BREXIT: End of transition period FAQs on Tax and Customs
Intra-Union movements - What is changing
Traders who are currently not involved in trade with third countries but only with the United Kingdom, by providing only the proof of Union status of goods, as from the 1st of January 2021 will have to carry out transactions requiring customs formalities, i.e., submit an import or export customs declaration, as these transactions will be treated as transactions from or to a third country.
Since goods will be considered as originated from a third country, the provisions for proof of Union status of the goods will not apply.
Therefore, traders who are currently not involved in trade with third countries but only in intra-Union transactions are required to register with customs authorities in the Member State where they are established, in order to be assigned with an EORI number, in order to be able to submit import or export declarations.
Movement of goods which started from/to the United Kingdom before/on the 31st December 2020 (end of transitional period) and ending thereafter.
Goods movement which started from the customs territory of the United Kingdom to the customs territory of the Union, or vice versa, before the end of the transitional period and ends thereafter shall be treated as intra-Union movement. The customs status of those goods as Union goods, as well as the fact that the movement started before the end of the transition period, shall need to be proven for every movement by the person concerned. The proof of the start of the movement shall be provided by means of a transport document relating to the goods.
For the above cases there will be no differentiation in the customs procedures and they can be completed without the payment of import duties and VAT.
Import/export of goods from/to the United Kingdom from 1st of January 2021 and thereafter.
a) Import duties
The draft EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides for zero tariffs and zero quotas on all goods originating in and traded between the EU and the UK, from 1 January 2021. The zero tariff and zero quota provisions apply to all goods that comply with the appropriate rules of origin.
In order to grant the tariff preference, proof of origin must be presented, i.e., either a "statement on origin" drawn up by the exporter or "importer's knowledge" that the product is originating (i.e., meets the rules of origin).
Goods that are not considered as originating in UK will be subject to the general duty rate applicable to any third country in accordance with the Common External Tariff of the European Union.
b) Value Added Tax (VAT)
As from the 1st of January 2021, imports of goods from UK to an EU Member State will be subject to VAT, at the rate that applies to the same goods in that Member State, i.e., VAT will be payable to customs authorities at the time of importation.
c) Excise duties
“Ongoing movements” of excise goods between the EU and the UK at the end of the transition period are dealt with as intra-EU cross-border movement of excise goods. The arrangements for ongoing movements at the end of the transition period end on 31 May 2021. After that date, it will no longer be possible to close movements and any such goods will be subject to full import and export procedures.
As from the 1st of January 2021, excisable goods imported into the EU from UK will be sub-ject to excise duties in the EU. Entry of excise goods into the EU from UK will be treated as an import.
a) Entry and exit summary declarations
For protection and security purposes, all goods transported to and from the UK from the date of departure will be covered by summary entry and exit declarations respectively.
Therefore, all goods arriving from the UK or departing for the UK and being transported either by air or by sea should be subject to summary entry and / or exit summary declarations, as appropriate before arrival or the departure of the means of transport.
Entry and / or exit summary declarations are submitted to customs authorities by carriers (e.g., airlines / shipping agents) or their authorized representatives.
b) Import / export declarations - Customs controls
The submission of import declarations as well as the presentation of the necessary customs documents (invoice, packing list, bill of lading, licenses, etc.) will be required. The same applies to exported goods for which an export declaration will be required.
The goods will be subject to customs controls for the verification of the declarations, e.g., customs value, tariff classification, validity of documents, etc. In addition, the goods will be subject to compliance checks for safety, health and environmental purposes.
c) Entry into special customs procedures
As from the 1st of January 2021, goods originating in the UK will be considered as non-EU goods. Therefore, they may be subject to a special procedure depending on the case, i.e., transit or storage or temporary admission or specific use or inward processing.
The entry of goods under special customs procedures requires an authorization by the customs authorities. In addition, due to the suspension of the payment of customs duties, the provision of a guarantee is required, which will cover any customs debts.
EORI - Economic Operators Registration and Identification
The submission of customs declarations requires the registration in the customs registry and the identification of the economic operators with the issuance of EORI number.
The EORI number is a unique number, issued by the customs authorities of a Member State, to economic operators or other persons for customs purposes, valid in all Member States.
EORI number should be obtained by economic operators who are currently conducting exclusively intra-EU trade and have not participated in trade with third countries and may not have been assigned an EORI number.
UK economic operators with a UK EORI number should note that from the date of departure, the UK EORI number will not be valid. Therefore, in order to be able to operate in the 27 Member States, they will have to register in one Member State and obtain a new EORI number.
More information on the procedure for issuing the EORI number can be found on the website of the Customs Department by selecting the following link:
Customs authorizations and Customs Decisions
Authorized Economic Operators (AEOs) and single authorizations (central customs authorizations) for customs procedures issued by the UK customs authorities will no longer be valid in the EU. Respectively, authorizations issued by Member State authorities will cease to be valid in the UK.
Customs decisions, such as binding tariff information (BTI) issued by the UK customs authorities, will no longer apply in the EU.
As from the 1st of January 2021, passengers arriving from the UK in the Republic of Cyprus will be treated as passengers from a third country.
How to prepare for Brexit. Please find more information by visiting the following websites:
Task Force: https://ec.europa.eu/info/departments/taskforce-article-50-negotiations-united-kingdom_en
and DG TAXUD for Brexit: https://ec.europa.eu/info/brexit/brexit-preparedness_en
How to get ready for the end of the transition period
Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU -How to prepare for Brexit (https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/uk_withdrawal_en)
- “Trader checklist” and “Brexit Customs Guide for Businesses”
- Press release -Brussels, 18 February 2019
- Newsflash to all e-mail contacts
- Video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLwdwtjlcZg
- The EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement explained
Click here to see other relevant documents.
uploaded on 18/4/2019: EUROPEAN COUNCIL DECISION (EU) 2019/584 taken in agreement with the United Kingdom of 11 April 2019, extending the period under Article 50(3) TEU for UK withdrawal from EU, until 31 October 2019. This decision shall cease to apply on 31 May 2019 in the event that the United Kingdom has not held elections to the European Parliament in accordance with applicable Union law and has not ratified the Withdrawal Agreement by 22 May 2019.