Written answers

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Department of Finance

Brexit Preparations

Photo of Lisa ChambersLisa Chambers (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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159. To ask the Minister for Finance the number of additional customs officials hired to date; the number expected to be in place by the Brexit deadline of 31 October 2019; the estimated number required in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30734/19]

Photo of Lisa ChambersLisa Chambers (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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160. To ask the Minister for Finance the number of companies that applied for an authorised economic operator status in each of the years 2012 to 2018 and to date in 2019; his views on the necessity of obtaining an AEO in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30735/19]

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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196. To ask the Minister for Finance the number of businesses that applied for the key customs registration, the economic operators registration and identification number to date; the number of businesses with such a registration; the turnaround time for the Revenue Commissioners to process a registration application; the number of businesses the Revenue Commissioners estimate will require such a registration in the course of their normal business after 31 October 2019 in the event of a disorderly Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30983/19]

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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199. To ask the Minister for Finance the preparations undertaken to date by the Revenue Commissioners under each different Brexit scenario; the steps that will be taken by the Revenue Commissioners between 11 July 2019 and the end of October 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31030/19]

Photo of Lisa ChambersLisa Chambers (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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215. To ask the Minister for Finance if all necessary ICT infrastructure will be in place by 31 October 2019 in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31360/19]

Photo of Lisa ChambersLisa Chambers (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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216. To ask the Minister for Finance the number of companies that have applied for an EORI number; the percentage of firms that do not have an EORI number but will require one in order to continue trading with the UK post-Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31361/19]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 159, 160, 196, 199, 215 and 216 together.

In relation to question 30734and in the context of extensive and detailed Brexit preparedness and contingency work across all Government Departments and Agencies, Revenue determined that in a ‘Central Case’ scenario (i.e. an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU, to include a transition period until the end of 2020), an additional 600 Revenue staff would be required.

In September 2018, the Government granted approval in principle for the phased recruitment of an additional 600 Revenue staff to meet the challenges posed by Brexit.

Budget 2019 provided Revenue with an additional €10 million pay provision, for 270 of the additional 600 staff to be recruited during 2019, to manage an orderly UK withdrawal. Following a Government Decision in December 2018, it was agreed to accelerate Revenue’s recruitment programme in preparation for Brexit.

In the period from 2017 to date, I am advised that Revenue has assigned over 450 additional staff to customs related roles, deployed across a range of functions, with the majority assigned to import and export trade facilitation activities and policy and operational roles. Resources are deployed based on evolving business needs and to tackle any risks as they emerge. Revenue will continue to adjust its recruitment and training plans in response to business needs, including Brexit-related developments.

With regard to question 30735 , I am advised by Revenue that the EU Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme, aims to enhance international supply chain security and to facilitate legitimate trade and is open to all Irish businesses who are involved in making Customs declarations.

There is no legal obligation for businesses to become an AEO in order to trade with the UK post-Brexit. While there are benefits to AEO there are also obligations, so a decision to apply for AEO is a matter for careful consideration by each business based on a full assessment of its supply chain and operating model. Full details of the AEO programme are available on the Revenue website at www.revenue.ie.

I am advised by Revenue that in 2018, 30 of the 42 applications for AEO status were received by Revenue in the second half of that year and the increased interest in AEO has continued in 2019 with 82 applications to date.

The breakdown for each of the years 2012 to 2018 and to date in 2019 is as follows:

YearAEO ApplicationsAEO Authorisations Granted
20122222
20131416
20141614
201579
20161310
20171617
20184221
2019 to date (09/07/19)8246

With regard to questions 30983 and 31361 , Revenue identifies businesses that trade with the UK by analysing the VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) data.

I am advised by Revenue that it is currently analysing VIES data from 2018 which has identified approximately 92,000 businesses having traded with the UK in 2018. On further examination of the data, Revenue identified that approximately 70% (65,000) of these businesses do not currently hold an EORI number.

Details of the value of trade with the UK in 2018 for the approximate 65,000 businesses who do not have an EORI number is set out in the following table:

Value of TradeNumber of Businesses (approximately in each category).
>€1M250
€100K-€1M2,600
€50k - €100K2,800
€5K – €50K  19,000
< €5K *

* Revenue is continuing its analysis of data in order to establish the number of businesses that had only one transaction or a minimal level of transactions in the year.

Revenue pointed out that for businesses that may have had only a once off transaction or infrequent trade with the UK, it may be that such transactions and trade are not expected to arise post Brexit. It is a matter for each business to assess its supply chain in the context of Brexit and determine what steps it needs to take to be prepared.

Revenue advised that acquiring an EORI number is the minimum requirement for businesses that wish to trade with, or through, the UK when they leave the EU.  It is a simple and free online process which is available on a 24-hour basis. Once a business is registered with the Revenue Online Service (ROS), the turnaround time for Revenue to process an EORI number application is approximately 3 minutes.

Details of the number of EORI registrations applied for and issued since 2017 is as follows:

YearNumber of EORI Registrations
20172,595
20182,976
2019 to date**7,128

**reflect figures up to 8 July 2019

Revenue continue to encourage businesses that have not yet applied for an EORI number and who will need one post Brexit to do so as a matter of urgency. In that regard I am advised that Revenue will be in direct contact with such businesses over the coming weeks. Once businesses have acquired an EORI number they need to continue their preparations to ensure they avoid significant delays in moving goods to, from or across the UK. At a minimum, every business should have the facility to make customs declarations or have plans in place for a customs agent to do so; know the origin and Commodity Code of their goods or products, and talk to the person who transports their goods or products to make sure they have the information they need to be able to move those goods or products.

In relation to question 31360 , I am advised by Revenue that it estimates that there will be an increase in customs declarations from current levels of approximately 1.6m per annum to over 20 million per annum post-Brexit. Consequently, a key priority for Revenue has been to upgrade the relevant IT systems to ensure that it can cater for this potential volume increase in the post-Brexit environment and to work with the relevant software providers in supporting their preparedness for Brexit.

In Budget 2017, I included provision for a €2 million investment in scaling up the Revenue customs IT framework. As a result of this, Revenue carried out significant work to increase systems capacity to cater for trade with the UK as a third country.  I am advised by Revenue that robust stress and performance testing has taken place to ensure their systems will have capacity to cater for the volumes and the impact on the systems, particularly at peak times. This upgrading was completed prior to 31 March 2019 and I am advised by Revenue that it is confident that the IT systems will handle the increased declaration levels in a no-deal scenario.

I am further advised that Revenue has engaged directly with software providers and customs agents to ensure these key players are aware of the requirements in the post-Brexit environment.

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