All Posts Blog: Brexit Blog

The UK exit from the EU and VAT implications

The basics

If you make taxable supplies (standard rated, reduced rated or zero rated), you have to account to HMRC for the VAT due. This is output tax. You’ll normally charge the VAT to your customers. If your customers are registered for VAT and the supplies are for use in their business, the VAT is their input tax. In the same way, VAT charged to you on your business purchases is your input tax. As a registered person, you can reclaim from HMRC as much of the VAT on your purchases and imports, as relates to the standard rated, reduced rated and zero-rated supplies you make. In principle, you can’t reclaim VAT which relates to any non-business activity or to any exempt supplies you make.

What is a Customs Union?

At its simplest, a Customs Union comprises a single external tariff, applied by all Union Members, used to charge duty on goods imported into the Union. A Customs Union removes customs duties on trade between Members on all goods that are either produced within the Union or on which import duties have been paid. Internal border controls subsequently disappear and Customs Officers are then found only at the Union’s external borders. They not only keep trade flowing, but help, for example, to protect the environment, cultural heritage, and protect jobs by combating counterfeiting and piracy.

Export declarations will not be ready by June - CDS (Customs Declaration Service) update

We posted a blog last year on the HMRC project to upgrade the ageing CHIEF system which handles import and export declarations, detailing how this project has taken on extra significance in the face of Brexit.


Since then we have attended several CDS workshops with the project stakeholders, several association meetings and started developing the required changes in our own software. We now understand the ability to process export declarations will now not be ready by the July go-live, but with the new Brexit transition agreement, how will this effect you?


Brexit - You don't know what you don't know, but don't wait!

The UK leaving the European Union (EU), once materialised, will bring a brand new scenario for both the UK and the EU. From a Customs point of view this presents a number of challenges and opportunities to modernise Customs, commerce and logistics in line with international guidelines and best practice. Among many other implications, this means an increase in the volume of Customs declarations, impacting both UK business and government (HRMC).

What does the Brexit transition deal mean to UK importers & exporters?

Today the UK & the EU have agreed a Brexit transition period, beginning on 29th of March 2019 (Brexit day as laid out under article 5) ending on the 31st of December 2020.

The deal, which needs to be ratified in October, is designed to smooth the path to future arrangements and avoid the potential 'cliff edge', but what does the deal mean for importers and exporters in the UK?

Getting real about risk when trading with Third Countries outside the EU

More than 50% of UK business involves trade. And when the dust finally settles on Brexit, one thing seems certain: more of it will be with non-EU countries. 

So what does it entail from a risk point of view? And how should small businesses plan for this brave new world? 

Peter Quintana, director of the High Growth Knowledge Company put this to a panel of leading business people at our recent International Business Round Table hosted in association with Bluefin Insurance, Milsted Langdon and Royds Withy King. They broke the risk down into two areas – financial risks and physical risks.

Brexit Preparation Guide (2) - Customs Export Declarations

On the 15th of August the Government released their policy paper 'Future Customs Arrangements: a future partnership paper' on proposed customs arrangements with the EU post-Brexit. They proposed a 'limited-time interim period' where both UK and EU business would benefit from time to fully implement the new customs arrangements, in order to avoid a cliff-edge.

The document identifies two broad approaches to a border with the EU. The first approach 'a highly streamlined customs arrangement' involves utilising the UK’s existing third country processes (NES export declarations to HMRC) for UK-EU trade. The second approach 'a new customs partnership with the EU' would seek to align customs with the EU in a way that removes the need for a UK-EU customs border. 

On the surface, option one seems the most likely of these two options and would certainly be the fallback position, should the 'alignment approach' fail. Under this scenario port infrastructure would look to be improved for 'as frictionless a customs border as possible', but Export and Import goods would need to be declared to HMRC, as per current third country rules.

HMRC has estimated there are 192,000 exporters in the UK who ship goods to EU countries, but have never shipped outside the EU to third countries. If your company fits into this category, read the guide below to find what you would need to do to declare goods for export.

Brexit Preparation Guide - Supply Chain Mapping

Supply chain between the UK and Europe is an area that will be greatly affected over the coming years by the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

Though the exact nature of the changes will not become apparent for some time, mapping supply chains can help companies understand both the risks and the opportunities these changes might bring.

Whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations, it is wise to start that planning now, to ensure you remain competitive in the changing market. Early and effective scenario planning combined with analysis of the potential consequences of a post-Brexit economy might even improve your position.