The UK is set to leave the European Union on January 31. Unfortunately, that date will not usher in an era of certainty for businesses with UK activities. In fact, it will launch a transition period of unpredictable negotiations between the UK and the EU. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set an aggressive timeline for trade-deal negotiations. But there are other significant areas to be settled, such as post-Brexit UK workers’ rights and regulations governing data protection, supply chains, immigration and more.
Brexit will have profound effects on businesses exporting from the UK and those with UK-based customers, regardless of where those businesses are located. Affected businesses will face new challenges related to data protection, supply chains, immigration and more. The precise nature of many of these challenges remains uncertain, and the hard truth is that many Brexit-related uncertainties will persist long after the UK leaves the EU.
In any tax system, a high level of certainty is required for both ease of tax administration and the efficient collection of tax liabilities. Likewise, for companies and their stakeholders, domestic and international tax-related certainty is a fundamental goal. The UK’s EU referendum and potential exit from the European Union represent serious threats to this desired stability. And the biggest challenge businesses will face from a potential “Brexit” will be negotiating the resulting uncertainty.
The coming UK referendum on whether to remain in or leave the European Union could have serious ramifications for multinationals operating in the UK. This post is the first of a three-part Radius series examining a potential Brexit and the related legal, HR and tax implications companies should be aware of.