Brexit: Keep Calm And Carry On?

The Prime Minister says we have a Brexit deal that takes back control and the EU say the agreement is fair and balanced ...

The Prime Minister says we have a great new deal that takes back control and the EU say the agreement reached is fair and balanced ...

However, the DUP say they do not support the deal; the Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said, "The fight to stop Brexit is far from over", Labour's Jeremy Corbyn believes, "this Brexit deal should be rejected" saying this deal is worse than the Theresa May one that was rejected three times by Parliament.

So as a business owner, what on earth are you supposed to do? As the well-known saying goes, 'keep calm and carry on'. To help you stay focused at the helm (and with a smile on your face!), here are a few answers to questions that have been posed to me recently:

- Where will I get more cash if I need it?

It is always prudent for businesses to plan ahead and think about how they would deal with economic uncertainty, which might affect sales, the collection of debtors, or stock levels. Businesses may need more cash at hand so they can make sure they continue to make payments on time. At Essendon, we have teamed up with specialist brokers to source such finance.

- Do I need an EORI number?

If there is no deal, goods travelling between the UK and EU will need to pass through customs and declarations will need to be completed. UK businesses need to make sure they have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI) starting with GB. They will need this to complete export or import documentation. HMRC sent EORI numbers to VAT registered businesses, in August 2019. If you don’t have one, you can register here.

- Will I need to pay additional customs duties?

Tariffs, or customs duties as they are known in the UK, are a tax levied on imports. There are no tariffs on trade wholly within the EU customs union, but if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, they will apply to UK-EU trade.

Currently, the UK’s trade with the rest of the world is subject to EU tariff rates. After the UK leaves the EU, tariffs will depend on trade agreements the UK has negotiated, which can differ from country to country, or on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

If you find you are paying additional customs duties you may wish to consider your own costings and decide whether your sales prices need to be revised.

- Will I need to amend my contracts and terms of business?

It is particularly important that if you trade across EU borders that your contracts are reviewed and amended to include how VAT is dealt with. In the event of no deal, you will need to ensure that both your contracts and your International Terms and Conditions of Service reflect that you are now an international exporter or importer.

- Will GDPR still apply?

If there is a no-deal Brexit, the EU GDPR will no longer be law in the UK. However, as the UK government intends to write the GDPR into UK law, from all practical perspectives, GDPR will continue to apply.

If you feel inspired to find out more about anything I've said here, do call me on 01908 774320 or leave a comment below and I'll be in touch as soon as I can.