Brexit bulletin, 21 December 2018

Dec 20, 2018

With less than 100 days to go before the UK is due to leave the EU and with no signs that the UK Parliament is any closer to reaching agreement on the withdrawal bill, the European Commission has directed its Member States to get ready for a no-deal Brexit.  Stark  and sobering details of how Ireland is planning for a crash-out were also laid out this week. In the UK, the government have released hundreds of pages of no-deal guidance across several sectors to help businesses and people cope with the grim prospect that an agreement will not be reached.  Chartered Accountants Ireland is advising businesses to make contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit.

Irish government release no deal papers

The Irish Government's contingency plan for a no-deal Brexit was published on Wednesday night.  The document, described as “stark” and “sobering” by Tanáiste Simon Coveney spans over 100 pages and identifies 19 sectors where action will need to be taken if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.  

The papers come directly after the European Commission released no-deal notices warning all Member States to get their borders ready to implement customs checks on goods coming from the UK from 29 March 2019.  For Ireland, in reality this means a return to a hard border on the island.  Customs duties will be applied to imports from the UK at WTO rates and sanitary checks that apply for third countries on animals and animal products among other things will come into effect.  This also means that VAT will apply upfront on imports.  The Institute will continue to call for VAT on imports to be postponed until the next VAT return filing date. 

The Institute this week welcomed the commitment by the UK to remain within the Common Transit Convention which will allow traders to continue to use the UK as a landbridge when shipping goods to Europe, without the need for multiple customs checks.  Read our press statement above.

Some of the plans developed specifically for Ireland to cope with a no-deal Brexit include:

  • Dublin Port and Rosslare Europort are expanding their infrastructure to increase the number of inspection bays and parking for trucks coming off ships. A dedicated border control post for live animals will also be available at both ports.
  • Design work is underway at Dublin Airport to develop facilities for veterinary and forestry checks.
  • Revenue will dedicate 200 extra staff to customs patrols
  • The Central Bank is continuing to work closely with financial services firms to ensure they have contingency plans in place for “worst-case” scenarios which may require a change to their existing business model
  • The European Commission is committed to ensuring the current PEACE programme between the border counties of Ireland and Northern Ireland can continue
  • The Common Travel Area, allowing Irish citizens to work and live in the UK and UK citizens to work and live in Ireland will be maintained
  • A risk assessment is taking place within the pharmaceutical industry with wholesalers to ensure that continuity of supply of medicines will take place.
  • The European Commission will propose measures to enable flights can continue between the UK and Ireland.

For Ireland, the papers state "a no deal Brexit would potentially involve severe macroeconomic, trade and sectoral impacts".  No-deal planning will be prioritised at the Government’s next meeting on 3 January 2019.

The UK’s guidance for a no-deal

In line with what is happening in the EU, the UK government has been issuing technical notes throughout the course of this week on several different issues that will affect businesses and citizens if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.  

For trade with other countries in a no-deal scenario, the UK has said that trade will take place under WTO rules and tariffs.  The UK is currently working on agreeing independent trading schedules with the WTO to determine how trading quotas and tariffs will apply.  

We have highlighted below some of the papers that our members might find useful.

All guidance can be found on gov.uk.

Key Brexit dates ahead

As we come to the end of a very busy 2018 on the Brexit front, ahead of 29 March 2019 we remind readers of some important dates ahead:

  • Week of 7 January 2019 – The UK Parliament will debate the withdrawal agreement
  • Week of 14 January 2019 – The UK Parliament will vote on the withdrawal agreement
  • 21 January 2019 –  Last date that the UK government can present the deal to the UK Parliament if the vote does not go ahead
  • 21-22 March 2019 – next European Council Summit
  • 29 March 2019 – Brexit day

Revenue regional Brexit seminars  - book your place

Revenue will host the following seminars in January to help address the potential customs implications of Brexit and how these challenges can be addressed.  Book by clicking the links below.

If you have a specific topic you wish covered, you can email brexitqueries@revenue.ie outlining the details. 

More seminars will be added subject to demand and the Brexit dedicated page on the Revenue website will be updated with further information as it becomes available.

Institute’s Brexit guidance

As the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looms, members are reminded that the Institute has published a series of Back to Brexit Basics which will help you understand Brexit and its possible implications for you and your business.  The free customs guide Taking the Lead: Chartered Accountants and Brexit prepared by the Institute and ICAEW will also help business in the UK and Ireland get a grasp of customs obligations post Brexit. 

Read all of our Brexit updates and Back to Brexit Basics on the dedicated Brexit section of our website.