Revenue is advising businesses who have not fully prepared for Brexit to act now to avoid significant disruption in their international trade. 

The advice comes following Revenue's recent comprehensive trade engagement programme, which involved writing to over 90,000 businesses in September and making follow up telephone calls to approximately 14,000 of those who Revenue believe may be most impacted by Brexit.

They have also engaged with trade and businesses through their trade and representative bodies.

Revenue’s engagement programme has highlighted that many businesses have prepared for Brexit or are well on their way to have their preparations completed by January 1, 2021.

The total number of Irish businesses with an Economic Operators Registration Identification number is almost 71,600, with 3,700 businesses registered since September.

Currently, approximately 97% of the value of export trade to the UK and 94% of the value of the import trade from the UK is undertaken by businesses with an existing customs registration.

However,Revenue Commissioner, Gerry Harrahill, responsibile for Revenue Customs Service, said there is evidence that some businesses have made little or no plans to manage the negative impacts of Brexit, while others have not thought through the implications at all.

"This is backed by data that shows over 66% of construction businesses, and a similar level of businesses in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries, who traded with the UK in 2019 and 2020 have yet to register for customs by getting an EORI number," he said.

"By contrast, and even though trade volumes may not be comparable, over 90% of businesses in the Pharma sector who traded with the UK over the same period have registered for customs."

He  added that it is an absolute certainty that on January 1, 2021 customs formalities will apply to goods moving to, from or through the UK excluding Northern Ireland. 

"This means that businesses who have not prepared for Brexit or who have not yet fully completed or thought through their preparations will be immediately impacted on 1 January 2021. For example, these businesses may not be able to access key supplies or stock or will not be able to export their goods to the UK excluding Northern Ireland."

Revenue's advice to these businesses is to act now to avoid unnecessary risk. Being Brexit ready requires preparation and completing that preparation is now urgent for every affected business.

The first step in being prepared is to register for customs by getting an EORI number, but this is just the start. Every business should also:

– have the facility to make customs declarations or have plans in place for a customs agent to do so
look closely at and talk to the other key players in their supply chain
– know the origin and Commodity Code of the goods or products it is importing
– talk to the person who transports the goods or products to make sure they have the new information they need, and consider alternative routes to EU markets.

"If you have traded with or through the UK, excluding Northern Ireland, over the last number of years and wish to continue to do so come 1 January 2021, minimising the impacts of Brexit on your business is within your own power.

"Don’t delay any longer, now is the time to act and make sure you are ready for the changes that are ahead," the Commissioner said.