Customs is the big challenge for businesses post-Brexit – Chartered Accountants Ireland

May 04, 2017


“The biggest tax challenge arising from Brexit is not corporation tax and income tax or VAT, but customs duties” according to Chartered Accountants Ireland.  The Institute has studied the readiness of businesses engaged in cross-border trade on the island of Ireland in dealing with new Customs obligations.  “If we don’t get this right, it could signal the end of cross-border trade in some industries” said Brian Keegan, the Institute’s Director of Public Policy and Taxation.

Post-Brexit, and without a trade agreement, customs duties will typically add anything between 2% and 50% or even more to the cost of imports and exports between Ireland and the UK.  Even if the outcome of Brexit talks between the UK and the EU results in free trade, there will still be customs controls applied.

Businesses reported little clarity on how the Customs Union might operate following the termination of the Article 50 period.  Many businesses in Ireland have lost or downgraded their customs expertise post 1992 on the introduction of the Single Market.  There were suggestions, particularly from businesses involved in the food processing industry, that delays in clearing customs would for practical purposes eliminate cross-border trade between the North and the South. 

The Institute is providing the findings of this survey to the three main authorities involved with customs administration – the Revenue Commissioners, HM Revenue and Customs and the EU Commission DG-TAXUD.  Chartered Accountants Ireland wants to develop practical solutions to provide:

  • Assistance with the Customs skills deficit among the SME sector
  • Straightforward Customs clearance procedures
  • Funding options for the additional Customs duties, and
  • The preservation of the Common Transit Area which enables goods to be shipped from Ireland to Mainland Europe via the UK without customs penalties.

 The full report

Brian Keegan, Director of Public Policy and Taxation discussed the above survey on Morning Ireland, the RTE Six One News and Nine News yesterday and Highland Radio. The Irish Timesthe Irish ExaminerRTE.iethe Daily Mail and the Independent also covered the survey.


 Reference:  Brian Keegan, Director of Public Policy and Taxation – 087 2347 329

 Notes for editors:

 Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland's largest and longest established professional body of accountants founded in 1888. The Institute currently represents 25,500 members around the world.