Clearly some businesses will be much more affected by a no-deal Brexit than others. If trade is only within the UK it might be thought that there is little to be worried about but remember the supply chain as well as where the sales are being made. If you rely on goods being imported from the EU, there is still going to be an impact requiring consideration of the above points.
For instance, UK businesses importing goods from the EU could find that the rules to be applied will be those currently in place for non-EU countries. If a business currently only imports from the EU they will not be familiar with the non-EU rules or have the necessary software or procedures to cope with the changes. It is tempting perhaps, to assume that only bigger businesses buy from and sell to, EU countries. However, with the ease of setting up an internet business and the relative simplicity of cross EU business even very small concerns might be trading regularly with the EU.
More Than VAT And Trade Issues
It is not only concerns about trade which might need to be considered in a no-deal Brexit. Many businesses have other EU related aspects, such as grant funding, regulatory requirements, study and workplace rights. The Government has issued guidance on these aspects and intends to issue a total of about 70 such guidance notes, with 25 already issued. These cover subjects as diverse as labelling tobacco products, ensuring blood and blood products are safe, banking and insurance, nuclear research and farming payments. Each entity should therefore consider the potential impact of no-deal on their activities and consider what contingency plans may be necessary.
Although the government is still very much hoping to have an exit deal in place which will smooth the transition and alleviate some of the problems mentioned above, this cannot be guaranteed. It makes sense therefore, for businesses to consider all the relevant guidance which has and will be issued to identify what can be done as part of a no-deal contingency plan.
Even small businesses can be affected and there doesn’t have to obviously be any EU trade for some sort of impact, although clearly those businesses with EU trade will usually be subject to the most change.
For those of you in practice there is a role to ensure clients are aware of the guidance being issued and the need for contingency planning.
Whilst “it” may never happen, it is better to be prepared than to suffer the consequences if it does.