Is Brexit Having a Damaging Impact on your Profit Margin? – Solutions Considered
- Extra Brexit-related charges for exporting into the EU means your profit margins are eroded and now it’s far less viable to continue to trade in the EU.
- Your customers in Europe are being asked by couriers to pay VAT upfront on the goods being shipped to them, resulting in those customers becoming disgruntled and ultimately sourcing the same product elsewhere.
- Delays at ports which means your customers are not getting their goods on time when needed.
- More forms and paperwork resulting in more admin and headaches. Many businesses had to hire more staff to handle the extra admin - meaning more costs.
Real Brexit 1 month in – From IT services to dresses to skincare and live Horses the VAT implications
The (European Union) EU and the United Kingdom (UK) finally reached agreement on a Free Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), avoiding a hard Brexit at the end of December. However, this does not change the fact that the UK has left the EU and therefore is no longer part of the EU single market and customs union and is now regarded as a third country.The first real trading weeks since the UK departure have highlighted the very real issue for a number of clients and new contacts we are assisting on VAT matters. From understanding how VAT now applies on point of entry on the movement of goods and whether to remain as the ‘Importer of Record’ to the UK for Irish businesses. We have been advising Irish and UK based clients from a wide range of sectors around VAT treatments on trading from ladies dresses to skincare products and from IT services to live horses all in the last few weeks as trade items start to move between the UK and Ireland. Including assisting with potential registration for UK VAT with HMRC by Irish traders. If your business needs advice in these areas for B2B or B2C transactions between the UK and Ireland please contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and we can assist.
Brexit deal done; What next?
- The TCA establishes zero tariffs or quotas on trade between the UK and the EU, where goods comply with rules of origin requirements.
- Notwithstanding the tariff and quota free trade enshrined in the TCA, certain technical barriers to trade continue to apply and address issues related to technical regulation, conformity assessment, standardisation, accreditation, market surveillance and marketing and labelling.
- While Brexit ends the EU ease and simplicity of moving goods freely, the TCA adds administrative burdens and no duty or tariff taxes.
- The TCA includes well-established provisions on cross-border trade in services that will secure continued market access across a broad range of sectors, including professional and business services, financial services and transport services, and will support new and continued foreign direct investment.
- In relation to financial services, although the TCA provides for “continued market access” the details have been left for later. The EU and the UK are yet to discuss “specific equivalence determinations” which will eventually be codified in a Memorandum of Understanding.
- The UK and the EU have agreed a framework for the recognition of professional qualifications which is based on the EU’s recent free trade agreements.
- The effect of Brexit and the TCA on cross-border trade in services differs from sector-to-sector. For example, UK resident financial services firms previously possessed “passporting rights” which allowed them to sell financial services into the EU. The TCA has not granted equivalent rights meaning that on 1 January 2021 UK resident financial firms will (as expected) lose their right to sell financial services in the EU.
- One of the key issues of concern of the EU was ensuring that the UK could not grant subsidies (tax or otherwise) to UK businesses which would effectively allow them to undercut similar businesses in the EU.
- The EU and UK are free to determine their own rules relating to the granting of subsidies but are bound by broad principles which must inform the contents of the rules which must ensure that the granting of a subsidy does not have detrimental effects on the trade between the EU and UK.
- The EU and UK shall each establish independent bodies which will design and oversee these rules and which are subject to the review of their respective domestic courts.
- The EU and UK have agreed on a reciprocal dispute resolution mechanism (an accelerated arbitration procedure) where a party is of the opinion that a subsidy is causing, or is at risk of causing, significant harm to its industries.
- Whilst part of the EU, the UK was bound by EU laws related to state aid and government subsidies and was subject to oversight by the European Court of Justice (EUCJ), a sore point for the UK public. Brexit effectively removes the applicability of these laws and jurisdiction of the EUCJ.
- There is also a ‘most-favoured nation’ clause, which ensures that, if either the UK or the EU gives more-favourable terms to another country in future, those terms will automatically extend to the UK/EU deal.
- However, these provisions are subject to a long list of exceptions, which vary from one member state to another.
- Residence rights in existing cases in the UK and EU will continue to be respected as long as the residence situation remains unchanged. New residency applications after the transition period will likely be subject to the same procedures as for third countries.
- Existing (frontier) workers will have the right not to be discriminated against on grounds of nationality as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment. In addition, they will have the right to take up and pursue activities and assistance by employment offices in the same way as offered to own nationals as well as rights to tax, social advantages, housing benefits and access to education for their children.
- Prior to Brexit, UK citizens (like all other EU citizens) were granted unrestricted rights to live and work in the EU, and vice versa. Post Brexit, closer consideration will be required for non-EU workers and transfers, however the UK / Ireland Common Travel Area provisions allow for continuation of citizens of each of those countries to live, work and retire to each other’s jurisdiction.