October 2nd, 2019

Awareness and possible actions in preparing for a no-deal Brexit

Should I plan? Is Brexit going to even happen? How far should I go with my preparations? How bad will a no-deal Brexit be? All valid questions, with hard-to-find answers as a lot will depend on your own circumstances.

This article aspires to make businesses aware of potential stumbling points in their operations that may be affected in the event of a no-deal Brexit. From the highlighted possible disruptions, one is then able to utilise ones resources in the most effective manner when preparing for a possible no-deal Brexit.

The below is targeted for the Small-to-Medium sized subsidiaries that epitomise the size of clients we have at Goodwille. These companies typically don’t have the resources to spend endless amounts of time, money and effort on no-deal planning. Here it is important to apply a pragmatic approach to an event that keeps being pushed back.


Staff considerations

One of the most important aspects of our business are the people that work within it. Travel between the UK and EU will most likely need Visas further down the line (not expected until 2021 at the earliest). EU national staff in the UK may be at risk if they have not taken steps to secure the right to remain in the UK.

Be aware

  • Review staff travel needs on both UK and EU side.
  • Review how many EU nationals in UK business and what actions they have taken.
  • Review plans to move staff to EU or to UK post-Brexit, that may be disrupted.

Possible actions

  • Move forward any plans to move staff between UK and rest of EU before Brexit. Or face more paperwork and restrictions to move after Brexit.

For more information on staff considerations, please refer to our previous article ‘No-deal Brexit from a people/HR perspective’.


Selling physical goods in the UK

The likely disruption to physical goods being imported and exported in the event of a no-deal Brexit is expected to be sizeable. Recent reports suggest the UK will significantly reduce reporting requirements at the border, however the EU has maintained the need to protect the Single Market and the Customs Union. So the expectation is large queues on the EU side.

Be aware

  • Refresh understanding of any logistics or supply chains involving UK-EU trade.
  • Get in touch with partners involved in the import/export process to understand their concerns / capacity issues etc.

Possible actions

  • The natural one here is to stockpile, though deciding how much is a risk-based assessment only individual businesses can do.
  • Setting up a UK Legal entity to minimise disruption to UK clients.
  • Make sure you know your EORI number.


Regulatory disruption

Goodwille has already seen several businesses in the food industry take steps to ensure they can continue to trade in the event of a no-deal. If your business is in regulated markets, there may be extra scrutiny by new non-EU government departments.

Be aware

  • From a regulatory perspective, find out what your UK business need to continue to operate.
  • Research what processes/applications will you need to implement in the event of a no-deal.

Possible actions

  • Setting up a Limited Company or Branch can be a low-cost solution to ensure continued operation in the UK market.


VAT, tariffs and duties

This area is one of the toughest to know what might happen, with reports of no Tariff’s being implemented to the worst-case scenario of WTO tariffs. At Goodwille we have teamed up with partners and will have trained staff internally, to handle all eventualities in these areas.

Be aware

  • Of your VAT reporting requirements and how you charge it currently, i.e. direct from EU or through UK entity.
  • That this area is most likely to change regularly in the time after Brexit, use a local partner to keep on top of changes.

Possible actions

  • Register for UK VAT number.



The UK’s level of GDPR does not satisfy EU requirements and would be deemed a Third Party. With large fines for non-compliance, having the appropriate clauses or derogations is essential.

Be aware

  • Of any data that is transferred between the UK and the rest of the EU.
  • Any agreements or contracts that may be affected or need to be re-written.

Possible actions

  • Consider updating agreements in preparation for a no-deal Brexit.

For more information on GDPR, please refer to our previous article ‘Data protection in the event of a no-deal Brexit’.


For more information

For clients that would like to go into more detail, a more comprehensive list of aspects to consider while preparing your business for Brexit has been provided by the British Chambers of Commerce. Access the British Chambers of Commerce’s Business Brexit Checklist here.

Goodwille can support your business in many of the above areas, including setting up a Limited Company or a UK branch, supporting with UK VAT and help applying for an EORI number, as well as advice you on any HR and staff related questions. Contact us for more information on how we can support your business in preparing for Brexit. 

This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.