Today (8 April 2019), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announced that the deadline for applications for an £8 million government initiative to help businesses prepare for EU Exit has been extended to 31 May 2019.

This will enable more businesses to benefit from the investment available and provide more time for applications.

The funding will support customs intermediaries and traders completing customs declarations, and can be used to help businesses meet the costs of employee training and IT improvements.

Treasury Minister Mel Stride MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

We are doing everything we can to get businesses ready for the UK leaving the EU, however businesses also need to take action themselves to prepare.

There is help available - we have provided funding to support businesses with customs processes, and we are now extending the deadline to 31 May 2019 giving more time for applications.

We have already received over 300 applications, and I’d urge businesses to apply as soon as possible to avoid missing out.

The grant funding builds upon the ongoing efforts of HMRC to get businesses ready for EU Exit, including having written several letters to 145,000 VAT-registered businesses that trade with the EU to advise them how to prepare for a no deal scenario, and publishing more than 100 pages of guidance for businesses on processes and procedures at the border in a no deal scenario.

Further information

All businesses who move goods into or out of the EU – even if it’s just once a year – need to take action including getting an EORI number and understanding what declarations they need to make.

In October 2018 HMRC and HMT announced an £8 million fund to help businesses prepare for a no deal scenario. The £8m funding was broken down into:

  • £2 million to fund training for intermediaries and traders completing customs declarations (or intending to complete customs declarations in the future). The grant will provide funding for up to 50% of the cost of training staff
  • £3 million in IT improvement funding, available to small and medium sized employers in the customs intermediaries sector currently completing customs declarations on behalf of importers and exporters. The grant will fund investment in packaged software that increases the automation and productivity of completing customs declarations
  • £3 million was invested to increase training provision. HMRC provided the funding to service provider Knowledge Pool which is engaging with training providers to increase the number of courses available in the short term, as well as investing in the development of new courses which will be available over the coming months to support customs broker training
  • in March, HMRC announced that in the event of no deal, importers using Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) can postpone doing customs declarations for 6 months from the date the UK exits the EU. This funding gives people time to apply and become comfortable in doing these declarations

Who can apply

Training grant

To apply for the training grant, your business must either:

  • complete customs declarations for yourself or someone else (or intend to in the future)
  • import from, or export to the EU and complete customs declarations (or intend to complete customs declarations in the future)

IT improvements grant

To apply for the IT improvements grant, your business must:

  • currently complete customs declarations for importers and exporters
  • have 250 employees or fewer
  • have an annual turnover of less than €50 million

The types of funding available

There are 2 different grants that you can apply for to help your business complete customs declarations:

  1. a training grant to help your employees to complete customs declarations and processes
  2. an IT improvements grant to help your business complete customs declarations more efficiently

Where you can apply

Online applications must be received by 31 May 2019. We advise applying as soon as possible, as it may be that applications close earlier than this date, dependent on uptake.

We encourage applicants to check the guidance carefully and submit all of the relevant information to ensure applications can be processed as quickly as possible

Businesses can apply for both the training and IT grants. The IT grant is only available to current customs intermediaries with 250 employees or less and an annual turnover of £50 million or less.

PWC is administering the grants on behalf of HMRC. If you want to apply for funding, please apply online – do not contact HMRC.