What is an EORI number? - Does Brexit mean I'll need one?

12 September 2019 Abdul Kaleel VAT, Business Taxes

Post Brexit, UK businesses that import / export across the EU are likely to need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) Scheme number in order to move those goods.  Failure to act could lead to costs and delays.

What is an EORI Number?

An EORI number is a unique identifying number assigned to individual importers and exporters to track trade between the EU and non-EU countries.  Historically, UK companies have only required an EORI number if goods have been imported / exported outside the EU.  Goods moving between EU countries have not required one. 

However, as the UK prepares to leave the EU, UK businesses will need an EORI number to move goods to / from the EU as well as to countries outside of it.

In the absence of an EORI number the process of filing customs declarations could be disrupted, which could result in a delay to trading activities.

The UK Government estimates that approximately 240,000 businesses in the UK currently trade with the EU and have automatically issued 88,000 VAT registered businesses with EORI numbers, in addition to the 74,000 that had already applied for them.  Many more will already have one because they currently trade with non-EU countries.  However, there is a significant number that have not yet acted, and failure to do so could lead to increased delays in the release of goods through Customs, and additional costs such as warehousing fees.

Businesses will need an EORI number that starts with GB to move goods in or out of the UK if there’s no Brexit deal. If you already have an EORI number that starts with GB, you can continue to use it. It will be 12 digits long, and if you’re registered for VAT it will include your VAT registration number.

If your company is registered for VAT, it may have already been issued an EORI number automatically by HMRC. You can check if your company EORI number is valid easily by checking it in the EORI number validator.

How to apply for an EORI Number

You can apply for an EORI number by using your HMRC Government Gateway account (the same one you’ll use to submit your company tax returns).  

VAT remains one of the least understood of all taxes, which is why Shorts created a specialist VAT advisory department, to help businesses through the complex maze of VAT legislation.  Our team help with all areas of VAT from relatively basic issues such as initial registration, EORI applications, the completion and submission of VAT returns and advice on how to correct errors and mistakes, through to more complex issues such as assessments, control visits, cross border transactions and DIY house builds.  

Whatever your VAT query; why not get in touch, and discuss any concerns you may have with a member of our team.

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