Who do you trade with? By Angela Keery, Tax Director at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore

Time for businesses to refocus on Brexit

Earlier this year most of us moved from considering Brexit to battling Covid-19 and all of the ways it has impacted business in Northern Ireland, relegating any Brexit planning to “another day”. However, now that we have started to see some Covid-19 relaxations introduced and many businesses are figuring out how they get back to work, part of getting back to work has to be bringing Brexit planning back into focus. Unfortunately, we have found that the planning that most businesses will have undertaken previously was before the Withdrawal Agreement, and the NI Protocol, and therefore much of it will need to be revised.

We all know that we are in a transition period to 31 December 2020,  and that from 01 January 2021 we will be in a different regime whether we trade with Great Britain (GB), EU or the Rest of the World (ROW) – but do you really understand what it means for your business?

The UK Government and the EU are continuing discussions on what their future relationship will look like. There are many aspects to that, not least a potential Free Trade Agreement, the practical implementation of the NI Protocol, law enforcement and security, aviation standards, licensing and regulation of medicines, to name a few.

Whilst there are still issues for UK and EU to work through, and unfortunately some of the practical details are absent, we know the high level implications of trading with GB and ROW, whether that be bringing goods in from or exporting goods to GB and ROW post Brexit. Trade is going to involve new processes and systems that businesses will need to have in place. In addition to meeting the compliance requirements post Brexit, you may find that there is requirement or an opportunity for you to rethink how your business operates to maximise its potential – or minimise the disruption around Brexit.

The Government has now announced a £200 million investment for NI, in a new free-to-use Trader Support Service (TSS) to assist businesses with these new processes in moving goods between GB and NI.

Goods moving NI-GB

The UK Government say that they will guarantee in legislation unfettered access for Northern Ireland’s businesses to the rest of the UK internal market – trade will continue as it does now for qualifying NI goods and NI Businesses. There is still work to do in determining the qualifying status of NI goods and NI Businesses – and further information should be provided on this later in the year.

Goods moving GB-NI

New processes will be required for goods moving from GB to NI. Whilst only certain products (such as food/agricultural products, sanitary, phytosanitary products) will be subject to specified regulatory checks and processes, all movement of goods will require new electronic import declarations, safety and security declarations. In addition a system will be required to ensure EU Tariffs are paid where goods coming into NI could move to Ireland, and no tariffs are applied to goods remaining in the UK.

The intention is that this new Trader Support Service, announced last week, will undertake these new digital processes on behalf of traders. This should be an end-to-end support service that will remove the costs and burden of bringing goods from GB to NI. We understand that businesses provide the appropriate information digitally on goods coming into NI and the new service will deal with the necessary requirements.

Whilst this new service is not yet available, we would encourage anyone bringing goods into NI, or from NI to GB to register an interest in this service, that way as it becomes operational and more information is released, you will be kept up to date.

Please see link to register your interest below: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/questionnaire-for-businesses-who-move-goods-between-great-britain-and-northern-ireland

The team at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore is here to work with you, to look at how your business operates and identify the potential post Brexit implications for your business. Contact Angela Keery on 028 9032 3466 to find out more.

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