Practitioners might like to take a look at an update posted to the Gov.uk website, 8 October.
The title is instructive: Brexit readiness report published. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/brexit-readiness-report-published
The basic text is reproduced below:
The Government has put forward serious and reasonable proposals to the EU and continues to work at pace to secure a deal, but this will require movement from the EU. If we leave without a deal, the Brexit readiness report includes details of the Government’s work to make sure that citizens and businesses are ready for Brexit on 31 October.
The report also sets out the preparation underway to ensure that goods continue to flow smoothly across the UK and EU border after Brexit, with measures in place and information given to traders, businesses and hauliers on what they need to do to prepare before 31 October.
- the automatic allocation of Economic Operator Registration Indicator (EORI) numbers to 88,000 VAT registered companies across the UK that frequently trade with the EU;
- postponed VAT accounting for both EU and non-EU imports, enabling VAT-registered businesses to wait until their next VAT return to declare and recover import VAT on goods- helping their cash flow and reducing costs at the point of import;
- a Temporary Tariff Regime (TTR) for all imports, including from the EU, supporting consumers, business supply chains and those sectors in the UK economy that would most benefit from support as we leave, for up to 12 months; and
- HMRC sending 220,000 businesses guidance on the steps they need to take to import and export after we leave the EU on 31 October.
In a further move to get the country ready and to help ensure the UK’s health sector is prepared, the Government is today establishing a dedicated ‘Support Unit’ for suppliers of medical goods in the health sector. This will help to ensure that companies have the necessary customs paperwork in place for border arrangements ahead of Brexit on 31 October, if we leave without a deal. These teams of specialists will be able to provide traders operating in the health and social care sector with up-to-date advice and practical guidance on the steps they need to take to prepare.
The Brexit readiness report released today outlines preparations that have been made to support businesses and citizens if we leave without a deal, including:
- significant increases in the number of customs agents at the borders;
- a new import/ export helpline to answer businesses’ questions;
- the largest ever government public information campaign to get public and business owners ready for Brexit;
- organised business readiness events with more than 800 attendees to support businesses to get ready for Brexit, with 29 additional events in the pipeline. Secured additional funding to deliver webinars for EU companies to tell them what they need to do; and
- secured additional freight capacity and worked on preparations with our suppliers and partners, to ensure the stockpile of critical medicines and goods.
Are we reassured by this apparent “readiness” for an event that has no historical counterpart – truthfully, none of us know what to expect.
However, practitioners should make sure they are as informed as they can be as if we do leave with no deal 31 October 2019, clients will no doubt be concerned about their ability to adapt their business systems to cope with the changes Brexit will trigger; and their likely first port of call will be their accountant.