The Irish Revenue is currently undertaking an intensified Brexit engagement program with businesses who trade with the UK, to ensure they are prepared for a potential Brexit no-deal.
Revenue said it will seek to help and support those businesses that will be impacted immediately by Brexit. Revenue is writing to traders outlining the most critical Brexit preparations they should undertake, in addition to having a customs registration, more commonly known as an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number.
Lynda Slattery, Head of Revenue's Brexit Policy Unit, said:
"We are intensifying our engagement with businesses who we expect will be impacted by Brexit. Last year, Revenue wrote to approximately 84,000 businesses likely to be impacted by Brexit based on trading profiles for 2017. We now have trading data for 2018 and are writing out again to offer support and guidance to businesses in preparing for trade with the UK post-Brexit.”
“For many businesses, this will be the second direct, detailed correspondence they will have received from Revenue regarding their Brexit preparations. However, for those businesses who only started trading with the UK in 2018 these letters contain key information regarding the preparation steps they need to take to ensure there is no disruption to their business when the UK leaves the EU."
These letters are just one element of Revenue's comprehensive engagement with businesses in relation to Brexit preparedness. As a result of a range of initiatives, the number of businesses with an EORI number has steadily increased. In 2018, there was a 15% increase in the number of EORI registrations, while more than 7,000 businesses have received an EORI number so far in 2019.
Comprehensive guidance on the impact of a “no-deal Brexit” has been released by the UK Government and the European Commission, and the UK Government has indicated that in the event of a no-deal Brexit it will aim to keep VAT procedures close to what they are now.
However, in such an event there will inevitably be some specific changes to the VAT rules and procedures that apply to transactions between the UK and Ireland.
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According to the UK Government, the most considerable changes will affect cross-border traders. Given that the UK is a significant market for Irish exports — €37bn in goods exported to the UK in 2015 — Ireland is likely to be the most impacted EU state as a result of a no-deal exit.
For UK businesses importing goods from Ireland, the current rules for imports from non-EU countries will apply, with some additional changes.
Irish businesses will be required to treat goods entering Ireland from the UK in the same way as goods entering from other non-EU countries, with associated import VAT and customs duties due when the goods arrive into Ireland.
Lynda Slattery, Head of the Irish Revenue's Brexit Policy Unit, said:
"If you trade with the UK, Brexit will most definitely impact on your business. Every business trading, or intending to trade, with the UK post-Brexit will need to have an EORI number. Getting an EORI is a simple and free online process which is available on a 24-hour basis. Once a business is registered with the Revenue Online Service (ROS), Revenue will process an EORI application in approximately three minutes."
Having an EORI number is just the first step in being able to trade with the UK post-Brexit. Revenue advises that, at a minimum, every business should also:
• Have the facility to make customs declarations or have plans in place for a customs agent to do so;
• Know the origin and Commodity Code of their goods or products; and
• Talk to the person who transports their goods or products to make sure they have the new information they need.