A Maker's Guide to Brexit

Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

If you are a maker, we understand that this may be an uncertain time for you and your craft business in light of Brexit. We have created this guide and list of resources to prepare you ahead of this potential change in business landscape.

Please note that the below information is subject to change, visit the UK Government’s website to keep updated.

Products & services to EU customers

If you provide products or services such as commissions to customers based in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and/or Switzerland after Brexit, additional steps may need to be taken in order to continue doing business in these countries.

As an independent business, you may face additional legal and administrative barriers, including meeting trade regulations. It is important to check the national regulations of the country you are doing business in to understand how to maintain your services. Read the UK Government’s Selling Services guides to each country for more information.

If Brexit is to take place, it is possible UK businesses will no longer be treated as if they were local businesses. Services provided by UK businesses and professionals will be regarded as originating from a third country.

The UK will also no longer operate under the European Economic Area (EEA) regulations for the cross-border trade in services if there is a no-deal Brexit. This means that the rights and protections provided by the EU Directives and EU Treaty rights of freedom of movement and freedom of establishment will no longer apply to the UK.

Ensure you update any contracts or terms and conditions to reflect this change. Your International Terms and Conditions of Service (INCOTERMS) reflect that you are now an importer/exporter.


Selling items

After Brexit, you will not be able to sell goods to the EU without an EORI number, which starts with GB. An EORI number is a European Union registration and identification number for businesses which import or export of goods in or out of the EU.

Without an EORI number, you may have increased costs and delays. For example, if HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) cannot clear your items, you may have to pay storage fees.

You can apply for an EORI number through submitting a short form through the UK Government’s website.


Selling/Showcasing in and out of the EU

If you are showcasing your work outside of the UK, perhaps at a craft and design fair such as Révélations or Tresor, it is important to check which customs procedures you need to follow in order to take craft items in and out of the EU for business.

You will need to declare goods imported into the UK by submitting a customs declaration. Once the goods have been cleared by HMRC, you’ll need to pay any duty and tax owed.

If you are an existing authorisation holder of trading goods with the rest of the world, as well as the EU, and registered for VAT you can account for import VAT (for importers who are not registered for VAT) on your next VAT Return.

However, if you are not an authorisation holder or registered for VAT, you can apply through the UK Government’s website. You must register your business for VAT with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if your VAT taxable turnover is more than £85,000.

Please note, this guidance does not apply to importing or exporting goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

If you use a customs agent to import, you can use the customs freight simplified procedures. If you’re not authorised to use the customs freight simplified procedures but still want to benefit from it, ask a customs intermediary (who has HMRC authorisation) to use the procedure on your behalf. You’ll need a duty deferment account and will still be liable for any customs duty, excise duty or VAT due.

If you do not use a customs agent to import you can use either a new transitional simplified procedure, or customs freight simplified procedure.

If you move goods across multiple borders, you can use one of the following: transit, consignor status or consignee status. You can read more information on Gov. website and the Visiting Europe before Brexit guide.


Accessing support

You can apply for the Brexit Support Grant if you require funding to help your business with Brexit planning. Funded by the Scottish Government, the Brexit Support Grant provides a minimum of £2,000 and a maximum of £4,000 to help small to medium-sized enterprises in Scotland manage a wide range of Brexit impacts.

The grant can be used to finance an activity that would otherwise not take place without the grant (and has not already started), or an activity with a start date after the Scottish Government receive a signed contract confirming you accept the terms of the approved grant. It can also be used to claim back costs of a project only if you can finance 100% of the project costs upfront.

Visit PrepareForBrexit.scot to see if you are eligible to apply.


Data transfer and GDPR

UK businesses may need to make changes if they operate across the EEA or exchange personal data with partners in the EEA. You do not need to take action to keep sending personal data from the UK to the EEA (or the 13 countries deemed adequate by the EU) after Brexit.

Read this guide on using personal data after Brexit and consider what additional GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) safeguards must be put in place if you receive personal data transfers in the UK from an EEA country.

All businesses should review privacy information and internal documentation to identify any details that will need updating when the UK leaves the EU.


Other resources:


You can find additional support and advice on our Maker Community section too, our free listings section is regularly updated with Organisations to Know, maker training opportunities, resources and more, to help you to develop a sustainable practice.

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Veronique  AA Lapeyre
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