As we draw closer to the end of the fiasco that is Brexit, with the real possibility of leaving the EU with a no-deal outcome on the 31 October 2019, all businesses need to plan now if they have not already done so.

Brexit is expected to affect every business in the UK in some way and it is going to be essential to be aware in advance what the effects might be on your specific business.

The trouble with Brexit has always been, we don’t know what the playing field is going to look like once we actually light the blue touch paper and leave. However, as no-deal is looking increasingly to be the expected outcome, we can look at what the Government has been doing to get things in place.

A Government report “No-Deal Readiness Report” was published recently (8 October 2019) which sets out in one place what will change if we leave the EU without a deal and what the Government is doing to get ready for Brexit on 31 October.  You can access this report via this link: No-Deal Readiness Report . The report stretches to 159 pages but a skim through might highlight areas that may affect you.

What are the things that businesses should be looking at in preparation for a no-deal Brexit?

Here is a checklist of considerations which the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has put together of areas you might want to consider:

  1. Where will you get more cash, if you need it?
  2. What help do you need to access potential new markets?
  3. Have EU/EEA/Swiss-national employees registered for the settlement scheme?
  4. How would additional customs duties affect your sales and supply chain?
  5. Are you ready for customs? Have you got your EORI number?
  6. Have you registered for simplified import procedures?
  7. How will your principal contracts be affected by Brexit?
  8. Do you receive personal data from the EU/EAA?
  9. How will changes to VAT affect you?
  10. Do your corporate reports reflect Brexit risk?

Perhaps one of the most important issues for businesses is going to be the introductions of tariffs when we leave the free market. This will not only affect you if you buy direct from the EU, but also if anyone in your supply chain does.

The Government introduced in March 2019 the Temporary Tariff Regime (TTR)  – updated 8 October 2019, which states that 88% of goods entering the UK will be subject to ZERO tariffs in the short term. This will be monitored for each industry to see what the affect is and then tariffs may be introduced in the future.

This would seem to be a sensible approach to start with. If you are concerned about any specific product that you purchase from the EU, you can check by following this link The Customs (Tariff Rate Quotas) Regulation.

VAT and Customs Duties is going to complicate the movement of goods into and out of the UK as the borders are closed and free movement ends. You need to familiarise yourself with what will happen and ensure you have signed up to what you need too.

Another issue that may well cause problems will be getting enough seasonal migrant workers to deal with jobs such as harvesting and the like.  I have seen reports of fruit crops rotting in the fields as workers no longer feel happy and safe to come to the UK to work in these jobs.

Hauliers may need to ensure they will be licensed to get through Customs of other Countries.

If you are going to drive in the EU, you may well need to have a specific vehicle licence to drive in another Country.

Business owners will need to consider every area of what they do, internally and externally to try to for see any potential problems they may have. Remember the old business adage: Failing to plan is planning to fail!

Don’t wait until 31 October to think about this, be proactive, be positive and together, we will make Brexit work for the better. There is an awful lot of work to be done by both Government and business before we leap into the abyss which will, of course, take up time and money.

Who knows, we may yet walk away with a last minute deal and everything may change but at this stage – it looks evermore unlikely.

See Also: Preparing your Business for Brexit

Posted by Duncan Forsyth

The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the Author and other professionals may express different views. They may not be the views of Lambert Chapman LLP. The material in the article cannot and should not be considered as exhaustive. Professional advice should be sought in connection with any of the issues contained in the article and the implementation of any actions.

Lambert Chapman Chartered Accountants

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