Business should prepare for tariffs as time for a Brexit deal runs short.

Jan 10, 2019

Chartered Accountants Ireland has warned its members not to be complacent about a Brexit political settlement that might not materialise before 29 March 2019.  In a joint statement widely reported in the media, the Chairs of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society and the Chartered Accountants Ireland London Society said that there is no hard evidence that the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, which would avoid a hard Brexit, will be agreed on 15 January at Westminster.

Both societies are advising businesses to prepare for a no-deal Brexit and for the reintroduction tariffs and quotas on imports and exports between the UK and the EU from the end of March.

The Chartered Accountancy bodies also state that they have particular concerns regarding the readiness of the SME sector to deal with these challenges.

Niall Harkin, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society said: “Generally, aside from the agribusiness sectors, it is not the amount of customs duties to be reintroduced that will pose problems for businesses in the UK and NI in particular. 

“Rather it is the disruption which will be caused by customs checking at the borders with the EU and the increased administration that this will bring.  Furthermore, many businesses will encounter a new up-front VAT charge on imported goods which will impact on cash flow.”

Gerry Nicholas, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ireland London Society said: “Chartered Accountants, as business leaders and financial planners and managers, will be at the forefront of dealing with any new trading obligations post Brexit.  We must ensure that businesses will meet any new legal requirements that emerge.

“We are recommending that as a minimum first step, cross-border trading businesses ensure that their business has applied for a UK EORI number required to continue to trade within the EU after 29 March.”

The UK government has released a Partnership pack which covers information on how to prepare for changes at the UK border in the event of a no deal Brexit.  The guide addresses future cross-border trading activity and highlights steps which can be taken to prepare for Brexit.  Chartered Accountants Ireland is publicising this guide.

Chartered Accountants Ireland has also prepared a written guide on how customs operate (and is designed particularly for traders who are dealing with customs for the first time) in conjunction with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and a free copy is available at

In terms of financial services, there are definitive reports of firm’s relocating from the UK to Ireland. We would urge such firms to continue with contingency planning with customers and investors in mind.  Chartered Accountants Ireland is also engaging with the relevant regulatory bodies, the FRC and IAASA, to ensure continued cross-border recognition of its members’ qualification and auditing rights across the island of Ireland after Brexit.

UK businesses can apply for an EORI number online at

This statement was reported in the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish News,  the Irish Times, Newsletter,   Business Eye, the Daily Mail and the Irish Mirror.

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. 

The UK government has provided no-deal guidance on  while the European Commission has 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. 

Read all of our Brexit updates on the dedicated Brexit section of our website.