HMRC has said that it will relax the border for EU imports in the first year if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. This is in a bid to avoid the anticipated congestion at ports.

HMRC has written a letter to 145,000 businesses registered for VAT assuring them that goods that come from the EU will pass through border checks for up to a year following a no-deal Brexit.

The Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) is aimed at giving businesses enough time to adjust to the usual import processes. Businesses that transport goods from the EU into the UK will not have to make a full customs declaration at the border and they will be able to postpone paying import duties.

Mel Stride, the Treasury Secretary, said that whilst obtaining a deal on Brexit remained the government’s highest priority, “a responsible government must plan for every eventuality, including a no-deal scenario.”

“HMRC is helping businesses get prepared and, amongst other significant communications, has written three times to affected businesses, each time stepping up the advice and encouraging them to take action,” he added.

HMRC has said that it expects that the TSP will need to remain in place for over a year to allow businesses to adjust to the full customs processes that apply to imports from non-EU countries.

The policy will be reviewed three to six months after its introduction and businesses will be consulted with at least a 12-month notice of the TSP being withdrawn.