What is Brexit?

Process and negotiations

The United Kingdom (UK) held a Brexit referendum on 23 June 2016. They subsequently invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

As a result of these actions the UK has left the European Union (EU) and is now a non-EU country.

Invoking of Article 50 triggered the start of a two-year negotiation process. The objective of the negotiations was to agree the terms of the UK's departure from the EU in an orderly manner.

A draft Withdrawal Agreement was under discussion since February 2018. Please see the European Council timeline of events for further information.

In January 2020, the European Parliament and the UK Parliament ratified the Withdrawal Agreement. The UK entered a transition period from the 1 February 2020 until the 31 December 2020. During this period the UK will continue, for the purposes of the movement of goods, services, and people, as if it were a full EU Member State. Provisions relating to Northern Ireland are covered by the revised Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement effective from 1 January 2021.

The Revenue Chairman’s Opening Statement to the Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and Taoiseach in May 2017 provides some additional background.

The European Commission provides information on ongoing developments in relation to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU).

Revenue and Brexit

Revenue's objective, in the future EU-UK trading environment from the 1 January 2021, is to facilitate legitimate trade to move as speedily and efficiently as possible. This is for trade that is directly with the UK or through the UK landbridge to the European mainland. Our focus is on assisting business to:

  • assess the impact of Brexit
  • and
  • avail fully of relevant simplifications and procedures available under the Union Customs Code.

This will minimise the potential negative impacts of Brexit and support the efficient and timely flow of trade.

Our preparations and planning are well advanced. Our priority has been to ensure that our IT systems will support smooth and efficient trade flows following the transition period. Our systems will be able to deal with the increased volumes of customs procedures for the UK related movement of goods and animals.

In line with government approval we have recruited additional staff to deal with East-West trade. We are also working with our ports and airports for a changed trading environment following the transition period.

We are also engaging directly with businesses, economic operators, trade and representative bodies to support preparedness for Brexit.

Further information

If you have a specific query in relation to Brexit and customs matters, please email brexitqueries@revenue.ie with the relevant details.