Preparing your business for Brexit
By Carol Lynch, Partner, Customs and International Trade Team.

Step 1

Ensure you have a Customs Registration Number – EORI

If you intend to act as an importer from / exporter to the UK and the EU, you cannot do so unless you are registered with Customs. Similarly you will be required to have a UK Customs registration to export from / import to the UK.


Step 2

Establish whether you need to obtain a Deferred Payment Account and, if so, put in place a guarantee provision with your bank to cover the duties that are going to be suspended.

A Deferred Payment Authorisation will allow you to import goods into Ireland from the UK and defer the payment of Customs Duties and Import VAT to the month following import.

If you export to the UK you should also now request a Deferred Payment Authorisation from HMRC.


Step 3

Ensure your tariff classifications are 100% correct and, from this, confirm the duty rates that may be payable.


Step 4

Ensure you have a clearance agent to lodge Customs Declarations on your behalf

A clearance agent will act on your behalf to enter your Import and Export Documents into the Customs System (AEP,Ireland and CHIEF, UK).


Step 5

Talk to your suppliers and customers to confirm who is acting as Importer and/or Exporter of Record for your purchases and sale

They are responsible for the payment of the Import Duties along with customs compliance.


Step 6

If you trade in Agricultural goods, and particularly if those goods are of animal origin, then additional Veterinary checks and certs will be required along with additional time frames for notifying Customs of Imports.


Step 7

Put Together a Customs Procedure Going Forward

As you may now be importing/exporting for the first time it is essential to draft a Customs Procedure to ensure the correct processes are put in place for Importing and Exporting your goods.


Step 8

After completing steps 1-7 you can look to apply for the Authorised Economic Operator (Trusted Trader Customs Authorisation.

This is a complicated process and requires a considerable number of procedures to be in place from both a Customs, IT, Accounting, Logistics and Supply Chain Security perspective.

The average time frame to securing AEO status is 4-6 months in Ireland and 9-12 months in the UK.


In summary we strongly recommend that businesses prepare a customs plan, along with a wider VAT, Tax and Supply Chain plan to ensure any risks of delays are addressed and the relevant procedures are put into effect to enable the efficient movement and clearance of goods.


BDO are currently running weekly sessions from now until the end of March so that businesses can familiarise themselves with the basics of Customs and what you need to do to be ready. 


For more information contact the BDO Customs and International Trade Team at

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