All Posts Blog: Brexit Blog
All Posts Author: Graham Nash

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.

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?


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?

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.

Could a Conservative Parliamentary election victory mean a 'Softer' Brexit & what would this mean for International Traders?

Having called a snap election, the Conservative Party is currently 21 points ahead in the first election poll since the announcement. On news of the election, the pound rose to a six-month high, largely due to speculation that five more years until the next election would lead to a 'softer' Brexit. How would a 'Soft' Brexit effect UK importers and Exporters?

What is CDS and why is it an important part of Brexit?

CDS stands for the 'Customs Declaration Services' programme and is a large scale implementation currently being undertaken by HMRC to replace the CHIEF servers (these are the servers which currently process all import, export & freight declarations). The new CDS system is due to be rolled out in December 2018, but the project has just been given an unofficial amber-red status by HMRC.

HMRC's concern for transit routes

HMRC share thier concerns with software suppliers about potential post-Brexit transit disruption. 

As a software supplier to the import/export industry and as a member of several associations, i2i Infinity often attend meetings organised by HMRC or meetings in which representatives of HMRC are guest speakers.