If your business transports goods to Northern Ireland, you need to be aware of some significant changes that came into force on 31st July 2023.
Earlier this year, the folks at HMRC sent letters to businesses in Great Britain that have something called an XI Economic Operators Registration and Identification or EORI number. If you got your XI EORI number before September 14, 2021, you need to be aware of these changes.
The HMRC needed to know if you have a permanent business place in Northern Ireland or if you still need that XI EORI number for a few specific customs tasks. Those tasks are like the things you must do when moving goods across borders.
Starting from July 31, 2023, the HMRC has begun to take away XI EORI numbers from businesses that said they don't need them or didn't answer those letters. They're doing this in steps; during August, the move will intensify.
The HMRC is being careful not to mess up the movement of goods. They're taking away the XI EORIs bit by bit over three weeks, and they're always keeping an eye on how things are going.
The HMRC has been working closely with a group called the Trader Support Service (TSS), and they are on hand to help. If they think that your business might be affected, they'll fix the paperwork to make sure everything goes smoothly. That way, there won't be any big problems or confusing error messages.
Now, if your business faces unexpected problems because of all this, you need to tell the HMRC. Just give them a call at 0300 322 9434. They want to help sort out any issues that might come up.
One new rule you must know: If your business wants to be listed as the one making declarations when you bring things into or out of Northern Ireland (or even a country in the European Union), you must get an XI EORI number. That's now a law. But wait, there's more. If you don't have an XI EORI number, you can still move stuff in and out of Northern Ireland. You just must use someone else to help you out. This person or company is called an 'indirect representative'. They must be in Northern Ireland or the EU.
If you figure out later that you need an XI EORI number for some of those customs tasks mentioned, or if you do have a real business place in Northern Ireland, don't panic. You can get your XI EORI number back in just five working days. Just apply for it again at www.gov.uk/eori/apply-for-more.
So, remember, if your business moves goods to Northern Ireland, act now. The HMRC is working through XI EORI numbers, but they're making sure it won't mess up the movement of goods. If you have questions or run into issues, give them a call, and if you need your XI EORI number, you can get it back pretty quickly.