Customs declarations to increase 12-fold post-Brexit

Customs declarations to increase 12-fold post-Brexit

Revenue Commissioners are due before the Public Accounts Committee today. File Photo: Laura Hutton/RollingNews.ie

Customs declarations are expected to increase to 20 million per year post-Brexit, 12 times their current number, according to the Revenue Commissioners.

Just 1.7 million such declarations are currently made each year. 

However, a Revenue briefing paper for the Public Accounts Committee, seen by the Irish Examiner, states that an additional 18.3 million transactions are expected in the aftermath of Britain leaving the EU.

Revenue said that it is to introduce a new national import system, the automated import system (AIS), to replace its current system this month. Its automated export system will however remain in place until at least 2023.

It said that system was a necessary expense in order to “provide the most efficient process possible for trade”.

Revenue’s preparations for Brexit have been ongoing in the background since after the vote for Britain to leave the union in June 2016.

In the past two years, it hired an additional 600 staff specifically to focus on the added workload that the UK leaving the trading bloc would present. More than 580 of those roles were assigned within Ireland’s customs infrastructure, “with the majority assigned to import and export trade facilitation activities and policy and operational roles”.

Niall Cody, Revenue Chairman, will this morning appear before the committee to discuss the Commissioners’ 2019 accounts. He is expected to tell the committee that in any other year Brexit would have dominated Revenue’s workload, but that notwithstanding the ongoing pandemic the body has continued its preparations.

Covid-19 has seen the Revenue Commissioners hold responsibility for two of the largest and most complex support schemes operated by the State since the pandemic’s origins in March 2019 - the temporary wage subsidy scheme and its successor, the employment wage subsidy scheme, which has seen a total €3.6bn paid out to employers and employees impacted by the virus.

The issues of bogus self-employment, which sees employers deny full social insurance rights to eligible employees by treating them as independent contractors, is expected to be discussed at the meeting.

In October 2019 Dublin activist Martin McMahon told the Oireachtas committee on social protection that such fraudulent employment is costing the Exchequer “conservatively €1bn per year”.

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