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Brexit: VAT and customs duty considerations

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A ‘Brexit’ could impact on VAT and customs duty in three ways: with changes to bottom line costs; introducing new compliance issues and requiring changes to businesses’ systems. It is unlikely that the government would wish to make wholesale changes to the UK VAT legislation, but the law may need changing where it uses an EU versus non-EU flag to determine the VAT treatment. There is a question mark over VAT rates and we could expect lobbying over the extension of the zero-rate. Until new trade agreements are in place, the UK would lose the benefit of the customs duty rates afforded by being an EU member state. A ‘Brexit’ would present a variety of compliance issues impacting on businesses, but there is little that businesses should do now given the short timetable before the referendum.

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