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No-deal Brexit could result in higher taxes for online shoppers

No-deal Brexit could result in higher taxes for online shoppers

Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee has said a no-deal Brexit could result in higher taxes for online shoppers and difficulties in returning goods, as the UK would no longer be subject to the same consumer rights and protections.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Ms McEntee said: “If the UK leaves with no deal, in terms of retail they will become a third country, in the same way that you’re dealing with the US or other third countries. There may be possible tax implications.

“Also, and I don’t do it myself, but I know plenty of people who might order five or six dresses, they get them, they try them on and they send a few back. If you’ve already paid taxes on them, how do you negate that?

“You’ve also got the fact that they will no longer be under the same consumer protections and rights.”

Ms McEntee said the situation is “is not going to be as good as we have now” and will cause the economy to slow down, cause the seamless flow of the all-Ireland economy to slow down and cost people their livelihoods.

She described yesterday’s report on Brexit preparations as “damage limitation” and said while the Government did not want to scare people it wanted to prepare them for the “significant challenge” ahead.

Ms McEntee also urged any motorists who live in Ireland and hold a UK driving licence to switch it over before 31 October, as drivers will need an up-to-date licence.

The Government, she said, is doing all it can to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, but admitted that “we’re not fully there yet”.

Ms McEntee could not say where checks on goods crossing the border will be, but said that meetings on the issue will continue over the summer.

She said there were many businesses who have not yet engaged and Government was trying to reach out to help them prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil’s Brexit spokesperson said the Government needs to help small and medium businesses get prepared for Brexit.

Also speaking on Morning Ireland, Lisa Chambers said that the “cliff edge” is getting very close.

She added that the Government’s warnings yesterday were dire but nothing new, and she would have expected to hear about new plans from the Government yesterday also.

Ms Chambers said it is worrying that 40,000 businesses who trade with the UK have not yet registered with Revenue.

She said the Government needed to be more proactive in reaching out to those smaller businesses and hauliers and needed to work closely with these businesses to help them get ready, pointing out that they employ a large amount of people.

“It’s all well and good to say that it’s up to businesses to get themselves ready and that’s fine for a larger company that has plenty of resources that can actually spend the money to get Brexit prepared,” said Ms Chambers, “but most of our businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises and they employ the vast majority of our citizens.

“So the Government cannot take a hands off approach. It really has to be right in there working with businesses to get them prepared.”
President of the Irish Road Haulage Association Verona Murphy said that with the current state of preparation from Revenue and the State agencies for a no-deal Brexit scenario, many of the small and medium enterprise hauliers will go out of business.

Also speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Ms Murphy, who will run for Fine Gael at the next election in Wexford, said the lack of financial support for the sector combined with the lack of skill set are to be blamed for the difficult situation hauliers may find themselves in.

“On one level it’s cost because there haven’t been any financial support afforded to the sector. The real reason is (that) the skill set isn’t there for which we can prepare.

“The agencies have done nothing except to prepare themselves. So customs have trained customs agents to deal with some people who have no idea what they’re doing. So more small, medium enterprises in this country will only trade with the UK and there is no bases for them in which to undertake customs courses.”

Ms Murphy added that while she appreciates that the Tánaiste, the Taoiseach, and Ms McEntee have done a great job because they were the ones who “put the structure of consultation in place”, the talks that the association has been involved in for approximately three years now have brought “no result”.

Ms Murphy said that she “absolutely” shares the views of those who claim the preparations for Brexit have been too slow, adding that “frustrations levels are now rising”.

“I asked a simple question of the head of the customs the other day. What sanitary facilities are being prepared at Rosslare for the drivers who obviously are going to be held up through no fault of their own.

“I was told it wasn’t a truck stop. That’s the typical attitude of State agencies, of their superior being displayed upon what – they would possibly regard – as somebody in a lesser position. And that will only serve to increase frustration levels,” she said.

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