries. Further, if you need to travel to the EU for work, you may need a visa or work permit. The country you are travelling to might also ask you to have other additional documents depending on what you plan to do there.
Another notable change is that the end of freedom of movement that came with the completion of the Brexit transition period means that unlimited business trips to the EU are no longer possible. If frequent business trips are necessary, you may need to reconsider your business plan, and look to hold more virtual meetings and calls to ensure you are still communicating with clients or contacts, but with less travel.
To be on the safe side if you do need to travel, some advice would be:
- Check the entry requirements and travel advice of the country you’re visiting
- Tell HMRC you’re working in the EU
- Check if you need indemnity insurance for employees
Here you can read the government’s latest advice on visiting Europe post-Brexit.
4. UK qualification recognition
If you have a professional qualification such as a BCS or CMI accreditation and wish to work with clients in the EU, you’ll need to have your qualification officially recognised by the appropriate regulator for your profession in each country where you intend to work. This could be important if qualification credibility is a foundational part of your business ethos, and/or a certain level of accreditation is expected of you internationally.
If needed, more information can be found here on the gov.uk site.
In Need Of Brexit Advice For Your Small Business?
The Brexit trade deal commits the UK and EU to provide advice to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as laid out in this government document. So as a business owner you shouldn’t be worried about sourcing the right advice and help for your unique circumstances.
The best advice we can give is to keep up to date with the latest Brexit updates. All up to date information regarding the Brexit transition can be found on the Government website. There is also helpful information and advice available through the Federation of Small Businesses and Enterprise Nation.
If you are interested in creating a business plan that addresses your next steps as a business, contact us.
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