In this blog, Liz Maher, Director of Centurion VAT, talks about preparing for Brexit VAT-wise and she offers businesses help in the form of an aptly called ‘Brexit VAT Ready Review’.

Centurion VAT is one of the member firms of the Xeinadin Group.

After 30 years in the world of VAT, I know that often the biggest hurdle is knowing where to start in order to understand the impact of VAT changes and what you then need to address.

The 31st December 2020 is an important date in our calendar as we know that for many businesses that move goods in and or out of the UK, the VAT processes will change. Updated guidance notes have been issued by HMRC over recent weeks and whilst the impact of CV19 has occupied businesses, the advancing date of Brexit departure reminds us of the need to refocus on how the VAT changes will affect business.

We need economic stability and growth

Brexit planning is something we’ve been talking about back through 2019 and often the response from clients has been – who knows what will happen? – we can’t plan for what we don’t know?

As Autumn 2020 approaches there are now things that we do know but we do still need to be alert for further updates from UK Government. My concern is that starting any impact analysis at the last minute leaves the UK business community unprepared. We need economic stability and growth at this point not more worry over uncertainties.

The lack of clear communication from the government leaves businesses unprepared when the deadline for change arises.

Liz Maher, Director of Centurion VAT – A Xeinadin firm

We only have to look at the roll-out of Making VAT Digital and the planned VAT Domestic Reverse for Construction Services to see how the lack of clear communication from the government on the issues allied with a business community focusing on the day to day economics of running a business can easily combine to leave businesses unprepared when the deadline for change arises.

What needs to be on your to-do list?

In comparison to these examples I genuinely do not think the UK Government will be of a mind to extend timescales on this one as they have had to do with other areas of VAT change.

Therefore, what needs to be on your to-do list? Clearly this is an issue that will affect importers and exporters of goods much more than it will service businesses. VAT rules around services will remain largely as they are.

There will be new VAT aspects to consider as well as the need to ensure any changes in accounting processes are tied into the Digital Reporting Requirement

Liz Maher, Director of Centurion VAT – A Xeinadin firm

Some businesses may never have bought goods from suppliers outside of the EU so this will be more of an upheaval for them. Others will be more comfortable with the changes as they already import from outside the EU but even for those, there will be new VAT aspects to consider as well as the need to ensure any changes in accounting processes are tied into the Digital Reporting Requirement.

Brexit VAT Ready Review

One thing is for certain – the guidance coming out of HMRC can be confusing and is changing, with more information to come. This, allied with a potential sense of isolation that the working from home environment has created, may have many businesses thinking about where to start!

There is help at hand – there is government-funded training support to assist on getting ready for the Customs Declaration process, but it unfortunately does not cover VAT. Therefore, we’ve put together a Brexit VAT Ready Review programme.

Then we’ll open up the discussion to identify your action points and issues, if any exist, and the steps to resolve these.

Liz Maher, Director of Centurion VAT – A Xeinadin firm

This involves a “virtual” meeting at which we run through the latest position on the VAT implications when a UK business is involved in importing and goods from/to EU. Then we’ll open up the discussion to identify your action points and issues, if any exist, and the steps to resolve these.

Next steps

The review would conclude with an email commentary to create a focus of what needs to be addressed and the relevant next steps. We can then monitor this as we move to the year end with updates from us on any further changes that would affect the VAT position of your trading.

A review session like this may take up half a day with you depending on the range and nature of your activities but it’ll be time well spent to be in control of how and if Brexit, from the VAT perspective, will create issues for your business to resolve and it’ll give you the time to get processes adapted.

Centurion VAT is one of the member firms of the Xeinadin Group.

Liz Maher, Director of Centurion VAT

If you’d like to learn more of how we can help your business get Brexit VAT Ready or would like to register to receive our VAT updates, then please call us on 01633 415390 or email us at emailus@centurionvat.com.

Regards,
Liz Maher OBE
Director of Centurion VAT*

*Centurion VAT is a Xeinadin Group firm member.

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