Most of us have honestly heard enough about Brexit to last us a lifetime. But if you sell crafts using an online platform such as Etsy, then you do need to think a little about how Brexit might affect your business.
If you sell goods to customers in the EU, then you need to be prepared for new customs procedures, and this will include getting an EORI number for your business.
What Is an EORI Number?
EORI stands for an Economic Operator Registration Number. It’s a unique ID code used for a company to track and register customs information in the EU.
An EORI number will be required from 1st January 2021 for any business in the UK who imports or exports goods to and from the EU. It might seem a little daunting, but the process for registering is simple.
Why You Need an EORI Number
As of 1st January 2021, you need an EORI number to sell your products to EU countries. Without this, you could face increased costs and delays. You might end up having to pay storage fees if HM Revenue and Customs are unable to clear your goods, for example.
If you only provide services, you don’t need an EORI number. You also don’t need one to move goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
How to Get an EORI number
You can apply online for an EORI number. The application process takes between five and ten minutes, and you might receive your EORI number straightaway. The website does state that it could take up to five working days if any checks are needed by HMRC.
Before you apply, you’ll need your VAT number (if your business is VAT registered), your National Insurance number if you’re a sole trader or individual, and your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). You’ll also need your Government Gateway login details.
Do I Need an EORI if I Only Sell Digital Goods?
No! You only need an EORI for the movement of physical products. Digital goods in this context count as services.
What Else Do I Need to Know?
There’s no cost to getting an EORI from HMRC. And if you never use it, it doesn’t matter. The same rules apply whether you’re a VAT registered company or a sole trader, or registered as self-employed.
It’s applicable however you do your exporting, either by Royal Mail or courier. If you already trade with EU countries and are VAT registered, you may automatically be issued with an EORI number by HMRC, but you can follow this up with the EORI online support team if you’re not sure.
We certainly can’t be sure what 2021 will throw at us, but this is one way you can prepare your business for the coming year.