Intrastat and Brexit: do not act now!

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/ 22 December 2020 / 4apps

Intrastat and Brexit: do not act now!

Usually we urge the audience of our blogs to act when big events that influence tax registration draw near. This time, however, we feel compelled to do the opposite.

Is Intrastat on your Brexit radar?

Brexit will be upon us in a couple of weeks. Recently an agreement seemed imminent, but the wind appears to have changed direction completely as Boris Johnson is now preparing his island for a no-deal Brexit. Companies and tax specialists are focused on the registration and reporting of VAT. But to what extent are the effects on Intrastat reporting taken into the equation?

To act or not to act

During the last few months, we have seen various contradictory signs when it comes to the question whether or not Intrastat reporting is needed when doing business with the United Kingdom after Brexit. As it stands now, trade statistics are still required when importing goods from the European Union into the UK. This applies to arrivals through Northern Ireland (NIE) as well as directly into England, Wales or Scotland. The other way round, Intrastat is most certainly required only when dispatching from NIE. This raises the question whether you should change your financial (and tax) system(s) to reflect this situation.

Easier and stress relieving

For VAT purposes, you will most probably add Northern Ireland as a separate country to your systems while assigning NIE to the EU zone to make sure VAT rules are applied correctly. Adjustments need to be made to your systems for VAT purposes and all your business scenarios need to be run through (tested) thoroughly. However, as many companies are already under a lot of pressure preparing for Brexit in time, wouldn’t it be a lot easier and stress relieving to just wait and omit data which may prove to be unnecessary later on? Our advice therefore is to leave the UK in the EU Zone with regard to Intrastat and set up NIE in the same way as the UK (for Intrastat). In doing so, any outcome of the Brexit negotiations will be covered while reducing the pressure during these final weeks before 2021 starts and the UK leaves the EU.

Unprecedented

The frequency and swiftness of changes in the way this Brexit evolves are unprecedented. And although we advise you to be reluctant when it comes to making significant changes to your Intrastat configuration, we strongly recommend observing closely what will happen in the next few weeks. After all, it can all change once again in the blink of an eye.