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No-deal Brexit scenario: Big changes to customs, imports and VAT

Business Law

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Irish businesses must be preparing now to avoid delays on imports or exports and cash flow issues post-Brexit.

The potential for a no-deal Brexit further complicates the way that Irish organisations that conduct business with the United Kingdom will be impacted by changes to supply chains, cash flow and imports/exports that go through the UK.

The message was echoed by Revenue, which recently warned Irish businesses that trade with the UK that they should act now to ensure they are fully prepared to respond to any challenges presented by Brexit.

“If you are unaware of what you need to do to plan for Brexit and/or have taken no practical steps to prepare for Brexit, then the challenges to your business are real and possibly very significant. Acting now is vital,” stated a recent letter from Ray Ryan of Revenue’s Customs Division.

Post-Brexit, customs procedures will apply to the trade and movement of all goods with and through the UK.

That means that Irish businesses must adhere to the Union Customs Code (UCC), which details what businesses need to do to trade with the UK after it leaves the European Union. This will help to reduce delays and additional costs to their businesses, according to the letter.

The letter further advises that businesses should:

Also recognising the challenges post-Brexit, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) advised Irish businesses that import and/or export goods about how to make customs declarations, ways to make importing easier and outlined changes to VAT.

In a letter to Irish businesses, HMRC Deputy Chief Executive Jim Harra told businesses that they would be responsible for making customs declarations on their UK-EU trade in a no-deal scenario. And, to make importing easier should there be no deal, HMRC is introducing new Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP). Once registered, businesses will be able to transport goods into the UK without having to make a full customs declaration at the border, Harra said.

He also cautioned that the way businesses account for VAT on imports would change and that Irish businesses will be able to pay import VAT in their next VAT return, rather than when the goods arrive at the UK border. Additionally, Harra said that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, certain EU VAT IT systems may not be used after 29 March, 2019.

“We are committed to supporting you and your business through this period of change, helping you to comply and making importing and exporting with the EU in a no deal scenario as easy as possible,” Harra said.

Irish businesses should take action now to reduce any potential delays and additional costs to their organisations post-Brexit. Businesses in need of assistance navigating the challenges Brexit poses should immediately consult with a business law solicitor to identify and prepare for its impacts.


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