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Ecommerce Businesses Must Adapt To Brexit Rule Changes

Find out how IRP is working to enable a seamless Brexit transition for it's customers
5 min read

IRP Commerce RnD has been working since the deal was announced to ensure a seamless technical transition to the new rules. The main changes are related to VAT and Shipping and are important for online retailers to understand.

Key changes to UK-EU business

Now that the UK has left the European Union, the agreement between the UK and the EU in now in effect, and brings with it changes that, depending on where your business is located, need to be addressed.

The 'Northern Ireland' protocol means that businesses in Northern Ireland remain in the EU Single Market and Customs Union, whereas Great Britain has left both. The key changes are


  • Selling between GB and the EU, including Ireland, now has some additional requirements which may involve registering for VAT with the relevant tax authorities in each country. We suggest you seek expert advice on this as sales volumes increase.


  • GB retailers may need some additional documentation to be able to ship products into Northern Ireland smoothly. Please consult government resources or seek expert advice to ensure continuing trade with NI customers
  • All shipping between GB and EU, and vice versa, will be affected by new documentation requirements.

IRP Commerce has had a team working since the announcement of the Brexit deal between the UK and the EU to ensure business continuity and working with any relevant third parties to ensure a smooth transition for our clients.

What has happened?

The UK has left the European Union and the transition period after Brexit finishes at the end of 2020. There are new rules for UK businesses from 1 January 2021.

UK ecommerce businesses must prepare now for the changes. There are numerous questions that online UK-based companies may have, for example:

  • Are there any new legal requirements in the European countries that I deliver to?
  • Can I still register or renew an .eu domain name?
  • How do I trade with Ireland?
  • Are there different rules for Northern Ireland?
  • Will my suppliers be affected by the changes?
  • Will the GDPR still apply when we leave the EU?

GOV.UK and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) have provided important guidance and resources to assist you. We've picked out some key areas which all UK-based business owners and ecommerce managers should be aware of.

Make sure you visit the links provided in the sections below so that you read the official guidance, especially as the information will be updated by the organisations as changes occur. You may also wish to seek legal advice.


The eCommerce Directive after the transition period

At the end of the transition period, the eCommerce Directive will no longer apply to the UK. You should begin to prepare for these changes now.

GOV.UK has provided information about the following things you should do before 1 January 2021:

  • Checking whether you are in scope
  • Checking where your service is based
  • Checking for new legal requirements
  • Other recommended steps you can take to prepare for changes

► Read the full guidance from GOV.UK:
The eCommerce Directive after the transition period


Data protection at the end of the transition period

The ICO has provided the following guidance and resources for organisations after the transition period ends:

  • Guidance for SMEs on how to prepare if the UK does not have adequacy at the end of the transition period:
    • Data protection at the end of the transition period for small businesses
    • Keep data flowing from the EEA to the UK – interactive tool
  • Resources to help organisations prepare for the end of the transition period:
    • Guidance for large businesses and organisations and data protection specialists
    • Frequently asked questions about information rights and the end of the transition period

► Read the full guidance from the ICO:
Data protection at the end of the transition period


.eu domain names – what you need to do before the end of the transition period

GOV.UK has provided information about the following things you need to do before the end of the transition period if you hold a .eu domain:

  • Checking your eligibility to register or renew .eu domain names
  • What will happen if you don't meet the eligibility criteria
  • What to do if you no longer meet the eligibility criteria
  • Registering a .eu domain name after the end of the transition period
  • What to do if you've registered top level domains for EU member states

► Read the full guidance from GOV.UK:
.eu domain names – what you need to do before the end of the transition period


IRP technology is for profit-driven businesses

While trading in a new Brexit world may be challenging, it will also open up a slew of opportunities for profit-orientated companies and internationally-minded organisations.

IRP Commerce is uniquely positioned to help such organisations with award-winning technology and a network of performance-rated digital agencies and ecommerce service providers.

  • If you're already an IRP client and have any questions, please contact your Account Manager.
  • If you want to know more about how IRP can benefit your business, talk to us – businesses are adopting IRP technology at a faster rate than ever before.

Additional resources

Here are some additional resources that UK-based businesses may find useful:

Anonymous - Useful...... I think the key changes companies will need to respond to are on VAT
08 Dec 2020 09:36
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