Brexit: VAT & customs duties

31. January 2020 | Reading Time: 3 Min

Brexit: Umsatzsteuer und Zoll. PuzzleTeile mit Europäischer Flagge

Withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the EU – All parties have signed up to this – What does it mean for me?

One thing is certain, and that is that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ceased to be a member of the EU at midnight on 31 January 2020. Pretty much everything else is uncertain, but only from 1 January 2021. Until then, namely during the eleven-month transitional phase, NOTHING will change for your trade with the UK, at least in terms of customs duties and VAT:

  • You can continue to issue invoices for your transactions with the UK in the same manner, provided that they have been correct up to this point.
  • If conditions are met, the supply of goods from Austria to the UK is a tax-exempt intra-Community supply with the corresponding obligations to provide supporting documents.
  • If conditions are met, the movement of company goods from Austria to the UK for own purposes is an intra-Community movement.
  • The acquisition of supplies from the UK in Austria is an intra-Community acquisition.
  • A B2C supply of goods from Austria to the UK, which is subject to intra-Community distance selling, can continue to be taxed in Austria if the UK supply threshold is not exceeded.
  • Intra-Community supplies and movements as well as services that are subject to generally accepted standards, whose place of performance is in the UK and for which the reverse charge system is applicable, must still be recorded on the Recapitulative Statement.
  • UK VAT numbers are still valid, so their validity must be checked.
  • The new EU-wide regulations which have been in force since 1 January 2020 and relate to
    • intra-Community supplies,
    • chain transactions and
    • consignment warehouses

must also be applied in relation to the UK.

  • The usual provisions relating to the place of performance still apply for services.
  • The Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) can still be used for telecommunication services as well as radio and television broadcasting services.
  • Unless the assessment procedure is applicable, any input taxes accrued in the UK must still be claimed by 30 September of the following year via the EU-wide reimbursement procedure.
  • However, the agreement states that any input tax refund applications for 2020 by EU companies in the UK, and vice versa, must be submitted as early as by 31 March 2021.
  • VAT registrations which business owners have already applied for in the UK purely as a precaution for the post-Brexit period are irrelevant during the transitional phase and will only take effect afterwards.
  • In terms of customs duties too, nothing is changing – at least until 31 December 2020. So, we recommend that EORI numbers requested in the UK as a precaution are not used until the imposition of a customs duty between the EU and the UK because the EU provides for just one (!) EORI number. This will avoid any unforeseen surprises due to legal uncertainties.


To summarise:

  • EU-wide customs legislation as well as
  • the VAT System Directive and
  • all regulations relating to VAT

remain valid.

What will actually happen after 31 December 2020 is still anyone’s guess; an extension of the transitional period is also a possibility.


Contact our experts