In another lifetime we spoke regularly about the looming threat to Irish business that was Brexit. With the Brexit date of January 1st now fast approaching, Brexit preparations join the long list of issues facing Irish businesses going forward. Irish businesses are currently under more pressure than ever before with the current Covid-19 crisis and with a recent survey by Enterprise Ireland finding that just 42% of businesses feel prepared for Brexit, the time to act and prepare is now.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has recently stated amidst negotiations that a failure for the EU and Britain to reach an agreement on post-Brexit trade would be “very, very damaging all-round”, and he re-positioned Brexit as an issue economically on par with Covid-19:

We’ve all had a very significant shock to our economic system because of Covid-19, the last thing we need now across all of our respective economies is a second major shock”.

With this in mind, and despite all other issues currently facing us, we advise early preparation for Brexit, as it is essential to prepare as much as possible. As the relationship between Britain and Ireland is soon to change, there will now be additional hoops for Irish businesses to jump through in order to trade with Britain. This week we will step away from the usual topics associated with Covid-19 and focus on the issue of Brexit and ways in which Irish businesses can be Brexit ready.

A helpful way of ensuring you have all Brexit bases covered is to check in with your Local Enterprise Office and avail of their ‘Brexit Readiness Checklist’

EORI Number

As we have recently discussed, one of the most urgent steps that Irish businesses need to take ahead of Brexit is to register for an EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number. This number is essential for all businesses importing and exporting goods into the European Union. Applications are made through the Revenue Online System (ROS).

Brexit Readiness Checklist

A helpful way of ensuring you have all Brexit bases covered is to check in with your Local Enterprise Office and avail of their ‘Brexit Readiness Checklist’. This may assist you in identifying any areas of weakness that need to be addressed before January 1st and show you the steps that need to be taken to prepare your business for Brexit.

Customs Issues

One of the main changes which will arise on January 1st for Ireland is the new scenario of facing customs issues in trade between Ireland and Britain. As we have long relied on trade routes with Britain, this will be a major stumbling block to be prepared for and will require your product to be priced with this in mind.

The Clear Customs Virtual Training

One major issue facing Irish trade with Britain going forward will be the issue of customs. As this will be an entirely new stumbling block between Britain and Ireland, it is advised to research and review any areas in which this may be an issue for your business. Many businesses may not deal with customs in house and will need training in this area.

With this area of confusion in mind, Skillnet Ireland has created a new free of charge online training programme (The Clear Customs Virtual Training Programme) to assist businesses in dealing with the increased customs requirements that will arise as a result of Brexit. Advance training will reduce the likelihood of delays and disruptions for customers and business owners. The programme will be available to all eligible businesses and will be run as part of the “Getting Ireland Brexit Ready” initiative. Visit the Skillnet Ireland website for full information and criteria.

The Ready for Customs Grant

Enterprise Irelands “Ready for Customs” grant has been set up to provide companies with the financial assistance they may require as a result of Brexit. Once Brexit occurs, companies may incur additional costs in hiring in house customs officials, mobilizing existing staff to other locations for customs related roles. The grant allows for €9,000 to be made available for each full-time employee as well as €4,500 available for each part-time employee. Repayment may be required if it is established that a customs role was not sustained. Applications will be accepted until December 15th via Enterprise Ireland’s online portal. Visit Enterprise Ireland’s website for full details and eligibility criteria.

Deferred Payments

Deferred payment can be applied for via Revenue and can allow the deferral of the payment of import charges until the month following import. There may be other reliefs available to you, we advise researching via the Revenue site to see what is available.

Communication

With the issue of customs, open communication will be key. Communicate with your courier’s & logistics carriers so that you have the full picture of your product’s journey going forward. In uncertain times, knowledge is key.

This new service is free of charge and provides information, resources and webinars for all businesses

Funding

We have recently discussed the funding opportunities available to Irish SMEs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and with Covid rightfully taking up so much airtime, it may slip the notice of many that there are still some funding options available to assist in the Brexit transition for Irish businesses.

Brexit Loan Scheme

The Brexit Loan Scheme is operated by the SCBI (Strategic Bank Corporation of Ireland) and is intended to assist with liquidity issues that may arise as a result of Brexit and makes funds of up to €300 million available to Irish businesses. Applications can be made through the SCBI website.

Ready for Customs Grant

The Ready for Customs Grant was announced in the July Jobs Stimulus Package. It was announced that Enterprise Ireland would manage a new fund to assist Irish businesses to increase their capacity to manage the new customs processes ahead. Eligible businesses should visit the Enterprise Ireland website for full information.

Brexit Information Hub

In terms of overarching preparedness, it is advised to visit the Government’s new Brexit Information Hub which is intended to help business prepare for Brexit and beyond. This new service is free of charge and provides information, resources and webinars for all businesses.

We hope that this information assists you in some way to get ready for these further business changes. As always, should you have any concerns or queries about these or any other business and financial issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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