A line in the government’s Get Ready for Brexit guidelines has caused a minor panic after it appeared to suggest taking a laptop into the EU for work purposes will more than £300 if Britain leaves without a deal.
It states that an ATA Carnet, also known as a “Passport for Goods” and costing £326, will be required to avoid paying duty on goods you take into the EU for business reasons.
It then lists examples of the goods this applies to, including “laptops, cameras or sound equipment” and “personal effects and sports goods”.
After screenshots of the guidance circulated on Twitter, a number of people expressed concern over what it would mean for those taking business trips armed with a work laptop after Brexit.
But a spokesperson for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said no one should panic and the guidance – although not explicitly stated on the website – only applies to businesses moving lots of goods via trucks on a temporary basis, such as a large company needing to relocate and work in another EU country for a few months.
HMRC did not state at the time of writing exactly how many laptops would trigger the need for an ATA Carnet.
But individuals taking a laptop or similar item on a business trip to the EU and back will not be affected.
So in sum, freelancers relax.
Back in the world of political negotiations, the chances of a no-deal Brexit increased on Saturday as it was announced discussions between the UK and European Union will not take place this weekend as anticipated.
Talks between the two sides were thought likely to continue on Saturday after the prime minister set out his plan to replace the controversial Irish backstop.
But the European Commission said EU member states had agreed the proposals “do not provide a basis for concluding an agreement”.
A spokesman said discussions between the two sides would not take place this weekend and instead the UK would be given “another opportunity to present its proposals in detail” on Monday.