Brexit update - “flextension” to 31 January


Susie Walker

Susie Walker

Partner & Head of Tax


EU leaders have today agreed to accept the UK’s request for a Brexit “flextension” until 31 January 2020, meaning if a deal is sealed before this date and agreed by Parliament then it can happen sooner.

Today’s announcement takes a no deal on 31 October 2019 off the agenda. In the interim though, the country could face a general election, with a vote in Parliament tonight to determine whether or not the country will go to the polls in December.

What does the current Brexit deal mean? 

It’s largely the same as the deal negotiated with the EU by Theresa May, the one major difference being the Irish backstop position which has been removed, as this could have meant that the UK would have remained closely tied to the EU had no resolution been found after a transitional period. In other words, Brexit wouldn’t have meant the UK fully exiting the EU. The new Brexit deal negotiated by Boris Johnson, which was recently voted by Parliament to proceed to the next round of debate, introduces some Customs controls for goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain, with any import tariffs applied on entry being refunded if the goods remain in Northern Ireland. This compromise removes the need for any hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  

All businesses, not just those directly involved in importing and exporting throughout Europe, should carry out a Brexit health check to prepare their business for change. Visit our dedicated Brexit page to download a copy of our planning tool.