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European businesses unprepared for No Deal Brexit

Results of RSM survey

The latest chapter in the Brexit story sees the European Commission granting the UK an extension of the leave date from 29 March to 22 May with one significant stipulation; this is contingent on Prime Minister Theresa May getting her deal approved by the UK parliament. Failure to secure approval of this deal by parliament will then mean that the UK will leave the European Union on 12 April 2019.

Without an agreed deal there is still an uncertain outcome, with a ‘No Deal’ Brexit being a significant contender. There are many consequences of  a No Deal scenario, but for businesses that move goods between the UK and the European Union, there are a number of key questions being asked about the impact of Brexit on VAT.

In March, RSM hosted a webinar to discuss the various ways that tax authorities were issuing guidance and how businesses were typically responding in preparing for a No Deal scenario.

When asking 247 attendees from Europe “What actions have you taken so far to prepare for No-Deal?”, the results were surprising.

  • Only 9% confirmed that their business had anticipated a No Deal Brexit, fully understood all the implications for their business and are fully on track to have all the required changes made on time.
  • More surprising was that 29% of respondents admitted that their business had been waiting to see if a deal can be struck before 29 March and hoping that it will not require any critical changes to their operations.
  • 23% confirmed that their business had only just started making plans now that the various countries have been issuing guidance for a No Deal Brexit
  • 10% said that their business was expecting an extension of the March 29 deadline and therefore anticipate that they will have more time to prepare, based on a deal that will be subsequently agreed
  • 29% said that Brexit does not affect their business, but it is keen to fully understand the impact of Brexit

Overall, the most surprising aspect was that with such a short time period to go, accumulatively, 62% of those polled were only now beginning to consider the impact of Brexit on their business.


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With a limited amount of time to determine the impact of Brexit and take action, RSM can help you rapidly determine, assess, prioritise and manage the potential impact of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

To learn more contact: [email protected]