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Grant funding announced to support businesses trading with the EU

*This article was updated on 15 April 2021 regarding who will be able to apply.*

In February, the Government revealed a new £20 million ‘SME Brexit Support Fund’ designed to help small businesses with changes to trade rules with the EU post-Brexit.  Whilst not solely relating to VAT, the recently announced Fund will provide grants of up to £2,000 to eligible businesses for the purposes of obtaining professional advice, including VAT Training.  Eligible businesses are those who import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU, or move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The fund, which opens for applications on 15 March 2021, will be administered through the pre-existing Customs Grant Scheme, in order to help businesses prepare for the new import controls that come into force in April and July as detailed in the Border Operating Model

What can the grant be used for?

The grant can be used to help businesses secure professional advice in order to meet its import VAT, customs and excise, or safety and security declaration requirements, including:

  • Specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin
  • How to complete customs declarations
  • How to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems.

Who will be able to apply?

In order to qualify for the grant, businesses must:

  • Be established in the UK
  • Have been established in the UK for at least 12 months before submitting the application, or currently hold Authorised Economic Operator status
  • Not have previously failed to meet its tax or customs obligations
  • Have no more than 500 employees
  • Have no more than £100 million turnover
  • Only import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU, or move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. If you already import or export goods from or to a non-EU country you are not eligible for this grant.

Businesses must also either:

  • Complete or intend to complete import or export declarations internally for its own goods
  • Use someone else to complete import or export declarations but requires additional capability internally to effectively import or export (such as advice on rules of origin or advice on dealing with a supply chain).

How to apply?

Applications can be made online here. The application process will close on 30 June 2021, or earlier if all funding is allocated before this date. Eligible businesses are therefore encouraged to apply early.

Further information and details of how to claim can be found here.

The full government guidance can be read here.

You can read more about VAT and Brexit here.

If we can assist you with your VAT training requirements please do not hesitate to contact Alison Birch.

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