Brexit and the implementation period ― moving goods between the UK and EU

By Tolley
  • (Updated for Budget 2020)
Brexit and the implementation period ― moving goods between the UK and EU

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

  • Brexit and the implementation period ― moving goods between the UK and EU
  • Will more businesses need to deal with customs duties?
  • Will there be changes to imports / exports for VAT?
  • Will some EU-wide VAT simplifications / reliefs end?
  • What will happen to goods moving between the UK and Northern Ireland?
  • What steps might new and existing importers / exporters want to take?

This guidance note considers a number of issues that may be relevant to businesses which move goods between the UK and the EU when preparing for the end of the Brexit implementation period.

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

Much uncertainty still remains for VAT and customs as to how the Withdrawal Agreement will be implemented (especially in relation to Ireland and Northern Ireland) but this guidance note seeks to provide an overview of some of the key points that businesses need to be aware of.

House of Commons Briefing Paper (October 2019) 

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

Will more businesses need to deal with customs duties?

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement agreed between the UK and the EU, the UK will broadly leave the EU customs union. However, the position is complex in respect of Northern Ireland which will remain subject to EU customs legislation. There will also be complications for goods moving between the UK to Northern Ireland (see further in the Brexit and the implementation period ― overview guidance note).

As the UK is broadly expected to leave the EU customs union (and depending on the terms of the future relationship after the implementation period), it appears likely that many businesses moving goods within the EU, which did not previously need to deal with customs duties / declarations, will need to deal with them after the end of the implementation period.

In the build-up to a potential no-deal Brexit, the Government published a temporary tariff under which it claimed that 87% of total imports to the UK by value would be eligible for tariff-free access.

More on Brexit and the implementation period: