VATLive > Blog > United Kingdom > UK warns on Brexit import VAT & customs controls 31 Dec 2020

UK warns on Brexit import VAT & customs controls 31 Dec 2020

  • Feb 11, 2020 | Richard Asquith

The UK government has confirmed plans to introduce full import VAT and customs declarations controls on goods coming from the EU after the end of the 11-month Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020. This means a fully operational customs border, with full regulatory, rules of origin, transit, excise, sanatory and phytosanitary (SPS), safety and security checks.

At the end of 2020, the UK will leave the EU Single Market, Customs Union and VAT regime. It will therefore require all imports to be accompanied by customs declarations, potential tariff payments and import VAT settlements. The 2019 proposed mechanisms to alleviate these 'no-deal' Brexit risks, the ‘Transitional Simplified Procedures’ (delayed customs declarations and tariff payments) and ‘Postponed Accounting’ (deferred VAT), have been withdrawn and will not return for 2021 according to the UK government - although the policy on Postponed Accounting may change. The government warned that these “policy easements put in place for a potential no-deal exit will not be reintroduced as businesses have time to prepare”.

The UK Cabinet Minister, Michael Gove, confirmed that plans for a 'smart border', adopting technology to speed-up goods clearance, would not be in place until at least 2025.

Brace for Brexit

Businesses moving goods into the UK should ensure they have received an Economic Operators Registration Identification (EORI) number from HMRC. UK businesses sending goods to the EU need to obtain and EU EORI.

They should also consider appointing a customs agent who can complete declarations on their behalf.

Businesses in Northern Ireland will remain within the EU Customs Union and VAT regimes. This will be administered by HMRC as part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU.


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VP Global Indirect Tax
Richard Asquith
VP Global Indirect Tax Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith is VP Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, helping businesses understand their compliance obligations as they grow globally. He can be contacted at: richard.asquith@avalara.com. He is part of the European leadership team which won International Tax Review's 2019 Tax Technology Firm of the Year. Richard qualified as an accountant with KPMG in the UK, and went on to work in Hungary, Russia and France with EY.
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