It’s time to get ready for Brexit

Sep 02, 2019
Brexit Day is around the corner and, whatever the outcome, it’s time to prepare ourselves for the changes ahead.

Words by Cróna Clohisey

As Brexit Day – 31 October – fast approaches, the Institute is encouraging businesses across Ireland and the UK that they need to ensure they can continue to trade with each other post-Brexit. Applying for a customs registration (an EORI number) is only the first step in the process.  

While some traders have experience in the customs formalities required to import and export outside of the EU, it will be a first for many, particularly for smaller enterprises. Businesses should use the time between now and 31 October to upskill in the area of customs. There are various government supports to help do this. 

Latest registration statistics from Revenue and HMRC suggest that thousands of small traders on the island of Ireland have not applied for an EORI, and these are the businesses that will be most affected by Brexit. Getting an EORI number takes anything between three and five minutes and is completed online.

Businesses also need to assess whether or not they have gaps in customs knowledge that could prevent them from completing customs returns and declarations necessary to keep goods moving. 

Regardless of whether customs duties apply, to move goods between Ireland and the UK and the UK and the EU, customs declarations must be submitted to Revenue and HMRC respectively. Traders will need to have customs expertise and software to file these declarations, or they will need to hire an agent to do this on their behalf. It’s important to remember that tax authority officials will check that the proper declarations are in place and goods will be detained at ports and borders if they are not. 

Revenue estimates that customs declarations are expected to increase from 1.4 million to 20 million per year once the UK leaves the EU. HMRC estimate that declarations will grow five-fold to around 250 million. It’s best to not be caught unprepared on 
31 October.