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BABC member Osborne Clark shares insights on final push on Brexit

Not everyone realizes that, in a formal sense, Brexit has actually already happened – with effect from midnight (European time) on 31 January 2020 the UK ceased to be a member of the European Union. However you will be forgiven for not noticing much difference because with immediate effect the UK entered into the transition period which runs until 11 pm UK time on 31

December 2020. The UK and EU continue to negotiate an agreement on the future trading relationship, but time is running short.

At this stage it remains difficult to predict whether the negotiations will conclude successfully. Despite both sides publicly maintaining their desire to find common ground, significant differences remain. And although the last four years has taught us to expected the unexpected when it comes to Brexit, there appears to be no political way, nor any obvious legal mechanism, for extending the transition period to avoid a cliff-edge, "no deal" Brexit on 1 January 2021.

Since many global operations have done little to prepare, the question is whether you need to do anything now?

The answer is that you should! The extent of what you should do will depend on the shape and focus of your business, the size of your operations in the UK and the EU and your risk profile. If you are a regulated business, then you probably will have made some decisions a couple of years ago and have made the immediately necessary changes to your corporate structure.

However, the majority of businesses will not have needed to make drastic changes and as we have discussed previously, the question is whether you need to do much. Click below to access a high level check list of the audit you should be doing to ascertain whether you need to make any changes/adjustments prior to or post-1 January 2021.


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