Government promises simplified customs procedures in event of no-deal Brexit

Government promises simplified customs procedures in event of no-deal Brexit

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will introduce a simplified importing procedure for businesses trading with the EU should the UK leave without a deal in March.

Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) for customs will allow businesses to transport goods into the UK from the EU without having to make a full customs declaration at the border.

The temporary arrangement will also allow businesses owners to postpone payments on import duties.

To register, businesses require a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, which we’ve highlighted in a previous blog.

EORI numbers are currently used by businesses who trade with the rest of the world (not including the EU). Up until now, agreements between EU member states mean that an EORI number is not required.

However, if the UK were to leave the EU with no deal in place, UK businesses will need to apply the same processes to EU trade that apply when trading with the rest of the world.

If you do not already have a valid EORI number, your business can apply for one here.

Commenting on the announcement, Treasury Minister Mel Stride said: “Leaving the EU with a deal remains the government’s top priority. This has not changed. However, a responsible government must plan for every eventuality, including a no deal scenario. Businesses and citizens should ensure they are similarly prepared for leaving the EU.”

According to Ms Stride, the Government has so far written three letters to more than 145,000 VAT-registered businesses trading with the EU.

She added: “This latest letter, and new GOV.UK guidance, announces Transitional Simplified Procedures for EU trade which will ease the transition, especially for businesses new to the rules associated with importing.”

SMEs: The importance of purpose

SMEs: The importance of purpose

The importance of purpose for the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has been explored in a recent report. It found that a massive 91 per cent said that a vital part of running a successful business is having a clear purpose.

70 per cent – 3.9 million of the total 5.7 million – were driven by a desire to improve their local area and the lives of the customers they serve.

According to 72 per cent of SMEs, their business plays an important role in the community – 30 per cent believe their business is a vital part of community life, and 32 per cent boast bringing jobs and wealth to their local area.

52 per cent of SMEs have stated that their business exists in order to have a positive impact on the lives of their customers.

23 per cent of SMEs were found to support community projects or local charities, while 28 per cent state they provide an invaluable service to more vulnerable groups of individuals.

It is claimed by 26 per cent of SMEs that they want to offer a more cost-efficient service.

Customers appear to appreciate the community spirit of SMEs, a separate report showed that 53 per cent of people prefer purchasing goods or services from companies that share similar values to themselves.

Experts who released the report believe that SMEs are “leading the way” in regards to defining a clear purpose for their business. They went on to express pleasure in regards to how SMEs want to improve the lives of their customers and take their role in the community seriously.

Businesses reminded to take steps to prepare for upcoming payroll changes

Businesses reminded to take steps to prepare for upcoming payroll changes

Business owners in the UK are being reminded to take sufficient measures to prepare their businesses for the upcoming changes to legislation regarding payroll, which will come into force on the 6 April 2019.

The changes to the legislation are being introduced in a bid to improve the transparency around worker’s pay and how it is calculated by employers, and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has published guidance in a bid to help businesses prepare for the changes.

This is the latest tactic from HMRC in their mission to crack down on payroll failings in relation to the National Minimum Wage (NMW), auto-enrolment pension contributions and company bosses wrongly defining workers as self-employed.

The new legislation will require employers to provide payslips to all workers, not just employees and most crucially show fully itemised payslips, with a clear breakdown of hours on payslips where the pay varies by the amount of time worked.

The HMRC guidance outlines that the hours can be shown either as a single total of all such hours in the pay period, or they can be broken down into separate figures for different types of work or different rates of pay. However, it should be clear which pay period they were worked in.

Payslips can be provided through printed or written document or even submitted to the employee electronically, as long as they receive it on or before their payday.

Ahead of the deadline, experts are urging businesses to act now to ensure a smooth transition, as it is believed that many businesses will need to completely revise their current payroll processes to ensure with they comply with the new changes, which could prove to be a time consuming process.