I propose to take Questions Nos. 121 and 199 together.
I am advised by Revenue that 1,374 businesses in Co. Louth are currently registered for customs and therefore have an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number. I am also advised by Revenue that 94% of imports from and 99% of exports to the UK in 2019 undertaken by businesses in Co. Louth were undertaken by businesses that have an EORI number.
An EORI number is an essential prerequisite for businesses to be able to undertake trade with or through the UK, excluding Northern Ireland, from 1 January 2021. I understand that to assist businesses in the customs registration process Revenue has published a helpful step-by-step guidance video on its website.
I strongly urge all businesses that will be impacted by Brexit to use the short time available between now and 1 January 2021 to put in place the necessary arrangements that will enable them to be able to undertake trade with and through the UK, excluding Northern Ireland, from that date.
The Deputy will be aware of the whole of Government work of engaging with business to assist them in their Brexit preparations. The 225,000 letters that the Deputy refers to were issued by the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, T.D. to all companies registered with the Companies Registration Office. The letter sets out what a company needs to do to get its business ready for the UK’s departure from the EU Single Market and Customs Union from 1 January 2021.
As regards additional resources for Revenue, I can advise the Deputy that Revenue initially determined that it required 600 additional staff. The Government approved this Brexit related recruitment in September 2018. In the period between September 2018 and October 2019, Revenue assigned over 580 staff to Brexit related roles. In light of the experience gained over the last 18 months and the need for a strong focus on measures to combat illegitimate trade, a risk that will be enhanced from 1 January 2021, Revenue recently re-assessed its requirements and determined that it will require approx. 300 staff in addition to the 600 already approved. Revenue is currently recruiting and training these staff. I am also advised by Revenue that as an integrated tax and customs administration, it will deploy resources to quickly confront any risks as they emerge.