Whilst many of our previous articles on importing and Brexit have touched on Northern Ireland, we haven’t yet provided a full guide. Northern Ireland has been a point of confusion for many traders since Brexit as the rules of importing and exporting from the country are unique. The continued dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol, which we covered earlier this week, is adding further uncertainty for sellers. Despite the presence of some specific rules for specific products are extremely complex, there are some basic rules that you need to be aware of when trading in or out of Northern Ireland. Here’s an outline of these rules and how to apply them to your operations.

You Will Need An XI EORI Number When Trading With Or In Northern Ireland

If you are moving goods to or from Northern Ireland you will need an XI EORI number rather than a GB EORI number in order to ensure that these transactions can be separated from UK transactions.

If you are unsure what an EORI (Economic Operator and Registration Identification) number is, you can find our article on the topic here. In brief, it is an identification number that you will need to get goods through customs. Through this number, the HMRC are able to keep track of all your transactions.

Usually, British sellers would have one that begins with GB. However, you will need to obtain a ‘XI’ one in order to move goods to and from Northern Ireland. This number must be present on all your relevant customs forms. The HMRC should have automatically given a code to all traders they believed would need one. If you need one and have not already received one you should contact the HMRC.

Where Is VAT Due When Trading With Northern Ireland?

This is another issue that traders have faced when it comes to dealing with the Northern Ireland Protocol since Brexit. Depending on who is buying the products and where the buyer is located will change the VAT implications.

Northern Ireland & GB

If the goods or services are moving between the UK and Northern Ireland they are still considered to be UK domestic transactions. Thus, the VAT is owed to the UK. This also includes B2B transactions.

Northern Ireland & EU

In the case of Northern Ireland and the EU the transactions of goods and services are considered to be intra-community transactions, just like with any other two EU member states.

The above is the result of the dual status that Northern Ireland enjoys as a result of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

What Is The Northern Ireland Protocol?

In brief the Northern Ireland protocol was the mechanism employed by both the EU and UK in the Brexit negotiations in order to protect the Good Friday Agreement. Essentially, the agreement attempts to allow Northern Ireland to be considered both inside the UK and the EU simultaneously.

You can find more information on the Northern Ireland Protocol and the Good Friday in our last article. As the issue is still being debated by the UK and the EU, it is unclear how the result of discussions will affect the way traders will have to trade with Northern Ireland.

Trader Support Scheme

The trader support scheme is an initiative that has been set up to support you with navigating the Northern Ireland Protocol. The Trader Support Service can help your business adapt to the changes. The service is free to use and offers comprehensive education, training and advice about the changes to the way your goods move under the Northern Ireland Protocol.

It can complete customs and safety and security declarations on your behalf where these are required for movements between Great Britain and Northern Ireland so you do not have to access HMRC systems directly.

The service can be invaluable to traders, and you can sign up for the trader support scheme here.

How Can We Help?

If you are a business who participates in cross border ecommerce, or exporting of any kind, we would be more than happy to help you register for UK VAT, the UK VAT deferral scheme, gain an EU, UK and XI EORI number, file your UK and EU VAT returns, and help you comply with VAT in case your account faces any issues.

At J&P, helping your business is our passion, and we understand that companies across the UK are at risk now more than ever. We are here to support you through Brexit, so please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0161 637 1080 or send an e-mail to enquiries@jpaccountant.com.