Revenue intensifies Brexit engagement with businesses

Today (16/07/2019), Revenue announced that over the course of the next eight weeks, it will undertake an intensified Brexit engagement programme with businesses who trade with the UK.

Revenue’s focus is on helping and supporting those businesses that will be impacted immediately by Brexit, from the moment it happens. Letters are issuing to traders, on a phased basis, outlining the most critical Brexit preparation steps they need to take in addition to having a customs registration, more commonly known as an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

Commenting on Revenue’s latest engagement with businesses regarding Brexit, Ms Lynda Slattery, Head of Revenue’s Brexit Policy Unit, noted,

‘We are intensifying our engagement with businesses who we expect will be impacted by Brexit. Last year, Revenue wrote to approximately 84,000 businesses likely to be impacted by Brexit based on trading profiles for 2017. We now have trading data for 2018 and are writing out again to offer support and guidance to businesses in preparing for trade with the UK post Brexit. For many businesses this will be the second direct, detailed correspondence they will have received from Revenue regarding their Brexit preparations. However, for those businesses who only started trading with the UK in 2018 these letters contain key information regarding the preparation steps they need to take to ensure there is no disruption to their business when the UK leave the EU.’

These letters are just one element of Revenue’s comprehensive engagement with businesses in relation to Brexit preparedness. As a result of a range of initiatives, undertaken as part of Revenue’s trader engagement programme, the number of businesses with an EORI number has steadily increased. In 2018, there was a 15% increase in the number of EORI registrations, while more than 7,000 businesses got an EORI number so far in 2019. 

Commenting on the increased EORI registrations, Ms Slattery explained,

‘there are clear indicators that businesses who are doing the most trade, in terms of value, are actively preparing for Brexit and have taken the first critical step by getting their EORI number. If you are one of the businesses that hasn’t got your EORI, make sure you don’t leave your business at a disadvantage, take that first step and apply for your EORI now. But don’t stop at that, there are further critical issues you need to consider in order to safeguard your business.’

Of those who have started their preparations Ms Slattery noted,

‘It is clear to us that 85% of the import trade with the UK in 2018 was carried out by businesses who now have an EORI number. So businesses that are going to be significantly impacted by Brexit are responding to our call to be prepared.

‘We are seeing a similar picture for exports, with 84% of the export trade being carried out by businesses who now have an EORI number.

‘However, our data indicates that there are over 3,000 businesses who have trade values with the UK in excess of €100,000, and in some cases more than €1 million, who have still to get an EORI number. Such businesses are putting the future viability of their business in jeopardy if they do not prepare for Brexit. It is critically important that these businesses take action now, as many businesses already have. Engaging with Revenue and the other supports available will help them to mitigate the risks presented by Brexit.’

Based on the most up to date information available, it is estimated that 33% of businesses in the wholesale and retail trade, and 15% of businesses in the construction industry, who trade with, or perhaps buy supplies on an ad-hoc basis from, the UK have not yet applied for an EORI number.

Notwithstanding the generally reassuring figures of businesses with significant trade that already have an EORI number, Ms Slattery urged those businesses who have yet to register with Revenue for customs to act now,

‘we are repeating our call on the businesses involved in the remaining approximately 15% of import and export trade by value who have yet to engage with Revenue to do so now. Some of these transactions may only be once off events or infrequent trade with the UK and it may be that such transactions and trade are not expected to arise post Brexit. However, to ensure minimum disruption to trade come 31 October business really should act now.

‘If you trade with the UK, Brexit will most definitely impact on your business. Every business trading, or intending to trade, with the UK post Brexit will need to have an EORI number. Getting an EORI is a simple and free online process which is available on a 24-hour basis. Once a business is registered with the Revenue Online Service (ROS), Revenue will process an EORI application in approximately 3 minutes.’

However, Ms Slattery warned that

‘Having an EORI number is just the first step in being able to trade with the UK post Brexit. At a minimum, every business should also:

  • have the facility to make customs declarations or have plans in place for a customs agent to do so
  • know the origin and Commodity Code of their goods or products, and
  • talk to the person who transports their goods or products to make sure they have the new information they need."

I urge all businesses who receive a Brexit preparedness letter from Revenue over the coming weeks to heed our advice and get Brexit ready to the greatest extent possible.’

Information outlined in this press release is based on more detailed information included in the Notes for the editor.

[Ends 16/07/2019]