The Brexit Deal – The Key Facts

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Almost at the last minute, the UK government and the EU successfully concluded a Free Trade Agreement with the EU.  Although the Deal was not fully ratified by the EU or UK parliaments by 31st December, it was agreed trade could continue under the terms agreed whilst the legislative process is finalised 

Here are the main points of the deal: 

  • Under this Free Trade Deal Customs Duty tariffs remain 0% for goods originating in the UK and EU. 
  • Origin status is  a critical issue for both importers and exporters The rules of origin are critical to the tariff free movement of goods. Unlike membership of the EEA Customs Union, this free trade deal is a bilateral agreement which only allows tariff free movement of goods which are produced in either the UK or EU. There are rules relating to status being determined by the % of UK or EU content. For goods manufactured in the UK/EU they must meet the rules of origin laid out in the FTA. 
  • Exporters meeting the origin rules need to obtain a preference certificate to ensure that 0% tariffs apply.  
  • Combining Inward Processing Relief and preferential origin treatment isn’t allowed. Care must be taken to plan and understand the complexities surrounding these important regimes. 
  • AEO (S) status is mutually recognised by the EU and UK. 
  • Import and Export procedures are still in place. This was always going to be the case and involves a big increase in paperwork and processes for those business who have previously only been involved with Intra-EU trade. 
  • Deferment accounts –HMRC has introduced bank guarantee waivers for UK businesses. Due to changes in import VAT accounting you may be able to reduce your bank guarantee. Where you are solely importing 0% Duty goods under the FTA and using PVA your deferment account may not be required going forwards. 
  • Postponed import VAT accounting [more below].  
  • As part of the Withdrawal Agreement, goods currently in the EU can, under certain circumstances, be re-imported without payment of customs duties. Returned Goods Relief must be used for these movements. Quote the Customs Procedure Code 61 23 F01 on the import declaration. You must ensure you have the evidence of original supply, such as freight documents, contracts and invoices. 
  • VAT registration requirements in the country of import, when you sell Delivered Duty Paid (DDP), remain. This is one of the biggest issues that may trip businesses up and must be reviewed urgently. 
  • Trading in the EU requires UK businesses to appoint an Indirect Customs Representative. This is because the UK is now a non-EU country. 
  • VAT registrations for UK businesses in the EU require that a fiscal representative is appointed in the majority of EU countries. 
  • E-commerce rules came in at the same time as Brexit. Low Value consignment relief was scrapped and any E-commerce seller or on-line platform previously importing under these rules is now required to register for VAT and account for UK VAT at the time of supply. This applies when the supply is £135 or below. 
  • Rules relating to Northern Ireland remain complex and it is still unclear if movements of goods from GB to NI will still need to be declared via the Trader Support Service (“TSS”). 

Approved exporter status 

To ensure your EU customers can claim the reduced duty rate a certificate or declaration of origin is required. This can be obtained from the Chamber of Commerce or HMRC. There is a cost involved in getting the certificates (currently EUR1 Forms) stamped by the Chamber. There is a time cost involved in getting HMRC to deal with the certification. 

Application for Approved Exporter Status may be beneficial if large volumes of UK origin goods are exported from the UK as this will reduce administrative costs and burden. It results in either approval for use of pre-authenticated forms being issued by HMRC or an invoice declaration being made 

Postponed Import VAT accounting (PVA) 

This is a welcome measure which all VAT registered entities are able to use for imports into the UK. It means that when you import goods into the UK you are not charged import VAT in order to clear your goods. 

It is important that you instruct your customs agent to declare the goods to PVA, otherwise you will be charged import VAT and have to claim the VAT back on your VAT return a couple of months later. Therefore, PVA is a great cash flow saving procedure. 

Once you have PVA in place you will be able to download your PVA monthly statements via your Government Gateway account. Import VAT is declared in Boxes 1 &4 on your VAT return and the net value of the import in Box 7. 

EU VAT registration 

The starting point when selling goods is always: 

  • Who is  the importer of record? This is usually dictated by the Incoterms, so if you are obliged to deliver the goods to the client premises then you will be the importer of record. 
  • If you are the importer of record your business may need to register for VAT in that country and may also need to appoint a fiscal representative. 
  • Post Brexit, a UK business cannot rely on its UK EORI number to clear goods through Customs in an EU country. It will need to be registered for VAT and get an EU EORI number. 
  • If you trade in multiple jurisdictions, consider using the Netherlands as an EU hub and moving goods via there. By having a VAT registration in NL this will allow you to continue the seamless intra- EU trade from that jurisdiction 

SRC-Time are one of the South East’s leading accountancy firms in advising on all aspects of business, taxation and corporate finance and we can assist in any issue raised above. 

Our expert team is available to provide you with advice and can be contacted on 01273 326 556 or you can drop us an email at info@src-time.co.uk or speak with an account manager to get any process started. 

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