Brexit trade deal – action for businesses and employers to take now

Susie Walker

Susie Walker

Partner and Head of Tax

Today marks a monumental milestone in the Brexit journey as UK MPs vote to pass the Brexit trade agreement. The Bill, which puts the Brexit deal into legislation, is now expected to be fast-tracked through the final stages of approval in the House of Lords ahead of receiving royal assent later this evening.

Although we now have a trade deal with the EU, there are still new procedures to follow from 1 January 2021, so we would strongly advise all businesses who import from or export to the EU, or those with globally mobile employees, to conduct the following final checks now.


The agreement allows the UK to have no restrictions on their domestic tax regime or domestic tax rates. We will need to await the Spring Budget to see what direction the UK government take going forward.

The key steps to take just now are to continue to speak to your industry bodies, review your supply chains and talk to your suppliers and customers to find pressure points. You will now also need to review where your people are and track how long they are going to be in the EU.

This blog is not designed to give advice, but to highlight the key issues and considerations. We will look to issue more detailed points in the new year, once the finer detail of the deal has been reviewed.

Please note, if you are dealing with Northern Ireland you will need to consider the additional points outlined in the agreement for the movement of goods and people to and from Northern Ireland.

Exporting goods

Zero tariffs or quotas will be applied on goods leaving the UK into the EU.

However, all the advice that we have provided to date regarding VAT which can be found on our Brexit page remains relevant.

You will now need to adhere to the EU standards of goods for particular items, i.e. food and drink, organics, chemicals, medicines etc. This will mean that further considerations are required prior to sending goods to the EU. For instance, you can read about the food labelling considerations on our Brexit page.

Movement of people

People can move around the EU for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180 day period without any visa considerations. However, for social security reasons, you will need advice on each country that you enter to consider their own domestic legislation and interaction they have with the United Kingdom as a third country. We would recommend speaking to the Johnston Carmichael Brexit Team and an immigration lawyer prior to sending employees overseas to ensure that holistic advice is taken.

Movement of cash

HMRC has also updated their guidance here on moving cash into and out of Great Britain. If you are now moving more than £10,000 in cash out of Great Britain you will need to make a declaration outlining the purpose of moving the sum of money outwith the country.

European Commission and HMRC documents

The European Commission and HMRC have issued several documents on the agreement and its impact for you and your business.

You can find a summary of the agreement by the UK Government on their website here

And a six-page summary by the European Commission on their website here.

A summary of the changes by the European Commission can be found here.

We’re here to help 

Our Brexit Team is currently reviewing the final detail of the trade agreement, we’ll be publishing more guidance in the coming days, but in the meantime if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me Susie Walker or another member of our Brexit team at  

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