Following a Brexit outcome of any kind (either no deal or with a withdrawal agreement) ALL businesses that import or export goods within the European Union (EU) will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. EORI numbers are issued by the UK in order to clear goods through customs.
If you are trading below the UK VAT threshold and aren’t VAT registered, you will still need to register for an EORI number if you want to trade with customers and suppliers in EU member states. Even if you do not need one immediately, you may need one in the future so it is worth considering whether this applies to you or not.
What is an EORI number?
EORI numbers are a unique ID number allocated to businesses enabling them to be identified by customs authorities when doing business with other traders. These numbers are currently used by businesses who trade with countries outside of the EU. Businesses that currently only trade within the EU will not be familiar with the EORI system as it is currently not needed when goods cross borders between EU countries.
An EORI number has 12 digits and if the business is VAT registered the EORI number will incorporate its VAT registration number. However, if you are not VAT registered you will still need an EORI number after 31 October 2019.
The EORI number needs to be quoted in documentation such as customs declarations and clearances and is used by customs systems as an identifier.
If your business imports or exports goods, then it will need an EORI number. It doesn’t matter about the size of the business undertaking this trading – sole traders, partnerships or larger companies will all need one. Therefore, even if you are not VAT registered you will still need a number.
How to register for an EORI number
To apply for an EORI number, you need to complete an online form that’s submitted to HMRC using your Government Gateway account.