HMRC and BEIS extend post Brexit guidance for SMEs

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published a leaflet for SMEs, outlining changes that may affect the business when the UK leaves the EU, with advice on actions to take and sources of support

Each topic in the four page guide has a link to further, more detailed, online information. Areas covered include changes to tariffs and customs, with advice on applying for an economic operator registration and identification (EORI) number to continue to trade with the EU, and lists of sources of information on different regulations for providing services to the EU.

Other sections cover the employment of EU citizens, intellectual property rights, and funding secured via EU programmes. There is also signposting to a range of additional sources of support, such as UK trade associations and export finance.

In addition, HMRC has published guidance on how businesses will pay VAT on digital services, reclaim VAT, and check UK VAT numbers if the UK leaves the EU with no deal at the end of this month.

In the event of no deal being agreed, businesses outside the UK will no longer be able to use the VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) to report and pay VAT on sales of digital services to consumers in the UK. They must register for VAT in the UK as soon as they supply any digital services to a UK consumer. The current €10,000 threshold for cross-border sales of digital services will no longer apply.

These businesses will need to follow HMRC’s VAT correction process to correct a UK VAT figure submitted in a previous MOSS return. They have up to four years from the end of the period relating to that return to do this.

Businesses in the EU will no longer be able to use the EU VAT refund electronic system to claim refunds of VAT incurred in the UK.

Before the UK leaves the EU, claims can be made using the electronic system, but organisations should allow enough time for their member state to send the claim to the UK. If a claim is sent through the online system after the UK has left the EU, it will not reach the UK.

After the UK leaves the EU, EU businesses must use a manual process to reclaim VAT incurred in the UK before 30 March. Information on how to do this will be available after 30 March in VAT Notice 723A.

In the event of no deal, there are also changes to the way claims for VAT incurred on business expenses after 29 March 2019 are handled.  The repayment period runs from 1 July to 30 June instead of 1 January to 31 December, while the deadline for submitting a claim is the following 31 December (six months from the end of the claim period).

Businesses will not be able to use the EU’s VAT number validation service to check the validity of a UK VAT number, and will need to use the UK’s VAT checking service from 30 March.

Prepare your business for leaving the EU

Guidance VAT IT system changes for businesses outside the UK if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

Report by Pat Sweet

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