The date set for Brexit is 31 January 2020. If the agreement reached by the UK and the EU on 17 October 2019 is accepted by both the British and the EU Parliament, the transition phase (until 31 December 2020) will start. But nothing is certain yet. Whatever happens, Brexit will have consequences for EU entrepreneurs doing business with the UK, so be sure to prepare for every possible outcome.
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Long-term contractsThe eventual consequences of Brexit depend on the deals the British government will make with the European Union. If your company works with long-term contracts, it would be wise to include special Brexit clauses. These clauses should cover, for instance, the validity of the contract once Brexit comes into force. You may want to change your contracts to deal with a changing trade situation; for instance, if the UK decides to adopt different product requirements.
The United Kingdom will become a non-EU country
From 31 January 2020 onwards, the UK (that is: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) will no longer be part of the European Union. The EU will view the UK as a 'third country', and the World Trade Organisation rules will apply to customs and trade dealings.
Fiscal transition period in case of a no deal-Brexit
The Netherlands will apply a fiscal transition period to citizens and businesses in case of a no deal Brexit. What this means is that for tax purposes, dealings with the UK will be treated the same as when it was still an EU country. The transition period will last until the end of 2020. The temporary arrangement allows businesses more time to prepare for the new situation. Also, it prevents the administrative hassle of having to file different types of tax returns in the same fiscal year. Read the full press release on the Rijksoverheid website (in Dutch).
Customs after Brexit
After Brexit, the UK will probably no longer be part of the Customs Union, and this has several implications for businesses that import or export goods from or to the UK to the Netherlands. On the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration website, you can find a Brexit checklist to help you prepare: for instance, applying for an EORI number, filing customs declarations for excise goods, etc. The European Commission Taxation and Customs Union has also prepared a Customs guide for businesses, which is available in 24 languages.
Another useful website if you import or export goods to/from the UK is Get ready for Brexit, an initiative launched by several Dutch shipping and distribution organisations.
If you do business with the UK and are likely to be affected by Brexit, you may want to get professional advice on how to deal with this. You can apply for a so-called Brexit-voucher to partly cover the costs of this advice. See the article on Brexit vouchers.
If you are a British citizen, but reside in the Netherlands and run your business here, you will be allowed to stay in the Netherlands for 15 months after Brexit, even if there is a no deal. In this period, you may apply for a permanent residence permit. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) website tells you what your options are and how you can prepare for Brexit.
The Dutch central government is conducting a Brexit poll, to find out how British citizens would prefer to be informed about Brexit. Click here to take part.
The special Brexit website Brexitloket offers a selection of events organised to help entrepreneurs come to grips with the impending changes. For a list of events see the Brexitloket website (in Dutch).
The Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) organizes several events to help entrepreneurs prepare for Brexit. Some events require membership, others are open to all comers. You can view the NBCC events here.
If you do business with the United Kingdom, be sure to follow the developments. There are several platforms. The main Dutch governmental one is the Brexitloket (in Dutch), which offers all kinds of information and advice.
- European Union Newsroom – Brexit file
- European Commission - Brexit Preparedness, notices, legislation, and other activities
- Brexit: figures at a glance, Netherlands Statistics
- Get Ready for Brexit - an initiative by several Dutch shipping companies
Statistics: import and export of goods
Value of goods imported to the Netherlands from the United Kingdom and of goods exported from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom.