This is it. After a referendum, much indecision and political dispute, changes of government and several elections, the Brexit reaches its climax, as the UK’s exit from the European Union will become effective on 31 January.
According to the forecasts of the Bank of Spain, this change of paradigm will lead to significant economic losses of up to 6 billion euros, pending possible future bilateral agreements that could alleviate the situation. The United Kingdom was the second placed EU state to receive most investment from Spain.
The abrupt exit from the Union brings the United Kingdom closer to expectations of an economic contraction, the fall of the Pound and new trade barriers, situations that will undoubtedly have direct effects on Spanish companies with commercial interests on the island.
In this sense, it seems that financial institutions and large companies are the ones that have prepared themselves the most to face the change and mitigate the risks. These contingency plans include the transfer of international headquarters to other cities within the EU or the negotiation of individualised agreements.
The problem is that such measures are beyond the means of SMEs and micro-SMEs, which account for over 70% of companies exporting to Britain and which have the highest risks on the horizon.
The consequences of the Brexit will almost immediately have legal or tax aspects, since commercial transactions with the United Kingdom will no longer be intra-community and, therefore, different VAT, tariffs, regulatory bases and other aspects or taxes will be applied to it, which may vary depending on the goods being traded. In addition, there will also be changes relating to personal income tax, wealth tax, corporation tax or transactions with Gibraltar, which, following the Brexit, could be classified as a tax haven.
It is therefore essential that any company, self-employed person or SME that has a regular business relationship with the UK should be aware and properly advised in order to comply with the new requirements and not suffer any unpleasant surprises.