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Brexit woes...again


Didn't find your answer?

Is it just me, or does anyone else still have clients that have either;

A) been hiding under a rock for the last 2-3 years when it comes to Brexit and its impacts, or

B) refuse to accept that Brexit should affect their business operations

Client call today:

Client - so why did the Italian supplier charge me VAT?

Me - because they can't use your GB VAT number for Triangulation anymore, has to be an EU VAT number

Client - we did this before? What's changed?

Me - Brexit

Client - but why should that change anything? Seems daft?

Me - it is what it is...

Client - how do I get this VAT back?

Me - register for VAT in Italy

Client - why would I do that?

Me - I don't know, maybe to claim the VAT back, to let you use intra EU supply rules, to use Triangulation....take your pick 

Client - why didn't you tell me this is what would happen?

Me - we did....3 years ago, 2 years ago, 1 year ago, our monthly updates, blogs and circulars, the newspapers, the TV news, need I go on?

Client - This is causing major issues for the business, can't believe this is what Brexit has done 

Me - Slightly risky question, but did you vote to Stay or Leave?

Client - Leave

Me - hang up the phone....(not really, but wanted to!)


Replies (15)

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Jason Croke
By Jason Croke
12th Aug 2021 19:28

Haha, same here. I've done webinars, called clients personally, did a whole sequence of articles here for AccountingWEB [] and still have clients (and non clients) calling me with same sort of incredulity, like Brexit didn't affect them.

I see this partly as a failure of government and HMRC to clearly explain the impact Brexit would have on a day to day basis, lots of guidance was difficult to read and was sort of written as if everyone already knew the impact and everyone was happy to file customs declarations!

Also, the 12 month transition period we had last year and spent negotiating a deal, should have been devoted to getting businesses ready, so I see 2021 as the real transition period and that most businesses will be where they need to be by the end of this year.

If we're getting calls next year about triangulation or EOR numbers, think I might just quit and become a monk.

Thanks (4)
Replying to Jason Croke:
By SteveHa
13th Aug 2021 08:38

Jason Croke wrote:

I see this partly as a failure of government and HMRC to clearly explain the impact Brexit would have on a day to day basis

The same Government that were blindly rushing headlong into the car crash to satisfy their own bigotted desires? Why would they publicise the bad?

Thanks (5)
By Duggimon
13th Aug 2021 09:05

I would absolutely never ask a client whether they voted to stay or leave, though with 67% stay up here I suppose I'd at least have better odds of not starting a fight.

Your client's been a bit unlucky with their supplier though, I had one in the same position and their supplier at least asked for the EU VAT number before raising the invoice and was then able to do so with no unreclaimable VAT on it.

Thanks (1)
By Moonbeam
13th Aug 2021 12:41

If this sort of query came up again why you not advise on registering for VAT in Eire? At least then you can speak the language well enough to do the VAT returns.

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Replying to Moonbeam:
By VATs-enough
13th Aug 2021 17:54

Moonbeam wrote:

If this sort of query came up again why you not advise on registering for VAT in Eire? At least then you can speak the language well enough to do the VAT returns.

I do tend to use ROI as my go to EU VAT referral, but it won't always be best for the client. Horses for courses....

This particular client buys goods in one EU country, and ships to his customer in another EU country. An EU VAT number anywhere should fix his problem via Triangulation. But his other issue is that on occasion he buys goods in a member state, and the goods don't go anywhere - leaving him with the choice of registering there or suffering the VAT as a cost.

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Replying to VATs-enough:
By Moonbeam
13th Aug 2021 18:51

So it's a bit more complicated.

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By neiltonks
13th Aug 2021 15:02

How many times have we heard words to the effect of "If I'd known leaving the EU would mean us being treated like a country that's not in the EU, I wouldn't have voted for it!"

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rebecca cave
By Rebecca Cave
15th Aug 2021 08:56

Its over 5 years since the EU referendum.
FIVE years to educate yourself about the impact of Brexit on your business and personal life.

Leaving this research until after the referendum was already too late, but I have some sympathy for that because the Govt did no prior research and the civil service were prevented from planning for Leave to win.

However, if you have the nous to run a business that imports/ exports, or in this case transfers goods between EU countries, you should have the abilty to reaserch and understand how being outside of the EU affects your ability to trade. Or at least listen to the advice offered by your accountant!

Thanks (2)
Replying to Rebecca Cave:
paddle steamer
17th Aug 2021 10:42

To be fair until the manner and terms of our leaving were decided it was pretty hard to know what the final deal would be, there were options vis a vis the SM and CU, there was even EEA, accordingly whilst there were clues say with May's Lancaster House speech there was no certainty until Boris signed off his deal.(which apparently him and his government now have issues with as people seem to want to try to hold him to what he negotiated)

We then of course lost most of transition period as we then had Covid with travel restricted.

This is why I am hopefully heading to Sweden next month, first time since August 2019, I could have been there last month if we were still EU members as it opened up to EU members on 30th June.

I will whilst there be posting things from my house there to my house in the UK (and paying duty on vat on them notwithstanding they are my personal property and I bought most of them in the UK in the first place). Provisionally I am selling my house on the 16th September, purchased in 2004 (once was my retirement plan) ,and I will then be spending the rest of my life trying to give the Conservatives, a party I used to support, a kicking at the polls, because they have really shown themselves to be a bunch of crass, self interested, *****.

Thanks (1)
By johnhemming
15th Aug 2021 09:04

The point about referenda is to get public acceptance of a material constitutional change. That does not mean that the decision is well informed or at all rational.

In Columbia there was a vote on whether to accept a peace deal with FARC

the people marginally voted against so they modified the peace deal and then did not put it to a referendum.

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Replying to johnhemming:
By Hugo Fair
15th Aug 2021 13:24

"That does not mean that the decision is well informed or at all rational" ... which of course remains the case whichever side 'wins'.

Brexit was unusual in that the Fourth Estate lined up almost without exception on one side (along with much of 'big business') ... which was what probably led to the end result given the innate British suspicion of those 'in power'!

The other aspect, shared with virtually every Consultation, is that the 'decision' has been made in advance - with the sole purpose of the exercise being to identify the planks of any opposition argument and their strength. Not in order to take account of them, but to work out how to side-step them and where FUD will be needed to ensure they can safely be ignored.

Where Cameron (not unusually) got it wrong was in forgetting that a Referendum is not like a Consultation because you're not just soliciting opinions but votes!

Thanks (2)
Replying to Hugo Fair:
By Hugo Fair
15th Aug 2021 13:33

Oh, and FWIW, you can find examples of the cynicism behind referenda closer to home than Colombia and the proposed peace deal with FARC ... you only have to go back to 2001/2002 and Ireland for the referendum on whether or not to ratify the Treaty of Nice. When the answer came back as 'not', the population was told they were wrong and would have to vote again!

Thanks (1)
By Rgab1947
17th Aug 2021 10:21

And here I thought that if you exported you charged a 0% VAT if B2B.

Still think that's the case but maybe I am stupid.

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Replying to Rgab1947:
By gphemy
17th Aug 2021 14:05

But DJKL is speaking of the GB *import* VAT - and it's C2C. I reckon.

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By Arcadia
17th Aug 2021 13:39

Anyone who tried to explain what the commercial impact would be of Brexit was labelled a 'remoaner' and ignored, or vilified, so it is not surprising that the message on the realities of what would happen didn't get through.

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