'Don't get caught out' - Irish trainers warned to have documents ready ahead of post-Brexit Cheltenham

18 January 2021

Ciara Dillon, Head of Food/Drink and Agri-Business, featured in The Irish Independent clarifying the implications of Brexit on Irish horses running in Britain, ahead of Cheltenham Festival. 

There has been much confusion over the last week, with major concerns emerging in the Irish Horse Racing industry over additional costs incurred on Irish horses travelling to the UK to run.

With the UK exiting the European Union, Irish jumps trainers have feared the "colossal" VAT costs which horses travelling across Irish Sea could incur.

Irish champion trainer, Willie Mullins, recently spoke to the Racing Post about the disastrous implications which the UK VAT payment, 19 per cent of the horse's value although the charge would be refundable within three months, to the British Government would have on Irish raiders in the UK.

With less than two months to until the prestigious Cheltenham Festival, there were huge fears of the costs involved with heading to the Cotswolds and elsewhere, but those fears have been allayed somewhat as the picture becomes clearer.

Ciara Dillon moved quickly to clarify the situation by telling trainers and owners that they have nothing to fear financially should they have runners in the UK, as long as they plan ahead diligently.

Irish horses will be permitted to run in Britain, without incurring substantial VAT costs as a result of Brexit, provided that trainers/owners avail of a "temporary admission procedure".

Ciara Dillon told Independent.ie that "trainers need to have the right customs paperwork in place and the right procedure applied for, then you won't end up with your UK VAT costs of 19 per cent".

Ciara admitted that "there's a lot of boxes to be filled out and certain terms and conditions that apply", but she was adamant that "once you have them in place and your forms are in order, then you should be fine".

Ciara also outlined that there are two ways to transport horses out of Ireland, one being under ATA Carnet which is often referred to as the "passport for goods", while the other is a "temporary admission procedure".

"You can do a temporary customs document out of Ireland, you do a temporary admission into the UK and when you're coming back with your horse to Ireland, you claim what is called return goods release coming into Ireland," Ciara said.

"When you're going into the UK, which is probably the bit which Willie got caught going with, you need to provide what's called a temporary admission customs procedure in the UK and you have to be authorised to use it.

"It may require a financial guarantee which you can get at the bank, sometimes you are required to have one whereas other times you're not. In that case then you wouldn't have the VAT on the import when you have the temporary admission procedure."

Ciara said that such procedures "will work both ways” with the same rules applying when British horses are coming into Ireland while encouraging trainers to get their house in order well in advance of Cheltenham to avoid unnecessary financial costs.

"For the Irish horse racing industry and Cheltenham, they'd probably want to get a system that's necessary with whatever procedures they need. With some businesses, it could take four to six weeks to get things in place so I'd be encouraging trainers to act now.

"You are turned back when the paperwork isn't right, so you're either going to incur costs or you're going to be turned around if the paperwork is not right so it's getting those authorisations in place which BDO and Declaron (customs clearance agent) can do for you.

"If you do nothing and don’t apply these procedures to be authorised to use them, then you will get hit with the import VAT so it might have propelled the industry into acting. It's time to get ready, don't get caught out."


Content and image adapted from The Irish Independent 'Don't get caught out' - Irish trainers warned to have documents ready ahead of post-Brexit Cheltenham'.


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