Customs duties paid by UK businesses rose from £1.6bn in the first half last year to a record £2.2bn in the same period this year, according to an analysis of HMRC data by the Guardian.
Michelle Dale, senior manager at accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, said: “UK businesses weren’t given enough time or help to prepare for the cost of Brexit or the masses of paperwork.
“The result is that the cost of tariffs and extra paperwork is now causing serious difficulties for many businesses who are already struggling to stay profitable in the face of mounting pandemic-induced costs.”
Fergus McReynolds, the director of EU and international affairs at Make UK, which represents the manufacturers, said businesses are still grappling with rules of origin and what import duties are payable on.
“We didn’t actually see the black and white of the text until Christmas Eve, and that didn’t give companies a lot of time to understand the implications,” he said.
“There is some anecdotal evidence that some companies have found the process difficult and in order to continue trading they are taking the option of paying the tariffs for ease of trading,” he added.