Brexit ― international movements of goods after the implementation period

Produced by Tolley
  • (Updated for Budget 2020)
Brexit ― international movements of goods after the implementation period

The following Value Added Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Brexit ― international movements of goods after the implementation period
  • What is the impact on customs and customs declarations?
  • Phased border controls and delaying declarations
  • UK Global Tariff
  • Changes to imports and exports for VAT
  • Acquisitions and dispatches
  • Distance sales
  • Postponed accounting
  • Special rules for imports in consignments of £135 or less
  • Ending EU-wide VAT simplifications / reliefs
  • More...

This guidance note considers a number of issues associated with Brexit and the international movement of goods (particularly goods moving between Great Britain and the EU).

For an overview of the impact of Brexit on VAT and customs more broadly, see the Brexit ― overview guidance note.

Issues associated with Northern Ireland are covered in the Northern Ireland ― overview guidance note.

For further in-depth commentary on the law, see De Voil Indirect Tax Service V1.301.

What is the impact on customs and customs declarations?

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement agreed between the UK and the EU, Great Britain has left the EU customs union.

As Great Britain has left the EU customs union, many businesses moving goods to or from the EU need to deal with customs declarations despite not being required to do so previously. Customs declarations are required irrespective of the fact that the UK negotiated tariff and quota-free trade with the EU for originating goods.

As the completion of customs declarations can be complicated and requires a business to have compatible software, many businesses appoint an agent to perform this for them.

Declarations will generally be required in respect of both goods entering the UK and goods leaving the UK.

The situation is complicated for movements of goods involving Northern Ireland owing to its special status, for which see the Northern Ireland ― overview guidance note.

Phased border controls and delaying declarations

Border controls are being phased in between 1 January 2021 and 1 July 2021. This means that whilst basic customs requirements apply from 1 January 2021, for most goods imported into Great Britain from the EU, businesses will have up to 175 days to submit customs declarations. The delayed declarations only apply to goods which were in free circulation in the EU and which are not ‘controlled’ (such as alcohol and tobacco products).

UK Global Tariff

The Government has published the UK Global Tariff (

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