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So, a deal has been done (yet to be approved mind you but we will cross that bridge if/when we need to).
The deal grants access to the Single Market and free trade.
It is important to understand that free trade and single market IS NOT the same as the old rules. Border checks will happen much more now when importing to the UK and the golden (well actually SILVER question) is will we be able to buy goods from Europe and import them to the UK and NOT pay VAT.
My thoughts are it will be a while before we have an answer to this - the following are some of the questions/thoughts I have about things.
The UK has left the EU but has access to the single market and free trade. This means no Tariffs at the border. Tariffs are NOT the same as VAT.
When a seller sells something to the UK it could/should/will be treated as a sale outside the scope of VAT.
But the UK still has (and will have for a while because it is a huge revenue earner) a VAT system.
VAT systems are designed to keep business in a certain country rather than having other countries undercut their ability to do business.
When goods enter the UK they are coming from outside the UK so in theory VAT could be applied. You have not already paid VAT because in theory the seller country did not need to charge you VAT in the first place.
I see all of this as hypothetical based on how the UK's VAT system will link or not link with the EU's system.
So, just because there is a deal this does not mean VAT free silver still for us.
Prior to 31st December a business that was NOT Vat registered charged no Vat on products to customers in the EU.
From 1st January those customers will be charged VAT when the goods are imported into their country.
It gets worse because if, like my business you were not paying VAT on the raw materials before, you will be forced to procure raw materials with VAT on them now. This means passing on the costs to the customers and price increases.
So, following through, previously I may have charged £35/oz for my silver. Now I would look to increase this to account for the higher material cost incurred with VAT, so lets call it £40/oz. Then the EU customer is charged VAT on the import - so they are doubly taxed and hit - not to mention the handling fee of €15 that couriers charge to calculate your VAT on import.
Bottom line, it makes small businesses that were underneath the VAT threshold a minimum of 20% less competitive with their prices at a time when we should be doing everything possible to keep our British businesses and entrepreneurs competitive.
The ignoring of VAT harmonisation has truly made this Brexit deal next to useless and it sickens me to hear politicians herald it as "free trade" when it is nothing but free trade.
Not to mention all the added bureaucracy and admin work that businesses will have to endure.
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