Brexit- VAT And Customs Reflections Six Months On

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As we move into the summer months, many organizations trading in goods can take a period of reflection to assess how well their post-Brexit international supply chains have been working.

For many, the run-up to the end of the Brexit transitional period on 31 December 2020 involved hasty preparations for the start of the UK’s new international trade position. From a VAT and Customs Duty perspective, businesses trading in goods faced the greatest changes.

These changes were significant and created “business-critical” risks for organizations to deal with, both in minimizing the impact on their margins and ensuring the ability to continue to trade with their customers and suppliers. There were well-publicized reports of businesses deciding to stop specific sales channels and unexpected costs arising when goods were imported into the UK.

For the first few months of 2021, organizations were mainly reacting to the new Brexit rules from a technical perspective and a practical one. There were several “myths” about how the UK/EU trade deal was going to work with the reality of new procedures which resulted in considerable friction. For example: