Monday 19 February 2018

Revenue 'not looking at border custom post sites'

Revenue stresses it is not looking for sites for customs posts
Revenue stresses it is not looking for sites for customs posts
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Businesses in the Republic moving goods across Northern Ireland and Britain are being advised by Revenue to assume that some form of customs will apply after Brexit.

It comes as one customs expert warned that businesses shipping goods could be faced with a €100 charge per movement under a hard Brexit.

But Niall Cody, Revenue chairman, said the body was not negotiating with its counterparts in the UK on post-Brexit arrangements, or looking for sites for customs posts.

He said the agency was assessing the potential impact of Brexit for Irish traders. Planning is based on the "full range of possibilities", including the prospect that customs controls or processes will apply between Ireland and the UK, he said.

Mr Cody told the Oireachtas Finance Committee that there were 12,000 businesses in Ireland exporting to the UK, and some 60,000 importers.

"In addition, an unknown number of businesses regularly move goods and transit across Northern Ireland and across the UK. Most of these businesses are unfamiliar with customs procedures," he said.

"While it is not possible to provide detailed guidance, we are advising these traders and transport operators making long term, plans, to assume that customs procedures of some form will apply post Brexit.

"As soon as we have a reasonable sense of what's needed, we will provide clear, relevant and appropriate information to support business and trade."

He stressed no Brexit-related talks were taking place with customs officials in the UK and said it was "almost 100pc certain" that customs posts would not be required on the border.

"Revenue is not prejudging the outcome of the negotiations which is a political matter, nor are we negotiating with HMRC on post-Brexit arrangements, and we are not looking for sites for customs posts."

He also said that post-Brexit, if the UK is outside of the customs union, buying from a UK website will treated in the same way as buying from a US website. Carol Lynch, of BDO Ireland's customs and trade practice, told the committee the cost of lodging customs declarations for businesses exporting and importing to and from the UK would be €100 per movement. "That's €50 on each side of the border, per invoice.

"There will be a requirement to lodge customs declarations on all imports from, and exports to, the UK.

"It is to be assumed the same requirement will be implemented in the UK.

"There is a necessary cost for this, either in the payment of a clearance agent or the recruitment of staff in addition to logistics-related costs. A reasonable estimate would be €100 per movement."

Irish Independent

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