Wednesday, February 20, 2019European Commission

Brexit, customs and VAT: a guide from the European Commission

Brexit, douanes et TVA : un guide de la Commission européenne

The European Commission just stepped up its “no-deal” outreach to EU businesses in the area of customs and indirect taxation such as VAT, given the risk that the United Kingdom may leave the EU on 30 March this year without a deal (a “no-deal” scenario). A Customs guide for businesses has been put online to get companies ready as soon as possible.

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According to Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, " A lot depends on the ability of businesses trading with the UK to get up to speed with the customs rules that will apply on day one in case of no deal. There is no time to lose."

In the absence of a Withdrawal Agreement, which would put in place a transition period until the end of 2020 (with the possibility of an extension foreseen in the Withdrawal agreement), the UK will be treated as a non-EU country for customs purposes as of 30 March 2019. Brexit will affect your company if…
• It sells goods or supplies services to the UK
• It buys goods or receives services from the UK
• It moves goods through the UK

Implications for customs and indirect taxation

Without a transitional period (as tabled in the Withdrawal agreement) or a definitive arrangement, trade relations with the UK will be governed by general WTO rules, without application of preferences, as of 30 March 2019:
• Customs formalities will apply, declarations will have to be lodged and customs authorities may require guarantees for potential or existing customs debts
• Customs …

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